Research Associate

Job Description

Research Associate Position Available

Investigating RNA Dysregulation in Neurological Disease in Drosophila

Morton lab, University of Southern California

A Research Associate position is available in Derrick Mortonís lab at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. We are looking for a talented, creative, highly motivated, and collaborative colleague who is excited about using cutting-edge molecular and transcriptomic approaches in Drosophila to understand how defects in ubiquitous post-transcriptional machinery critical for RNA metabolism cause tissue-specific phenotypes including neuronal dysfunction. Specifically, the project will investigate how the RNA exosome, a post-transcriptional ribonuclease complex, regulates RNAs that are critical for proper neuronal development and function.

The Morton lab adopts a highly interdisciplinary approach that combines several traditionally distinct disciplines to study molecular mechanisms that underlie human brain development and disease including: RNA biology, neuroscience, and genetics (RNA in the regulation of gene expression, molecular neurogenetics, and classical genetic screens); in vivo and human in vitro model systems (Drosophila and human iPSC-derived brain organoids); transcriptomic approaches (bulk and sn/scRNA-seq); electrophysiology (microelectrode arrays); and confocal live imaging (Ca2+ signaling and metabolic imaging using FLIM). The Morton lab has developed both a Drosophila and hiPSC-derived cerebellar organoid model of a neurodevelopmental disease termed Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia (PCH). PCH is a group of heterogenous recessive neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by defective development of the brainstem and cerebellar structures.


Candidates must possess a Ph.D. or equivalent degree in Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Genomics, or related fields, and must have at least 1 year of postdoctoral research experience. In addition, the candidate must have strong communication skills and publications utilizing Drosophila that indicate a track record of previous accomplishment. Expertise in RNA biology and/or genomic technologies is preferred but not required. Candidates with prior training in Drosophila genetics, bioinformatic analysis (e.g., RNA-seq) and/or RNA-FISH are especially welcome.

Salary range: The annual base salary range for this position is $65,000 - $66,000. When extending an offer of employment, the University of Southern California considers factors such as (but not limited to) the scope and responsibilities of the position, the candidateís work experience, education/training, key skills, internal peer equity, federal, state and local laws, contractual stipulations, grant funding, as well as external market and organizational considerations.

This is a grant funded position.

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.

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

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

Minimum Education: Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate Minimum Experience: 1 year Minimum Field of Expertise: Directly related education and experience in research specialization with advanced knowledge of equipment, procedures and analysis methods.

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