The goal of the laboratory’s research is to give cancer patients more quality time by harnessing the immune system to fight cancer. The lab uses a variety of molecular pathology techniques to study human tumor tissue and investigate the regulation of immune responses to cancer. The goal is to identify tissue-based biomarkers that can be validated in clinical trials and will ultimately allow each patient to get the best available therapy at any stage of disease. The research team will achieve these goals through the fearless pursuit of excellence in a supportive and diverse setting.
Reporting to the Principal Investigator (PI), the Research Assistant will assist with the ongoing experimental and administrative activities of the laboratory. The incumbent will be highly motivated, eager to learn new techniques and lead effectively in a team environment. Responsibilities will include coordinating equipment and reagent acquisition, specimen tracking, assisting in the development of standard operating procedures for laboratory techniques (including immunohistochemistry [IHC], in-situ hybridization [ISH], and isolation of DNA and RNA from formalin fixed paraffin embedded [FFPE] tissue), as well as conducting image acquisition using the Vectra Polaris microscope, and maintaining accurate records of experimental methods and data. Additional responsibilities will include data interpretation, budget and project management, training and oversight of trainees, and maintaining regulatory compliance. As this position supports research leading to clinical diagnostic tests, the Research Assistant must clearly understand the importance of quality work as it relates to the impact on patient treatment.
• Requests, tracks, and organizes pathology specimens as required for each project/experiment; the incumbent will need to be familiar with surgical pathology and lab procedures for requesting and cutting specimens.
• Participates in planning experiments and evaluating/interpreting test results, utilizing detailed knowledge of research laboratory procedures and practices.
• Participates in the development and implementation of standard operating procedures and safety protocols.
• Resolves IHC/ISH staining problems that are connected with reagent preparation, dilution, expiration dates, and other procedural functions.
• Documents experimental protocols and results under quality assurance guidelines.
• Assists with the development and administration of laboratory budgets and performs other related administrative and financial duties for the Principal Investigator and research lab.
• Works with laboratory staff to evaluate their technical knowledge and skills, and assists in the training of other laboratory personnel. Delegates duties, coordinates workflow and provides general guidance and instruction to students and junior staff.
• Monitors inventory levels and orders materials and supplies in accordance with established policies and procedures as required for experimental protocols.
• Assists in the acquisition and maintenance of the lab and equipment, in accordance with health and safety regulations. Guides other lab users regarding safe operation of equipment and materials.
• Responsible for safe management, cleanliness of the lab and disposal of hazardous substances.
• Prepares periodic reports on workflow, as needed.
• Completes annual university biohazard/universal precaution/radiation safety training, as appropriate, as well as other required online and in-person trainings and compliance requirements.
• May undertake additional duties, including using R software for statistical computing, scientific presentations, writing/editing of papers for publication, and grant writing, as needed.
Skills & Experience / Compétences & expérience
• University degree or three-year post-secondary program in a relevant field.
• Minimum 3 years experience in medical, research, clinical trials, health sciences, laboratory technology or related field.
• Knowledge of laboratory procedures including: surgical pathology, histology (e.g. tissue preparation, staining, and sectioning, immunohistochemistry, and immunofluorescence staining), RNA extraction, and QRTPCR.
• Consideration may be given to an equivalent combination of education and experience.
• Respect diversity and promote inclusion in the workplace.
• Ability to coordinate workflow and use of personal judgement in applying scientific techniques to obtain accurate and relevant experimental results.
• Ability to handle hazardous materials, operate equipment, and prepare solutions or samples appropriately. Foresight in predicting problems and altering procedures to minimize risk, as required.
• Ability to work independently and as a team member to complete tasks with little or no supervision. Ability to manage multiple priorities and meet deadlines.
• Leadership skills to assist in providing direction and instruction to students and junior lab staff.
• Critical observational skills with the ability to perform careful measurements and interpret experimental results.
• Possess technical/scientific communication skills, both written and verbal.
• Organizational, problem-solving, and analytical skills. Judgement in choosing best protocol or adapting procedures to meet changing needs.
• Possesses knowledge of microscopy in order to evaluate routine IHC/ISH control slides that accompany each IHC/ISH run.
• Will be adept at database management for each research project/experiment.
• Familiar with best practices for sterile technique, reagent preparation and storage, and universal safety precautions to protect self and co-workers from biohazardous materials, including blood-borne pathogens.
• Experience with automated IHC staining and digital image analysis are an asset.
• Determine what supplies, equipment, safety and operating procedures are required for functioning of the research lab and how to most optimally allocate and utilize laboratory space and resources
• Decide how to deal with experimental error and problems, such as equipment breakdown by minimizing impact on the results.
• May be required to make decisions regarding the alteration of procedures or protocols, as the need arises during an experiment.
• Determine when it is necessary to seek advice or direction from supervisor with respect to experimental procedure, operation of equipment, etc.
• Decide what to do when encountering an unexpected problem while performing an experiment or respond to equipment breakdown, and decide when problem is complex enough to contact senior staff.
• Prioritize time and determine most efficient use of personal resources within set of priorities outlined by supervisor.
Other Comments / Autres commentaires
The University invites applications from all qualified individuals. Queen’s is committed to employment equity and diversity in the workplace and welcomes applications from women, visible minorities, Aboriginal Peoples, persons with disabilities, and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity. In accordance with Canadian Immigration requirements, priority will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
The University provides support in its recruitment processes to applicants with disabilities, including accommodation that takes into account an applicant's accessibility needs. Candidates requiring accommodation during the recruitment process are asked to contact Human Resources at email@example.com.