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Research Scientist

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences Los Angeles, California

External Job Title: Staff Research Scientist, Member of Leadership Team.

Internal Job Title: Associate Director of Applied Research

Reports to:Peter Kuhn, Professor and Director, USC Michelson CSI-Cancer

Job Summary:

The University of Southern California (USC), founded in 1880, is located in the heart of downtown L.A. and is the largest private employer in the City of Los Angeles. As an employee of USC, you will be a part of a world-class research university and a member of the “Trojan Family," which comprises the faculty, students, and staff that make the university what it is.

The USC Michelson Center Convergent Science Institute in Cancer (CSI-Cancer) is studying circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and other analytes in the liquid biopsies (blood, bone marrow aspirates, and other liquids) of cancer patients as an approach to manage cancer care. CSI-Cancer is led by Prof. Peter Kuhn as Director and Prof. James Hicks as Deputy Director and joined by a senior staff leadership team. Our data science driven single-cell multi-omic approach allows us to look at the morphology, proteome, and genome of these CTCs individually. Collectively, this information permits an understanding of the disease in hopes of enabling personalized care in oncology.

We are currently searching for an energetic, passionate, and dedicated staff research scientist to work as a member of the institute’s leadership team to help guide the overall research enterprise. Our effort is led by multidisciplinary scientists and physicians across the nation. We have multiple ongoing clinical studies to explore the utility of the liquid biopsy in different cancers. The qualified candidate will lead the assay development team, the QA/QC of our in-house liquid biopsy platform, and multiple research programs ( The qualified candidate will play a vital role in supporting the research infrastructure and activities of the institute, directly report to the director, be a member of the leadership team, and interface with staff, students, and postdoctoral fellows on research projects.

This is a grant funded position.

Interested individuals should provide their CV and a 1-2 page cover letter describing their professional goals and how their research experience can advance CSI-Cancer’s mission (

Primary Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Plans, designs, and conducts highly technical and complex research projects consistent with institute priorities.  
  • Responsible for the development and validation of fluorescent biomarker assays in preparation for upcoming clinical studies and laboratory processing.
  • Leads and participates in work across teams of data scientists, engineers, and biologists.
  • Supervises and trains fluorescent biomarker assay development emphasizing good laboratory practice (GLP).
  • Supervises blood processing technicians emphasizing good laboratory practice (GLP).
  • Mentors and trains students and postdoctoral fellows.
  • Maintains relationships with collaborators across multiple institutions and industry partners.
  • Performs other related duties as assigned or requested. The university reserves the right to add or change duties at any time.

Joint Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Designs and establishes clinical trials in collaboration with clinical partners across multiple institutions.
  • Leads and contributes to the development of grant proposals, research documentation for publication, and preparation of technical reports, papers, and/or records.
  • Stays current in liquid biopsies and cancer care through coursework, reading journals and scientific papers, maintaining professional networks, and presenting and attending seminars and conferences as appropriate.
  • Operates and troubleshoots sophisticated laboratory/scientific equipment (i.e. immunofluorescence microscopes).
  • Searches literature, utilizing all available resources, regarding new methodology and designs experiments accordingly.

Minimum Requirements:

  • PhD degree or equivalent in Cancer Research, Biology, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, or related Biological Science area with five years experience in academia or industry.
  • Highly experienced
  • Background in data analysis and analytical methods.
  • Experience supervising staff technicians.
  • Experience with mentoring students, and providing laboratory and data analysis/visualization training to students and staff.
  • Must be a highly motivated individual with acute attention to detail, time management, and excellent interpersonal communication skills with an emphasis on team science, and able to work with minimal oversight to meet deadlines.

Working Conditions:

  • Will be working with liquid biopsies (blood, bone marrow aspirate, etc), tissue, and cell lines.
  • Adhere to our Environmental Health and Safety protocols to monitor safe storage and disposal of chemicals.
  • Must comply with General Lab Safety and Blood Borne Pathogens protocols.

Performs other related duties as assigned or requested. The university reserves the right to add or change duties at any time.

Required Documents and Additional Information:

  • Resume and cover letter required (may be uploaded as one file). Please do not submit your application without these documents.

  • Job openings are posted for a minimum of (5) five business days. This job may be removed from posting boards and filled any time after the minimum posting period has ended, so please apply on the same business day if interested.

  • USC has excellent benefits, including health benefits for staff and their family with access to the renowned university medical network; eligibility for retirement plans with employer contributions after six months of employment; tuition benefits for staff and their family; free Professional Development classes; central Los Angeles location with easy access to commuter trains, buses and free tram pick up services; discounts to sporting and other campus events.

The University of Southern California is an Equal Opportunity Employer that Values Diversity.

Job Profile Summary Minimum Education: Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate Minimum Experience: 5 years Minimum Field of Expertise: Directly related education and experience in research specialization with highly advanced knowledge of equipment, procedures, analysis methods, principles, theories and concepts. Demonstrated leadership in developing new ideas and ability to publish in appropriate academic and practitioner outlets. Demonstrated independent thinking and leadership in scholarly writing according to such criteria as: first authored publications, conceptual leadership in the development of publications generated alone or with others, writing of first drafts of publications and/or single authored publications.

REQ20108398 Posted Date: 10/13/2021

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