About the Lab and Research Project
The Harrington lab focuses on the study of intergenerational immune interactions. Specifically, we work on microchimerism (the transfer of cells between a pregnant woman and her fetus) and the implications for infection in the mother and her offspring. Using a cohort from Tanzania, we have previously demonstrated that malaria infection of the placenta results in more cells transferring to the fetus. In addition, we have found that when we can detect maternal cells in the cord blood, the children display altered susceptibility to malaria. We are now interested in understanding what these maternal cells are doing with regard to the development of the fetal and infant immune system. To investigate the role of these cells, we have a number of projects ongoing in the lab to understand their role in malaria susceptibility, susceptibility to other childhood illnesses, and response to immunization.
About the Position
The primary responsibility of the successful applicant would be to screen two new cohorts from Mali and Uganda for microchimerism. Specific tasks would include genomic DNA extraction under meticulous conditions, HLA and non-HLA typing to identify a maternal-specific marker, and qPCR to assess for presence and level of maternal DNA in cord and infant samples. Because we are looking for a rare or minor cell population in limited clinical samples, meticulous attention to detail to prevent contamination and familiarity with pre/post (clean) PCR techniques are an absolute requirement. Although we have a panel of previously developed assays, eventual tasks might include the development of new assays. The successful candidate would execute, trouble-shoot, and perform initial interpretation of experiments with detailed documentation and weekly presentation of observations and results, assist others in the laboratory with problem solving if needed, and maintain a constructive laboratory environment. The ideal candidate will also have Good communication, organization, and interpersonal skills. Scientific integrity is required. Finally, the Harrington lab is a new lab, and the successful candidate would be responsible for helping set up the lab, ordering and supply procurement, and inventory.
Please note that there is one (1) opening in the Harrington lab for either a level II or level III Technician (req#2018-28156) contingent upon final candidate's qualifications and match to position needs.
- Bachelor's Degree in biology, microbiology, immunology, molecular biology, biochemistry, or closely related field, and at least one year prior research lab experience to include: Experience with molecular biology methods including qPCR, isolation of RNA and DNA, cloning, and amplicon sequencing; Meticulous attention to detail and knowledge of clean (pre/post) PCR techniques; Experience developing new PCR-based assays; Experience with basic lab management skills such as ordering and inventory; Excellent communication skills.
- Comprehensive experience with qPCR and other molecular approaches
- Working knowledge of basic bioinformatics tools such as Blast
- Ability to develop new assays, including primer and probe development
- Comfortable working in biosafety level 2 conditions
- Prior experience with lab administrative support, such as ordering and inventory
- Prior experience with lab set up