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Plant Biology

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Plant Biology

Life Sciences Addition
room 1002

Univ. of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616

(530) 752-0617


The Laboratory of Biomolecular Structure Function and Cellular Mechanisms (Shabek Lab) in the UC Davis Department of Plant Biology is seeking a highly motivated Assistant Specialist for a full-time position. This position requires active scientific contributions and collaborative development of a research program investigating topics in the fields of biochemistry and structural biology of plant signaling pathways. The Assistant Specialist will perform research, data analysis, preparation of data for publication, supervision and training of laboratory personnel and general laboratory management.

Recruitment General Statement

The position of Specialist has a narrow focus in a specialized area and provides technical or specialized expertise (e.g., with instrumentation, research equipment and methods) in the planning and execution of research projects in the laboratory. The Specialist stays apprised of emerging issues and problems and maintains technical competence in the designated area(s) of specialization, in this case biochemistry, structural and plant biology. Within this area and when appropriate, the Specialist is expected to provide leadership, facilitate teamwork and develop collaborative relationships with colleagues and to supply input into the planning of research and educational programs. Normally, Specialists do not have Principal Investigator (PI) status but may obtain permission by exception and/or collaborate with a PI in preparing research proposals for extramural funding. The Specialist is evaluated for merit and promotion using three basic criteria outlined below.


MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES AND DESIGNATED AREAS OF EXPERTISE: Plan, supervise and perform research, analyze and prepare data for publication, train laboratory personnel and general laboratory management


a) RESEARCH (60%):

(i) Research activity (45%)

The appointee will help determine research goals in consultation with the Principle Investigator. The appointee will design and execute research projects, relying on the appointee’s extensive experience in molecular cloning, biochemistry, protein expression and purification techniques and advanced experimental and data analysis skills. The appointee will support, assist and supervise students and Jr. staff regarding the technical aspects of the research, including instrumentations, methods development, interpretation results and planning follow-up experiments. The appointee will optimize and write protocols for cellular and molecular biology techniques. Construct laboratory plasmids and bacmids via cloning and site-directed mutagenesis base on the research program.

(ii) Publication (10%)

The appointee will prepare manuscripts describing research and publish in peer-reviewed journals in collaboration with PI and/or other members of research team. Evaluation of performance in research activities or in outreach activities as deemed applicable to the individual project in specialized areas, as documented by any of the following:
1. Publications that acknowledge the Specialist's significant and meaningful contribution to the work.
2. Publications on which the Specialist is an author.
3. Other evidence (e.g., letters from collaborators or principal investigators) that work done by the Specialist contributed to publishable research.
4. Other evidence of recognized expertise may include formal documentation of intellectual effort and participation in publishable research activities, first authorship on publications/patents, presentation of research
at regional/national meetings, invitations to review grant proposals and/or journal articles, invitations to participate in research projects, and/or service on advisory panels

(iii) Grant Acquisition and Support (5%)

The appointee will assist in the preparation of reports as required by granting agencies. The appointee will assist in writing proposals for funding organizations.


Relying on the appointee’s experience in laboratory management and organization including inventory management and ordering. The appointee will order lab supplies, maintain and organize supply inventory. Maintain laboratory equipment. Train and supervise undergraduate and high school students; assign and oversee student projects. The appointee will perform lab safety officer duties including overseeing student and staff member safety training requirements, preparing for safety inspections, and enforcing safety standards.


The appointee will participate in appropriate professional/technical societies or groups and other educational and research organizations and will serve as a reviewer of research proposals and scientific publication related to area of expertise. The appointee will attend seminars to learn of new research results and will give oral presentation at seminars, laboratory meetings or educational functions.


The appointee will participate in mentoring of high-school, undergraduate students and entering or rotating graduate students. The appointee may participate in activities of committees within the department, college, campus and other University entities, as appropriate.



• Qualified applicants must have a Master's degree or equivalent research experience in fields related to biological sciences, biochemistry, structural biology, plant biology.
• Extensive experience in molecular cloning, site directed mutagenesis and construct optimizations
• Demonstrated skills in biochemistry including protein expression and purification techniques via FPLC and various resins.
• Demonstrated organizational expertise in lab management, inventory management and ordering, and maintaining lab safety records.


Experience conducting scientific research including evidence of ingenuity, resourcefulness, and adaptability to special and changing needs of activities.
• Experience in large scale protein purification from various expression systems including E-coli and/or insect cells.
• Excellent experimental and data analysis skills.
• Experience in protein-protein interactions techniques including co-immunoprecipitation, pull-down, and visualization by gel electrophoresis, gel staining and Western blot.
• Experience in training students; assign and oversee student projects.
• Optimize and write protocols for cellular and molecular biology techniques.
Excellent interpersonal, oral and written communication skills (must speak and write fluent English).
Ability to lift at least 20 lbs. and carry short distance.
• Knowledge of biological/chemical safety and laboratory documentation required by UC Davis.


• Experience in structural biology including X-ray crystallography, protein crystallization, crystals’ handling and shipping.
• Experience in plant molecular biology, including protein expression in plants and monitoring via microscopy.
• Experience with Baculovirus expression system
• Knowledge of protein-protein interaction and protein-small molecule kinetics and measurements using ITC, ALPHA, OCTET or SPR.

To apply:

Interested candidates should submit all materials via the web-based online submission system Required materials include a cover letter, curriculum vitae, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of contributions to Diversity. A statement on research (no more than two pages) is requested but not required. The deadline for full consideration is Aug. 31, 2018

The University of California, Davis, and the UC Davis Genome Center are interested in candidates who are committed to the highest standards of scholarship and professional activities, and to the development of a campus climate that supports equality and diversity. The University of California, Davis, is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer with a strong institutional commitment to the achievement of diversity among its faculty and staff.