Technical Associate 1, Sculpting Evolution

Job Description

Position Overview:

The Sculpting Evolution group at the MIT Media Lab is seeking a wet-lab Research Technician to join the Nucleic Acid Observatory project, to work towards mitigating global catastrophic biological risks.

As an early-stage research contributor, the research technician will take the lead on executing experiments critical to the NAO. You’ll have the opportunity to get up-to-speed on cutting-edge metagenomic sequencing techniques (including Illumina and Nanopore sequencing), and work in a dynamic research environment. We expect to invest heavily in training and mentoring this hire. Successful candidates will be able to contribute to an eventual publication, and may be able to take on increasing responsibilities in a growing team, or will be well-positioned for graduate school. 


  • Process wastewater samples for viral and bacterial detection;
  • Run standard biological assays such as qPCR, and rapidly get up to speed on the design and development of novel measurement protocols (e.g., Nanopore sequencing);
  • Assist in designing and planning experiments;
  • Propose and implement workflow improvements on all aspects of wastewater screening, including possibilities for automation;
  • Synthesize and present results to a diverse team of researchers;
  • Perform standardized molecular biology techniques, such as cloning expression plasmids.



  • A Bachelor’s degree in specialized or related field, such as molecular biology, biophysics, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, or chemistry;
  • Minimum two years specialized lab experience, (which may include experience gained as an undergraduate);
  • Proficiency in basic molecular biology or analytical chemistry assays, such as nucleic acid purification (DNA/RNA), qPCR, RT-PCR, or UV spectroscopy;
  • Proficiency with MS Office or Google Docs, including spreadsheets (Microsoft Excel or Google sheets);
  • Independent, organized, and efficient at self-directed work; able to work independently in a laboratory environment with minimal supervision;
  • Highly detail-oriented and conscientious;
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to clearly communicate experimental results;
  • Comfortable with giving and receiving frank and honest feedback, including asking for help when needed and quickly raising and resolving interpersonal issues;
  • Willingness to rapidly get up-to-speed on key molecular biology, analytical chemistry, or sequencing techniques.


  • An MS or other higher degree in a relevant field, or equivalent experience; 
  • Experience with library preparation for next-generation sequencing;
  • Familiarity with one scientific programming language (MATLAB, Python, R), including data visualization;
  • Experience working in a BSL-2 or BSL-3 laboratory;
  • Demonstrated ability to synthesize knowledge from scientific literature, especially in areas related to analytical chemistry, microbiology, or sequencing;
  • Experience with cloning expression plasmids.

Apply online job #20978

Application deadline is May 20, 2022

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