Departmental Assistant - Laboratory of Medical Zoology (two positions)

Apply now Job no: 503191
Work type: Hourly
Campus: UMass Amherst
Department: Microbiology
Pay Grade: No Pay Grade
Categories: Temporary Non-Benefited

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.

Job Summary

Conducts laboratory testing and experimentation procedures in support of research and service activities in the Laboratory of Medical Zoology (LMZ). Applicant should have experience with whole nucleic extractions, PCR/qPCR, primer design, Sanger sequencing, sequence analysis and gel electrophoresis. The incumbent must have ability to work independently and as part of a team of students and technicians to meet demands of high throughput service laboratory and contribute to finding workable solutions to challenges as they arise. 

Essential Functions

  • Perform all duties in compliance with LMZ QA/QC plan and standard SOPs.
  • In-processing of sample specimens
    • Process tick and mosquito specimens from a variety of public and agency sources.
  • DNA Extraction
    • Conduct DNA extraction of ticks, mosquitoes and related materials and maintain high standards of quality control
  • qPCR testing
    • Conduct molecular diagnostics (conventional PCR, qPCR, sequencing and genotyping) of prepared samples.
    • Report results to clients and agencies. and participate in maintenance/curating of database.
  • Perform general maintenance and operational duties.
  • Participate in routine lab cleaning and maintenance (glassware, instrument service, ordering, etc.).
  • Order laboratory stocks (chemistry, disposable plastic wear, etc.).
  • Perform other related duties as assigned by Director of Laboratory Operations.

Other Functions

  • Work collaboratively and effectively to promote teamwork, diversity, equality and inclusiveness. 
  • Work in partnership with colleagues within the CNS community and across the campus to support the Dean’s strategic priorities.
  • Perform other duties as assigned in support of the mission and goals of the College of Natural Sciences.

Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • B.S. in Biology or related field (eg. Microbiology, Environmental Science, Biochemistry, Public Health etc.) or an equivalent combination of education and training.
  • General knowledge of biology, particularly molecular biology (hands on experience preferred but not necessary).
  • Strong communication skills (written and spoken word) are essential.
  • Trouble shooting and problem-solving ability.
  • Willingness to accept instruction and adapt to circumstances as they arise.
  • Good organizational and record keeping skills.
  • Familiarity with spreadsheets and/or database software.
  • Minimum of one-year experience with PCR in a laboratory is required.

Additional Details

Training in specific techniques to work with mosquitoes and pathogens will be provided. It is expected that the incumbent will contribute to honing and improving efficiencies of these methods over time.

Work Schedule

Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 5:00 pm, schedule may vary (40 hours per week)

Salary Information


Non-benefited, temporary 6 month appointment


As part of a commitment to their own multicultural community, CNS seeks an individual with a commitment to diversity and one who will understand and embrace university initiatives and aspirations.

UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University.  To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.  It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.




Advertised: Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close: Eastern Standard Time

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The University of Massachusetts is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action, Title IX employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, sex, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age over 40, protected veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, marital status, or other protected class.