Rockefeller University Research Assistant in New York, New York
Job Title Research Assistant
Laboratory / Department Systems Cancer Biology
Cancer remains a daunting problem despite decades of active research into its molecular causes. Such studies have predominantly focused on the earliest stages of cancer progression such as the formation of a cancer or genes involved in the growth of the primary tumor. In humans afflicted by cancer, the primary tumor is typically surgically resected or eliminated by radiation. Vast numbers of patients, nonetheless die of cancer as a result of metastasis, or the spread of cancer cells from the primary tumor site to distal organs. This process is in fact the overwhelming cause of death from cancer and its occurrence changes a patient's prognosis to incurable. Despite its vast clinical significance and inherently fascinating underlying biology, the metastatic program is poorly understood,both at the molecular level and at the cellular/tissue micro-environment levels. Our laboratory employs a multi-disciplinary approach involving molecular, biochemical, computational, imaging, and clinical association methods to characterize the critical regulatory pathways that mediate the steps of this process. By implanting human cancer cells obtained from patients with breast or colon cancer into recipient mice, we study and interfere with the various stages of metastasis. By comparing human cancer cells that are highly metastatic to those that fail to metastasize, we have uncovered a set of small RNA molecules (microRNAs) that suppress metastasis. Our future work is aimed at gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms by which these microRNAs block metastasis. Our hope is that a better understanding of this process will enhance our therapeutic arsenal against it.
The Research Assistant will work as part of a team in identifying and characterizing genes that regulate cancer metastasis and developing anti-metastatic therapeutics. Responsibilities include basic cloning, transfection of cancer cells, microscopy, RNA/DNA extractions, protein purification, manipulation of mammalian cells using shRNAs and CRISPR, quantification of mRNA levels using qRT-PCR, Western blots, immunohistochemistry, and patient tissue processing. Will conduct metastasis experiments in mice. Will also be responsible for basic lab maintenance duties, including purchasing supplies, serving as the point of contact between the lab and vendors/manufacturers, and cleaning and organizing general lab space.
Bachelor's degree in science required; educational emphasis in chemistry or biology preferred. Experience with plasmid-preps, transfections, basic cloning, mammalian cell culture, and working with mice preferred. Must have a strong interest in working with scientists towards scientific publications, as well as a strong interest in future graduate or medical school study or MD-PhD training. Ambition, enthusiasm, curiosity, ability to work in a team, and strong commitment are essential. Must be comfortable working and communicating in large and small groups. Must be very organized and able to handle multiple tasks at once. An ability and motivation to anticipate and execute beyond given tasks is highly desirable.