Sr Research Specialist

Rochester, NY


The Sr. Research Specialist will provide project management, oversight of laboratory, active collaborations, and research support within the Food Allergy Research laboratory in the Allergy and Immunology Division of the Department of Pediatrics. Projects in the lab focus on understanding factors predisposing to atopic diseases with an overall goal of food allergy prevention. The mode of research in the laboratory includes processing and testing specimens collected for clinical trial and sponsored research projects utilizing molecular biology, cytometry, tissue culture and serologic methodology.

The Sr Research Specialist will supervise and monitor the daily operation and quality of work of the laboratory, including writing and optimizing experimental protocols, development and maintenance of lab safety protocols, and will also be expected to design and conduct experiments, as well as present and interpret experimental results. The Specialist will effectively interact with numerous project stakeholders including enrollers, project nurses, laboratory personnel in other supporting research and clinical laboratories and data management teams. The Sr Research Specialist will also have extensive interaction with other U of R researchers and collaborating agencies through presentations, conference calls, and joint conferences. When possible, the associate will be encouraged to present data at meetings and co-author papers.

The position will require extensive knowledge and practical experience in immunology as a scientific discipline. It will also require organizational independence, an ability to train and work collaboratively with a diverse group of students, post-docs, research coordinators, and other research staff and capacity to operate comfortably a range of experimental systems and techniques. The position will also require oversight of and ability to support multiple research projects within the scope of the lab. Additionally, the position will require the oversight in all aspects of a primary research project that is directly organized, controlled, and executed by the associate. As such independence, a strong work ethic and focus will be critical. For example, one focus is on the further development and characterization of enteroid (intestinal organoid) model system in the laboratory. This requires a capacity to design, organize, and analyze experimental data that will serve as an invaluable tool in the publication of papers in scientific journals and future funding opportunities. A high level of competence in independent decision making and interpersonal skills will be critical to success in the role.

Typical working hours would be 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday; although the schedule includes weekend and evening hours based on operational needs of laboratory projects.

Demonstrates ICARE* values in each of the major responsibilities (ICARE—an acronym for Integrity, Inclusion, Compassion, Accountability, Respect and Excellence—provides the foundation for how we treat people at this Medical Center. Achieving our strategic vision depends on all of us living out these values and embracing the diversity of our faculty, staff, students, trainees and patients).


Individual reports directly to the principal investigator, Dr. Kirsi Järvinen-Seppo and the Lab Director. This position requires independent judgment in experimental planning and design as well as to the ability to troubleshoot and modify experimental methods accordingly. Furthermore, it will be necessary to accurately interpret results and analyze data to ensure the progression of research projects. Lastly, the position requires supervision of a laboratory team of up to 10 individuals.


Laboratory Oversight/Project Management:

  • Exercise oversight of multiple research projects within the scope of the lab, performed by technicians, students and post-docs acting as the primary researchers. This position will require an ability to support all of these projects in multiple capacities, including providing critical review of technical and scientific aspects of the projects, experimental controls and validity of the findings, assisting in trouble shooting of experiments, interpretation of data and assisting in planning future experiments.

  • Advance and carry on collaboration with other researchers at outside institutions. The ability to maintain relationships with contacts inside and outside the University is essential to the productivity and efficiency of the laboratory.

  • Coordinate research and data interpretation with multiple U of R researchers, University core facilities and other departments including Pathology, Flow Cytometry Core, Microscopy Core, Mass Spectrometry Resource Lab, Functional Genomics Core through emails, conference calls and presentations as appropriate.

  • Train, supervise, direct and assist students, residents, fellows and technicians in the laboratory in terms of execution of general laboratory research techniques and troubleshooting of their experimental work including research compliance and biosafety procedures. Orient new and collaborating laboratory personnel to the laboratory-related procedures.

  • Monitor quality of day-to-day work of students, residents and technicians. Assist PI with interviewing and hiring decisions, and with evaluating and resolving performance issues. Identify and troubleshoot laboratory and personnel issues, propose resolutions and implement improvements. Monitor outcomes to ensure issues are resolved and improvements sustained.

  • Liaise with research administration in managing laboratory budget to ensure that laboratory stays within budget parameters. Make recommendations to PI in annual lab budget planning. Prepare project specific laboratory budgets for the purposes of planning (e.g. for grant proposals).

  • Monitor and ensure lab members training and compliance with all pertinent Environmental Health and Safety and Institutional Biosafety Committee requirements specific to laboratory. Ensures that health and safety practices are maintained in accordance with University policy and the law.

  • Acquire and maintain University provided certification for shipment of Hazardous Materials (in particular for dry ice and potentially infectious substance shipments). Supervise and verify regulatory and safety compliance of such shipments.

  • Based on the level of ownership of a project, analyze and interpret data acquired during experiments and literature reviews, and disseminate to PI and/or weekly laboratory meetings internal and external to Department, and makes recommendations as to lab direction based on current findings and literature.

  • Contribute Writing of Protocols, Papers, and Presentations. Independently write and edit sections of manuscripts for publication, posters and presentations for dissemination at local, regional and national meetings. Critically review students’ similar products and make suggestions.

  • Attend relevant seminars pertinent to the research goals of the laboratory.


  • Independently design and perform experiments and modifies experiments based on analyses of the results. Assist with the development, implementation and execution of new protocols. These include but are not limited to flow cytometry, tissue culture-based assays, nucleic acid extraction, polymerase chain reaction protocols, blood separation, microbiology techniques, and ELISA and Luminex protocols.

  • Supervise establishing, maintaining, troubleshooting and experimentation with model systems such as tumor derived and enteroid cell lines, transwell systems, organ-on-chip and their characterization by qPCR, RNAseq and immunofluorensence imaging and other suitable methods with the help of a technician. These experiments would provide the opportunity to work with model systems closely related at the genetic and physiologic level to their human counterparts.

  • Develop, write and modify standardized operating procedures based on results of complex experiments. Establish and troubleshoot new laboratory protocols evaluating effectiveness and modifying based on analyses. Review of research literature to design and develop methods and resolution of technical problems in the evaluation of the appropriateness of techniques used in experimental protocols.

  • Generally, perform and supervise experiments in the field of assignment alongside technicians, students and postdocs as needed for the research program.

Other duties as assigned. (5%)



  • Bachelor's degree and 5 years of related work experience involving direct assistance to researchers required.

  • Master's degree strongly preferred.

  • PhD preferred

  • Knowledge of basic immunology, molecular biology, and tissue culture methods is required.

  • Specific skills necessary for this position include knowledge of general laboratory safety processes, universal precautions, flow cytometry, aseptic cell culture technique, PCR and qPCR, microbiology techniques, ELISA and Luminex assays, and nucleic acid extraction methods. Familiarity with general laboratory equipment including biosafety cabinets, centrifuges, freezers & cold room, pH meter, autoclave, PCR machines, pipettors, fume hoods, spectrophotometers & ice machine, balances, microscopes, incubators, power supply & gel boxes, and other nucleic acid extraction instrumentation is expected.

  • Additional skills may be required and training provided as needed. Thorough documentation of results in written and electronic database formats will be required.

  • Advanced computer skills including MS Word and Excel, required. Experience using flow cytometry software, statistical software packages such as Prism are required. Skills in basic database management is preferred.

  • Required Competencies: Demonstrates skill in communication with the Principal Investigators and other members of the laboratory team including communicating effectively with laboratories internal and external to the department. Demonstrates skill in prioritizing assignments and is able to effectively multitask. Proactive in resolving problems and implementing quality improvement. Demonstrates competence in the technical skills as detailed by the job description. Demonstrates skill in supervising students and lab technicians. Demonstrates high level of attention to detail. Must be able to work independently and without direction in the day-to-day operations of the laboratory. Must be able to maintain detailed records. The Sr Research Specialist will meet with Principal Investigators once weekly for 1-2 hours to discuss results of experiments, present plans for experiments, make recommendations about new experiments, and discuss lab management issues.


  • With a Master's Degree, a minimum 5 years of professional experience in the field of assignment, with significant independent research experience, and a minimum of 1 year of direct supervisory and project management experience.

The University of Rochester is committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion to advance the University’s mission to Learn, Discover, Heal, Create – and Make the World Ever Better. In support of our values and those of our society, the University is committed to not discriminating on the basis of age, color, disability, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, military/veteran status, national origin, race, religion/creed, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship status, or any other status protected by law. This commitment extends to the administration of our policies, admissions, employment, access, and recruitment of candidates from underrepresented populations, veterans, and persons with disabilities consistent with these values and government contractor Affirmative Action obligations.

How To Apply

All applicants must apply online.

EOE Minorities/Females/Protected Veterans/Disabled

Pay Range

Pay Range: $63,815 - $95,723 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