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Duke University

Job Description

This Position is Grant Funded

School of Medicine Established in 1930, Duke University School of Medicine is the youngest of the nation's top medical schools. Ranked sixth among medical schools in the nation, the School takes pride in being an inclusive community of outstanding learners, investigators, clinicians, and staff where interdisciplinary collaboration is embraced and great ideas accelerate translation of fundamental scientific discoveries to improve human health locally and around the globe. Composed of more than 2,500 faculty physicians and researchers, more than 1,300 students, and more than 6,000 staff, the Duke University School of Medicine along with the Duke University School of Nursing, Duke University Health System and the Private Diagnostic Clinic (PDC) comprise Duke Health. a world-class academic medical center. The Health System encompasses Duke University Hospital, Duke Regional Hospital, Duke Raleigh Hospital, Duke Primary Care, Duke Home and Hospice, Duke Health and Wellness, and multiple affiliations.

Research Scientist

Acharya Lab

Division of Structural Biology, Duke Human Vaccine Institute

Structural Biology Core, Duke Center for HIV Structural Biology

The Acharya Lab in the DHVI Division of Structural Biology and Duke Center for HIV Structural Biology seeks an expert Electron Microscopist/Cryo-ET Specialist to lead and support operations in single particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET). We study structures of viral glycoproteins, their interactions with host molecules and role in viral entry. Working at the interface of basic and translational research, we collaborate with research groups in DHVI and beyond to apply insights from structural biology to vaccine design. We have state-of-the-art facilities that include tissue culture labs, FPLCs, X-ray crystallography robots, a biophysics suite that includes a Biacore T200, Octet Red 384, ITC, DSC, a plate reader for high-throughput absorbance and fluorescence assays, Leica EM GP2 and other equipment for cryo-EM grid preparation. A Tundra cryo-TEM will be installed in the lab in spring 2023 to provide a seamless interface from biochemistry to electron microscopy specimen preparation. We have regular access to a Titan Krios microscope equipped with a Gatan K3 camera at Duke University for high resolution cryo-EM and cryo-ET. This position will focus on structural determination of viral envelope and fusion proteins in their native environments and will involve close collaborations with virology and immunology labs to understand the functional implications of the structural findings.

Specific Duties and Responsibilities

  • Perform structural determination using electron microscopy techniques of soluble and membrane-bound fusion proteins and their complexes with receptor and antibodies, and other biomolecules of relevance in health and disease. Tasks include but are not limited to:
    • Perform protein purification, biochemistry and specimen preparation.
    • Image samples, screen grids, collect, analyze, and interpret data.
    • Identify and review literature pertinent to projects.
    • Update and maintain laboratory notebooks and databases.
    • Prepare reports and manuscripts.
    • Publish/present findings in peer-reviewed journals.
    • Participate in the development, management, and execution of projects.
    • Attend and participate in national and international scientific conferences.
  • Actively participate in overseeing EM data collection as well as further scaling the electron microscopy pipeline.
  • Participate in multi-disciplinary teams and manage and develop collaborations.
  • Train/advise on techniques and equipment operation and working with team members and guide researchers in the preparation of cryogenic specimens, data collection and structure solution.
  • Supervise (either formally or informally) staff or students as needed, including oversight and direction on techniques, as well as consultation on project work. Oversee and mentor junior staff members and provide them with assistance during sample preparation and data collection.
  • Serve as a technical resource for other research staff.
  • Participate in curriculum development and workshop planning.
  • Participate in the maintenance of the Tundra cryo-TEM and associated equipment, including overseeing alignments and data collection, maintaining accurate logs for microscope performance and usage, interfacing with vendors, Duke facility staff and IT.
  • Liaison with the cryo-EM team at the Shared Materials and Instrumentation Facility for data collection on the Duke Krios and Duke Tundra.
  • Evaluate quality of data obtained by users and provide advice on strategies to improve data quality.
  • Optimize and implement data collection strategies for higher throughput and improved resolution.
  • Be familiar with lab safety infrastructure, monitor and report safety considerations as needed.

Min Degree Requirements:  Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate (e.g., Sc.D., M.D., D.V.M.).
Other Credential/Experiential Requirements:  5 + years of postdoctoral level experience conducting scientific research and significant hands-on experience with Cryo-electron microscopy (single particle analysis and cryo-electron tomography). Multiple publications and notable significant contributions to scientific research.

Duke is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual's age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Duke aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas—an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values.

Essential Physical Job Functions: Certain jobs at Duke University and Duke University Health System may include essentialjob functions that require specific physical and/or mental abilities. Additional information and provision for requests for reasonable accommodation will be provided by each hiring department.

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