Research Specialist 2

University of Chicago

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL, USA
Posted on Tuesday, November 7, 2023


BSD MGC - Carrillo Lab

About the Department

The Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology (MGCB) is an innovative interdisciplinary community of scientists committed to investigating molecular aspects of biological phenomena that operate on a cellular scale. We invite you to explore our programs and get to know us better,

Job Summary

The Carrillo lab at the University of Chicago seeks a Research Specialist 2 to participate in research focused on molecular mechanisms underlying neural circuit wiring (see The ideal candidate must be highly motivated to perform cutting edge research with the intent of publishing in highly respected journals. Someone who is planning to apply to graduate or medical school would benefit greatly from this opportunity (a 2-year commitment is required). Our research uses molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, microscopy, and circuit function assays (electrophysiology, optogenetics) for experimentation with the genetic model system Drosophila (fruit flies) and primary neuron and S2 cell cultures. Accurate recording and reporting of experimental results is important. Reading and analysis of relevant research literature will be expected. All aspects of these projects will be guided and supervised, but the candidate will operate largely independently on a daily basis and will be encouraged to contribute intellectually to the studies. The successful candidate will also be responsible for cleaning and maintaining laboratory rooms and equipment, assisting with receipt and inspection of research materials, ordering and stocking of materials and equipment, and maintaining the laboratory fly stocks. The job may include training students and collaborating with other members of the laboratory. Ultimately we want an enthusiastic, fun, collegial, productive group of researchers that can work well independently and collaboratively.


  • 50% - Experimental tasks will include: 1) Fly genetics to create appropriate lines, 2) Dissect, stain, and mount Drosophila brains, ventral nerve cords (embryonic, adult, larval, and adult), and bodywall preps (all require fine hand motor skills for dissecting under stereoscope magnification), 3) Imaging brains and dissected preps using widefield and confocal microscopy (Zeiss), 4) Electrophysiology – NMJ and whole-cell recordings, 5) Other - PCR, cloning, S2 cell cultures, transformations, biochemistry. Additional research opportunities and techniques are available depending on motivation and interests.​

  • 25% - Supplemental research activities. Maintain detailed records of all experimental data and generate reports/presentations for periodic lab discussions. Read and keep abreast of scientific and technical literature.​ Compile results into reports and presentations.

  • 25% - Lab maintenance. ​ Assist with general lab duties: maintain fly lab stocks, make common buffers, agar plates, maintain laboratory rooms and equipment, order and stock laboratory supplies.

  • Maintains technical and administrative support for a research project.

  • Analyzes and maintains data and/or specimens. Conducts literature reviews. Assists with preparation of reports, manuscripts and other documents.

  • Installs, sets up and performs experiments; interacting with students and other laboratory staff under the direction of the principal investigator.

  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications


Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through < 2 years of work experience in a related job discipline.



Preferred Qualifications


  • Bachelor’s degree or higher in biology, biochemistry, genetics, neuroscience, or related field.


  • Microscopy experience (widefield, DIC, fluorescence, confocal).

  • Experience with Drosophila melanogaster is a plus.

  • Experience with dissections and immunostainings.

  • Background in neuroscience.

Preferred Competencies

  • Knowledge of standard molecular biology research techniques.

  • Familiarity with standard laboratory equipment.

  • Analytical and problem-solving skills.

  • Knowledge of basic chemistry, buffer prep, and calculations.

  • Knowledge of research techniques or methods.

  • Analytical skills.

  • Problem-solving skills.

  • Attention to detail.

  • Organizational skills.

  • Verbal and written communication skills.

  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.

  • Familiarity with standard molecular biology lab equipment.

  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office.

  • Weekend/evening hours are occasionally needed.

Application Documents

  • Cover Letter (required)

  • Resume (required)

  • Contact information for 2 references (required)

When applying, the document(s) MUST be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Job Family


Role Impact

Individual Contributor

FLSA Status


Pay Frequency


Scheduled Weekly Hours


Benefits Eligible


Drug Test Required


Health Screen Required


Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required


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