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Specialist in Molecular Biology of Neurons

Application Window

Open date: April 19, 2024

Most recent review date: Saturday, May 4, 2024 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications received after this date will be reviewed by the search committee if the position has not yet been filled.

Final date: Sunday, Oct 19, 2025 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

Position description

Specialist in Molecular Biology of Neurons

The Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases (IND) at the world-renowned University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is seeking a motivated and enthusiastic individual to join our state-of-the-art neuroscience research institute aimed at defining mechanisms underlying motor neuron disease (Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS) and dementia. The IND is directed by Dr. Stanley Prusiner, who discovered prions, and is located at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus, an outstanding hub of neuroscience and biomedical research. This position supports the Institute’s multidisciplinary research approach to discover the causes of neurodegenerative disease and to develop new biomarkers and treatments, which are urgently needed.

The Mordes Lab within the IND is focused on understanding how disruptions in protein homeostasis and RNA metabolism result in the formation of protein inclusions within neurons and neurodegeneration, particularly ALS, Parkinson’s disease, and forms of dementia. The research involves the utilization of patient-derived and isogenic CRISPR-edited pluripotent stem cell lines and detailed neuropathology examination of patient brains. The lab group consists of a vibrant mix of scientists, students, and research associates.

The specialist will engage in ongoing studies of human stem cell-derived neurons to model neurodegenerative diseases and related molecular biology assays. The successful applicant will be an experienced cell and molecular biology researcher with expertise in biomedical research and in vitro cell culture methods. The specialist will effectively communicate with all lab members and work as part of a team dedicated to understanding neurodegenerative diseases and advancing pre-clinical models of disease to promote the discovery of novel therapeutic targets.

A two-year commitment is preferred; and the candidate must be able to make a one-year commitment.

The major responsibilities in cell culture will include the maintenance and manipulation of stem cell lines, differentiation of stem cells to neurons, and transfection and transductions of neurons, and imaging/monitoring of cells and neurons via microscopy.

The specialist will be responsible for a range of molecular biology techniques, including quantitative analysis of gene expression, purification of RNA and DNA, plasmid preparation and cloning, immunoblotting, preparation of nucleic acid libraries, and immunostaining. Additional studies will involve the extraction and quality control of nucleic acid and proteins from brain tissue samples for downstream assays to validate findings from cellular and neuronal models.

The incumbent will be required to complete safety training and perform administrative and operational duties to maintain lab EH&S and chemical compliance and ordering lab consumable supplies related to cell culture and molecular biology.

The incumbent will also be responsible for establishing additional molecular biology techniques for the lab, such as quantitative PCR and high throughput cellular assays, as projects evolve.

The incumbent will maintain detailed lab records and perform analysis of results and statistical assays using available software, such as GraphPad Prism.

The specialist will support the intellectual design of a research project, attend and present at regular lab meetings, and contribute to the broader scientific and medical community through opportunities to attend conferences and publish original papers.

Personal Qualifications


  • Possess a high sense of commitment for advancing biomedical research and career development.

  • Excellent record-keeping and organizational abilities

  • Strong sense of responsibility with all lab duties

Education and Training Qualifications:

  • Junior Specialist- Baccalaureate degree in Biology, Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, Bioengineering or related fields in the life or medical sciences or at least four years of research experience.

  • Assistant Specialist- Master’s degree (or equivalent degree) in Biology, Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, Bioengineering or related fields in the life or medical sciences or a baccalaureate degree with three or more years of research experience.

  • Associate Specialist- Master’s degree (or equivalent degree) or five to ten years of relevant experience.

  • Full Specialist- A terminal degree (or equivalent degree) in Biology, Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, Bioengineering or related fields or ten or more years of relevant experience.

Technical Qualifications


  • Demonstrated experience in performing mammalian cell culture and experimental protocols.

  • Working knowledge of basic lab techniques and molecular biology methods, or an equivalent combination of relevant education and experience.

  • Ability to perform basic mathematical calculations and statistical tests in spreadsheet formats.


  • Expertise in human pluripotent stem cell maintenance, differentiation to neurons, and biological assay development.

  • Biochemistry and Molecular biology expertise including protein, RNA, and DNA purification and analysis by in vitro methods, including sequencing methods.

Candidates must meet the required qualifications at the time of appointment. Candidate’s CV must state qualifications (or if pending) upon submission.

Please apply online at, with a CV, cover letter, and three references.

See Table 24B for the salary range for this position. A reasonable estimate for this position is $51,300-$181,800.

Document requirements

  • Curriculum Vitae - CV must clearly list current and/or pending qualifications (e.g. board eligibility/certification, medical licensure, etc.).
  • Cover Letter
  • Reference requirements: 3 required (contact information only)

Application Requirements

Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - CV must clearly list current and/or pending qualifications (e.g. board eligibility/certification, medical licensure, etc.).

  • Cover Letter

  • Misc / Additional (Optional)

Reference requirements
  • 3 required (contact information only)

About UC San Francisco

As a University employee, you will be required to comply with all applicable University policies and/or collective bargaining agreements, as may be amended from time to time. Federal, state, or local government directives may impose additional requirements.

UC San Francisco seeks candidates whose experience, teaching, research, or community service has prepared them to contribute to our commitment to diversity and excellence. The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status.

Job location

San Francisco, CA