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Advanced Microscopy Imaging Fellow

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)
United States, Maryland, Chevy Chase
4000 Jones Bridge Road (Show on map)
September 20, 2022
Primary Work Address: 19700 Helix Drive, Ashburn, VA, 20147 Current HHMI Employees, click here to apply via your Workday account.

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 AIC:

The (AIC) at Janelia Research Campus is a unique, international, open-access microscopy center where emerging, pre-commercial technologies are immediately disseminated to the wider scientific community with minimal delay. The AIC continues to be a nexus where all aspects of biological imaging science, from sample preparation and protocol development to imaging and analysis, are developed and optimized for a broad variety of scientific studies. The AIC is jointly supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


Recent advances have vastly increased the complexity of quantitative microscopy experiments, with many new technologies requiring specialized expertise to operate successfully. This has turned imaging scientists into essential and integral members of any research community. Microscopy facilities are now mostly managed by PhD-level scientists who provide technical consultations on experimental design and sample preparation, as well as user-training on microscope operation. Many of these scientist-managers also have unique opportunities to provide advanced data analysis and apply for instrumentation grants at the federal level. Taken together, core facility management has become one of the fastest growing careers in bioscience. Yet, there is a paucity of positions offering training that integrates technical/scientific guidance with the business and managerial skills needed to run a successful core facility. The latter is an important aspect to which most scientists are not sufficiently exposed in their training.

The Advanced Microscopy Fellowship program is a 2-year term position tailored to address this gap in training. The AIC director and staff will provide training to early career Ph.D. scientists in advanced quantitative microscopy techniques, data handling and image analysis, while also providing key skills needed to manage a large, international core facility. The ideal candidate should have a focused career goal of becoming an integral part of a shared imaging center or bioimage analysis core in the future. The Fellow will learn to provide technical consultation to users in applying appropriate techniques to a wide range of biological specimens, and how to strategize quantitative image analysis approaches. The Fellow also has the opportunity to customize additional training to match their interests. This can include organizing and teaching microscopy lectures and workshops; organizing microscopy discussion groups/journal clubs; developing protocols for testing equipment performance; designing and/or implementing novel or custom image analysis techniques. The Fellow will also have superb opportunities to establish contact with visiting scientists from all over the world, paving the way for a successful career path.

This training experience will include:

  • Providing technical consultation to prospective applicants to the AIC prior to proposal submission.

  • Serving on the Technical Review Panel to review the feasibility and technical justification of the submitted proposals.

  • Collaborating with users to understand the objectives and requirements of their scientific imaging and analysis needs, planning for effective visits to the AIC.

  • Coordinating with Janelia shared resources and other ancillary support divisions to facilitate sample shipments into the AIC.

  • Working hands-on with users to prepare, fix, label, mount, and image samples, often involving multiple iterations of optimization and evaluation.

  • Analyzing samples and approaches to evaluate technical suitability of AIC systems.

  • Preparing application-specific tools and techniques to enable imaging, analysis, and data representation to meet user needs.

  • Operating and maintaining microscopes for the benefit of users.

  • Optimizing microscope configurations for a wide variety of imaging applications and samples.

  • Interpreting microscopy results to propose and perform subsequent experiments and procedures. This will involve a combination of software analysis tools, collaboration with users, and intuition developed through training and experience in biological imaging.

  • Uniquely, fellows will also have the opportunity to design and lead international microscopy workshops and other outreach activities.


  • Ph.D. in Biology, Biochemistry, Optical Physics, Engineering, or related field, or equivalent in education and experience

  • Ability to effectively communicate both remotely and in-person (written and verbal) with AIC users, sharing outcomes of evaluations and experiments, and guiding future efforts to optimize results

  • Experience in image analysis and/or in using one or more of these imaging techniques: super resolution, lightsheet, confocal, and/or electron microscopy

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 site to learn more.

HHMI is an Equal Opportunity Employer
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