Research Specialist

Application ends: March 28, 2025

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Job Description

Full Job Description

Janelia Research Campus is a pioneering research center in Ashburn, Virginia, where scientists pursue fundamental questions in neuroscience and imaging. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) launched Janelia in 2006, establishing an intellectually distinctive environment for scientists to do creative, collaborative, hands-on work. Our integrated teams of biologists, computational scientists, and tool-builders pursue a small number of scientific questions with potential for transformative impact. We share our methods, results, and tools with the scientific community. It is a uniquely innovative and collaborative atmosphere that reflects HHMI’s reputation for excellence.
About the Role:
The Research Specialist in Aquatics will be a pivotal member of the vivarium team with a focus on creating new genetically modified lines of zebrafish and danionella. This role will bridge shared resources and research labs to streamline development of transgenic fish species. The ideal candidate will possess critical thinking, expertise in zebrafish genetics, and hands-on skills with genetically modified zebrafish lines that facilitate high throughput line creation, maintenance, and cryopreservation.
About the Department:
Come join this dynamic team situated within our Vivarium – part of our larger Shared Resource Group! The RS will be responsible for hands-on zebrafish technical work and communication with another Shared Resource, Molecular Genomics, in researching, developing, and implementing strategies for zebrafish and danionella transgenic line creation. The RS will also work closely with the Aquatics husbandry arm and Manager of Aquatic Species in ongoing discussions and collaborative framework.
What We Provide:
  • A competitive compensation package, with comprehensive health and welfare benefits.
  • An opportunity to broaden research experience in a collaborative environment
  • A team that believes in continuous learning and cultivates an environment of collaboration.
  • Professional development opportunities through internal and external conferences and workshops.
  • Collaboration with research labs and other shared resources, including Molecular Genomics, Viral Tools, Molecular Biology, Quantitative Genomics, Rodent Transgenics, Fly Facility, and other Vivarium teams. Certification(s) with the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS).
  • Flexible working hours.
What You’ll Do:
  • Run the Aquatics pipeline to create and maintain new genetically modified strains of zebrafish, Danionella, and other aquatic organisms used in research at Janelia.
  • Independently organize the workload for microinjections, fluorescent screening, fin clipping for genotyping, cryopreservation, and IVF.
  • Perform microinjections, fluorescent screening, fin clipping, cryopreservation, and IVF.
  • Train Aquatics staff and researchers on microinjections, fluorescent screening, fin clipping, cryopreservation, and IVF.
  • Use established computer database to keep track of transgenic fish colonies.
  • Work closely with labs and other shared resources on the development of materials used for gene modifications.
  • Interface with labs and other shared resources to troubleshoot challenges with successful generation and screening of genetically modified aquatic organisms.
  • Communicate with researchers, line creation project manager, and supervisor on the schedule and status of line generation, changes with breeding colony status, and other updates related to services provided for the creation and maintenance of genetically modified aquatic organisms.
  • May assist the Aquatics team with husbandry, filtration maintenance, or other duties in the department not related to the creation and maintenance of genetically modified aquatic organisms.
  • May work weekends and holidays.
What You Bring:
  • Master’s degree and two years of related experience or Bachelor’s degree and six years of related experience.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in the creation of genetically modified aquatic organisms.
  • Demonstrated proficiency with microinjections of zebrafish embryos (including both cell and yolk injections), use of fluorescent microscopes for phenotyping fish lines, fin clipping, cryopreservation, and IVF.
  • In-depth knowledge and the ability to effectively communicate on modern genome engineering techniques in aquatic organisms and the hands-on procedures for the care and use of zebrafish in research.
  • In-depth knowledge of zebrafish anatomy and anatomical features.
Physical Requirements
Remaining in a normal seated or standing position for extended periods of time; reaching and grasping by extending hand(s) or arm(s); dexterity to manipulate objects with fingers, for example using a keyboard; communication skills using the spoken word; ability to see and hear within normal parameters; ability to move about workspace. The position requires mobility, including the ability to move materials weighing up to several pounds (such as a laptop computer or tablet). Work may involve possible exposure to malodorous vapors, low dose radiation, contamination by toxic chemicals and acids and presence of carcinogenic substances or other hazardous materials.
Persons with disabilities may be able to perform the essential duties of this position with reasonable accommodation. Requests for reasonable accommodation will be evaluated on an individual basis.
Please Note:
This job description sets forth the job’s principal duties, responsibilities, and requirements; it should not be construed as an exhaustive statement, however. Unless they begin with the word “may,” the Essential Duties and Responsibilities described above are “essential functions” of the job, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Compensation and Benefits
Our employees are compensated from a total rewards perspective in many ways for their contributions to our mission, including competitive pay, exceptional health benefits, retirement plans, time off, and a range of recognition and wellness programs. Visit our

Benefits at HHMI

site to learn more.

Compensation Range

$64,460.00 (minimum) – $80,600.00 (midpoint) – $104,720.00 (maximum)

Pay Type:


HHMI’s salary structure is developed based on relevant job market data. HHMI considers a candidate’s education, previous experiences, knowledge, skills and abilities, as well as internal equity when making job offers. Typically, a new hire for this position in this location is compensated between the minimum and the midpoint of the salary range.
HHMI is an Equal Opportunity Employer
  • Health insurance