Assistant Project Scientist
The Center for Comparative Medicine at the University of California, Davis, is seeking applications for the position of Assistant Project Scientist. This position will focus on host-pathogen interactions of persistence infections in the nonhuman primate models (NHP) for Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and AIDS. Projects include the characterization of a CMV vaccine in the NHP model and the development of a CMV/SIV co-infection NHP model. These investigations include the analysis of immune responses to CMV vaccination and infection, in addition to determination of vaccine efficacy using a novel horizontal challenge model in the NHP model for CMV. Both humoral and cellular immunoassays will be used to monitor responses after vaccination and following viral challenge. Molecular biology techniques will be used to measure acquisition of virus following challenge, including TaqMan PCR and Western blot analysis. The appointee is expected to work independently at the bench and to make significant and creative contributions to the CMV vaccination project under the general guidance of the Principal Investigator. The appointee is also expected to contribute significantly to the development of a NHP model of CMV/SIV co-infection, aimed to determine the impact of CMV infection on SIV transmission and the SIV reservoir. Previous documented experience and knowledge of the NHP model for AIDS is essential, including: the development and use of TaqMan RT-PCR assays for quantification of viral loads and viral nucleic acids in tissue reservoirs and plasma, antiretroviral therapy in the NHP model, and a knowledge of persistent viral reservoirs. Extensive experience in cloning and molecular biology techniques is required, including documented experience with cloning and manipulation of bacterial artificial chromosomes. Documented experience with the NHP model for CMV is essential, including the development of TaqMan PCR assays for viral load quantification, viral neutralization assays, ELISAs, Western blot analysis, and immunohistochemistry. Experience preparing vaccinations and viral inoculum is required, in addition to experience processing NHP blood and tissue samples. Broad experience in viral vaccinology is required, including experience with recombinant proteins and adjuvants, self-replicating RNA vaccines, viral replicon particles, and viral vectors used for vaccination. A Ph.D. in Microbiology or a closely related field is required. Demonstrated significant, original and creative contributions to research, with publication in peer-reviewed journals, is required.
The appointee possesses the subject matter expertise and the creative energy necessary to function at a high level of competence. The appointee will participate in activities to increase, improve, or upgrade competency. Appointees with Project (e.g., Scientist) titles may engage in University and public service. They do not have teaching responsibilities. Although the Project Scientist is expected to work independently under the general guidance of an academic member with an independent research program (i.e., Professor, Professional Researcher, Specialist in Cooperative Extension, etc.), he/she is not required to develop an independent research program or reputation. He/she will carry out research or creative programs with supervision by an individual in an academic title that carries with it automatic Principal status. The Project Scientist does not usually serve as a Principal Investigator but may do so by exception. The appointee is expected to be a contributing member of the laboratory, including assisting with lab maintenance. The appointee is also expected to assist other lab members with manuscript and grant editing and writing.
I. RESEARCH (80%)
Research Activity (70%)
This position requires creative contributions to and collaborative development of an active research program investigating topics relevant to the research area of cytomegalovirus vaccinology and host-pathogen interactions. The candidate will act as Lead to help to determine research goals in consultation with the Principal Investigator. He/she will design specific projects, including the selection of appropriate methods and techniques. The candidate will be responsible for organizing projects, and preparing vaccinations and challenge virus. The candidate will also coordinate with the primate center staff for sample collection and will process all samples. The candidate will also be responsible for performing innate, cellular and humoral immunoassays in addition to the processing of acquired data in order to achieve the goals of the project. In some cases the candidate may supervise students or technicians regarding the technical aspects of the research, including methods development, trouble-shooting problems, interpreting results and planning follow-up experiments.
The candidate will publish research in peer-reviewed journals either independently or in collaboration with the PI or other members of the research team. The candidate will write and edit manuscripts, including the preparation of graphics and figures for publication.
Grant Acquisitions (5%)
The candidate will assist in writing proposals for funding from federal and state agencies and other funding organizations. The candidate will prepare and assist in the preparation of reports as required by granting agencies and prepare modifications of budgets and other grant components as needed.
II. PROFESIONAL COMPETENCE AND ACTIVITY (15%)
The candidate will participate in professional societies and conferences appropriate to the specific fields of microbiology, virology, and host-pathogen interactions, and will serve as a reviewer of research proposals and scientific publications as appropriate. The candidate will attend seminars to present research results and may give oral presentations to public and professional interest groups. When appropriate, the candidate may coordinate and/or give presentations at seminars, laboratory meetings or educational functions.
III. UNIVERSITY AND PUBLIC SERVICE (5%)
The candidate will engage in public outreach activities if requested that include presenting scientific research results to the general public and providing relevant advice to individuals and public agencies. The candidate will engage in University service activities such as guest lecturing and committee service. Teaching classroom courses is not an expectation of this position.
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. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:
Under Federal law, the University of California may employ only individuals who are legally able to work in the United States as established by providing documents as specified in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Certain UCSC positions funded by federal contracts or sub-contracts require the selected candidate to pass an E-Verify check. More information is available at