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Research Specialist, Two Photon Imaging

Howard Hughes Medical Institute
San Diego, California
Competitive salary plus benefits
Closing date
Jun 5, 2022
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We are currently seeking a Research Technician to join the lab of Dr. Scott Sternson at The University of California, San Diego.  The Sternson lab’s research investigates how the brain controls appetite.  They study multiple circuits throughout the brain as well as the interactions between neural systems that mediate hunger, thirst, and stress.  Critical to this effort, the lab develops cutting-edge deep-brain calcium imaging methods that are integrated with spatial transcriptomic techniques to build a rigorous, systematic framework for the cellular and molecular components of the entire sequence of appetite behaviors (food-seeking, consumption, satiety).  Their goal is to use these detailed molecular and cellular models of appetite to develop mechanism-based treatment strategies for obesity and other neurological disorders. More information can be found on their website.

This role will be integral to the functioning of the lab and will assist the ongoing research focused on in vivo Two Photon imaging.  In partnership with other researchers in the lab, in this role you will manage two photon microscopes and perform live animal neural dynamics data collection. 

We are looking for a self-driven individual who is eager to learn and absorb the nuances of imaging within the Sternson Lab and expand on their current skillset. 



  • Manage two photon microscopes

  • Work with collaborators and vendors to make technical improvements to microscopes

  • Conduct live animal neural dynamics data collection using microscopes

  • Perform basic programming of behavior control systems integrated with microscopes

  • Analyze imaging data and interpret results

  • Work both independently and collaboratively with other team members to support the science of the lab

    • Potential for contributions to scientific publications.



  • Master’s degree in Biology or a related field, or equivalent education and experience

    • PhD preferred but not required

  • Extensive experience with two photon microscopy

  • Prior experience with in vivo imaging using two photon microscopy

  • Programming experience a strong plus

  • 1-5 years previous experience working in a hands-on research lab

  • Ability to work both independently and in a team setting

  • Good organizational and analytical skills, excellent fine motor skills, and strong attention to detail

  • Ability to follow protocols and maintain a detailed laboratory notebook.

  • Willingness to learn

  • Knowledge of ImageJ


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).

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. 


HHMI is an Equal Opportunity Employer

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