Staff Scientist, SMD

Rochester, NY


Under general direction and with considerable latitude for exercise of independent judgment, provides direct research and research training support at the professional level by directing and executing small, complex research projects or major aspects of larger research projects; and provides extensive guidance to and/or directly supervises technicians, laboratory aides, graduate students, undergraduate students, postdoctoral appointees and professional staff. Specifically, the staff scientist in the Irfan Rahman lab will investigate the response of primary human epithelial cells, macrophages, fibroblasts from smokers and COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, and mouse models of COPD/IPF.

We are particularly interested in a candidate with a strong background and experience in oxidative stress and inflammation using in vitro and in vivo models. We seek a person who will be able to lead hypothesis-driven research on exosomes, circadian rhythms, mitochondrial dysfunction, epigenetics of DNA damage/repair and cellular senescence using cutting edge molecular biology and biochemical approaches to investigate the impact of inhaled oxidants in chronic lung diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pulmonary fibrosis.


Under general direction and with latitude for independent judgment:

The laboratory’s research focuses on understanding the mechanisms and treatments of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/emphysema, fibrosis, and asthma. Execution of experiments will require proficiency in cell and molecular biology techniques including, but not limited to: RNA isolation, quantitative PCR, DNA cloning and expression, as well as cell culture, SDS-PAGE, Western blotting, immunocytochemistry and immunohistochemistry. Performs new experiments and assays (cell biology, biochemical, and molecular biology techniques). Oversees and maintains the colonies of transgenic and knockout mice, inventories, record-keeping, animal protocols submissions/modifications, working closely with Vivarium and DCM staff, cigarette smoke inhalation exposure to mice and carrying out the laboratory experiments in vitro cell culture and in vivo (cigarette smoke exposure to mice and administering cigarette smoke extract to cells) and assisting several technicians and fellows in the laboratory, in addition to managing all aspects of animal protocols and laboratory work from data generation to data analysis. Engages in independent experimental design and independent execution of above methods/protocols/assays; independent oversight of general laboratory functions, such as inventory of supplies; and training of new laboratory personnel in fundamental lab techniques.

Collects, analyzes, and evaluates experimental data and interprets results within the scope of the study (e.g. mechanisms contributing to COPD and IPF). Uses a range of techniques including, but not limited to qRT-PCR, Western blotting, other protein assays, primary cell culture, microbial culture, host cell infection, transfection, cloning, ELISAs/EIAs, flow cytometry, microscopy, immunohistochemistry, lipidomics, cell separation, centrifugation, and TransAM. Uses software and statistical programs to analyze data, such as Microsoft Excel, nanostring, cytation 5, Prism, ImageJ, BioRad real-time CFX Manager, and FlowJo/flow cytometry. Assesses the importance of findings in relation to the general research program and designs and executes critical experiments during collection of data for publication. Prepares written communications on all phases of laboratory work involved in research projects, with a focus on publishing primary research articles. Leads in the design, interpretation and final writing of research publications, thereby meeting expectations for primary and co-authorship of scientific publications. Keeps abreast of trends in inflammation, and scarring research fields (and other relevant topics as needed) by reading current research literature, abstracting scientific articles of value in the prosecution of research problems, and attending and presenting at scientific meetings, seminars, and research conferences. Also attends, participates, and presents at relevant in-house communication forums (e.g. seminars, laboratory meetings, journals) to increase knowledge base of inflammation and cell biology, while honing communication skills.

Primary responsibilities are described below. Mouse colony management, handling and use of laboratory animals, infectious agents, and chemicals will be required. Understanding how to safely use these agents is required, and training will be provided. Overall, it is anticipated that the staff scientist will be able to independently coordinate several projects simultaneously, oversee laboratory protocols/experiments, as well as train new laboratory members, including students, postdoctoral fellows and other technicians on laboratory Standard Operating Procedures.

Essential Tasks:

Experimental Research and Research Coordination:

  • Serves as lab manager for a Principal Investigator in the Department of Environmental Medicine. Works independently with only occasional suggestions to modify, vary or adapt standard laboratory procedures to perform research related activities to meet the specialized needs of the research projects of the Principal Investigator.

Responsibilities :

Techniques to be performed and troubleshooting:

  • Western blotting, immunostaining, lung functioning experiments, ELISA, bone marrow and stem cell isolation, mitochondrial dysfunction by Seahorse, Northern blotting, ribonuclease protection assays, tissue section staining, various nuclear and cytoplasmic staining assays, immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization. RNA isolation and DNA isolation, ChIP assay, EMSA (gel shift assay), RT-PCR, restriction enzyme digests, plasmid purification and extraction, quantifying results, analysis and record keeping. Perform new experiments and assays in cells and tissues. Assists and trains undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to learn and perform assays, routine techniques/methods, and procedures for their experiments.

  • Supervises and trains other members of the laboratory, including junior technical staff, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, undergraduates and work-study personnel. Monitors performance of trainees and subordinates, and addresses performance issues as they arise.

  • Interacts with clinical nurses/coordinators on clinical research projects in collecting biological fluids, obtains spirometry measurements, and maintains all paperwork per IRB standards. Recruits and schedules human study participants. Measures biomarkers and is responsible for the treatment of samples/cells for experiments.

  • Analyzes and interprets acquired data, including appropriate statistical analyses; prepares data summaries reports, including tables and figures and make recommendations for future studies.

  • Assists Principal Investigator with writing grants and manuscripts for publication, including reading and interpreting primary scientific literature and preparing written summaries of this material. Strict adherence to written SOPs is required; as is detailed, daily record keeping.

  • Plans and coordinates experimental timelines including scheduling other technical staff and students to complete experimental tasks.

  • Develops and optimizes new laboratory techniques including writing laboratory SOPs and training other technical staff and students on such SOPs. Performs scientific literature searches and utilizes such literature to develop SOPs and advises the prinicipal investigator on appropriate technical approaches.

  • Keeps track of Institutional Biosafety Committee approvals/compliance, Radiation Safety, Control substance logs, EH&S, and DCM training and annual updates for all laboratory personnel so that the labs are in compliance with these offices. Ensures all other laboratory personnel are up-to-date on required laboratory and animal usage training.

  • Plans and oversees non-survival specimen collections from rodents. The Staff Scientist will be required to independently utilize UCAR-approved and scientifically appropriate euthanasia methods followed by microdissection of the brain into regions of scientific interest.

  • Designs protocols and oversees processing and analysis of collected specimens for immunohistological, biochemical, and molecular techniques including microscopy analysis, immunohistochemistry, histological analysis, Western blotting, ELISA, and other techniques. The Staff Scientist will also train other laboratory members (e.g., technical staff, undergraduate, and graduate students, etc.) on these techniques.

  • Oversees the operation of gel doc, RT-PCR, seashorse, cytation 5, nanostring, flexivent-lung function,flow cytometer, nanodrop, spectrophotometric plate reader, light and fluorescent microscope, and Western blotting equipment; address needs for instrument repair and maintenanc. Directs small, complex research projects, major aspects of larger research projects, or works independently in a phase of research of a complex project with a specific focus in identifying and characterizing the inflammatory mechanisms that contribute to COPD with the overall goal of vetting therapeutic targets for the design of more efficacious treatments. Designs and executes research projects or sub-projects in the areas of smoking induced diseases, inflammation, and scarring using primarily cell (e.g. monocytes, macrophages, human epithelial cells and fibroblasts) and animal models (e.g. mice) as needed. Contributes to writing of research proposals (e.g. NIH R21/R01) and/or individually prepares small grant proposals for independent funding agencies under direction of mentor. Prepares necessary regulatory documentation required for performance of research and writes, updates, and maintains current protocols for the conduct of specific research procedures.

Animal Care & Compliance :

  • Independently supervises and oversee large colonies of rodent breeding, genotyping and maintenance. Duties will include oversight of preparation of experimental substance (e.g. drugs, environmental chemicals) administration. Oversees the ordering, breeding, and euthanasia of rodents for laboratory use; ensures detailed record keeping of such activities including UCAR and DCM forms/reports is maintained and up-to-date. All animal work will be performed in compliance with DCM and UCAR guidelines. The Staff Scientist will communicate with DCM staff in order to ensure the health of experimental research subjects. They will also coordinate with UCAR for annual and ad-hoc inspections to ensure compliance with all UCAR polices. Provides guidance and trains and supervises other laboratory members (e.g. students, postodocs, technicians, etc.) to complete these duties.

Laboratory & Other Meetings :

  • Participates and contributes to regularly-scheduled laboratory meetings. Provides a verbal account of progress on lab-specific goals, including experimental progress on research activities, as well as reporting of lab members’ compliance with Federal, State, and University regulations for use of laboratory animals, hazardous materials, and general laboratory health and safety as needed. Develops, installs, and maintains operating procedures for the laboratory, and independently operates complex equipment (e.g. Luminex, cytation5, imaging, flow cytometry, seahorse, seahorse, lumicycle, fluorescent microscopes, spectrophotometers). Develops and modifies test methods and selects procedures for data collection and handling. Optimizes methods for data analysis and statistical treatment of data by establishing and updating protocols for data conversion.

Laboratory Management and Oversight :

  • Interviews, trains, supervises and evaluates laboratory staff, graduate students, post-doctoral trainees and other laboratory members. Directs initial training as well as monitors and fosters continuous skill development of staff/trainees in laboratory techniques and instrumentation procedures (general laboratory instruction and more complex procedures related to research area). Counsels staff/trainees on technical problems, advises, and assists staff/trainees with projects associated with major areas of research (oxidative stress, inflammation, epigenetics, DNA damage/repair, exosomes, and scarring) or with special research projects as needed. Involved in the identification and gathering of necessary research materials, supplies, equipment and apparatus and experimental resources. Evaluates demonstrations of products and makes recommendations for the acquisition of new products and materials as necessary to expand or continue research in a competitive manner. When necessary, will coordinate service support, repair of equipment, and requisitioning of supplies and research materials as well as minor construction. Evaluates the performance of research equipment, making design changes, recommendations for acquisition of new or supporting equipment/materials and/or developing new approaches for the use of current technology.


  • Ph.D. in Biological Sciences or equivalent doctoral degree, as well as at least two-five years of relevant postdoctoral training supported by a substantial record of publications. A candidate with independent grant support/award/fellowship will be preferred for this position.

  • Previous experience handling clinical samples, training graduate and undergraduate students in the laboratory, as well as sufficient skills to write manuscripts and independent research grants.

  • Proficiency in cell and molecular biology techniques and previous experience with Colony management, handling and use of laboratory animals, infectious agents, and chemicals.

  • Doctoral degree with major course work in the field of assignment and a minimum of 4-5 years of relevant postdoctoral training strongly preferred.

  • Evening and weekend work will occasionally be required based upon experimental schedules and laboratory needs. Interest in and willingness to learn new techniques are essential job components.

  • Ability to exercise independent judgment and perform research activities independently with limited guidance from the principal investigator on adapting standard laboratory procedures to meet specific research-based goals.

  • Ability to apply good judgement to laboratory work, prioritizing tasks, independently managing time, collaborating, and quickly integrating into an existing team.

  • Excellent interpersonal and verbal and written communication skills are essential.

License/Certification Required :


How To Apply

All applicants must apply online.

EOE Minorities/Females/Protected Veterans/Disabled

Pay Range

Pay Range: $ 50,000 - $100,000 Annually

The referenced pay range represents the minimum and maximum compensation for this job. Individual annual salaries/hourly rates will be set within the job’s compensation range, and will be determined by considering factors including, but not limited to, market data, education, experience, qualifications, expertise of the individual, and internal equity considerations.

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Location: School of Medicine & Dentistry
Full/Part Time: Full-Time