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Director, Molecular Genomics

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)
United States, Maryland, Chevy Chase
4000 Jones Bridge Road (Show on map)
February 24, 2023
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.


The Janelia Research Campus of HHMI is looking for an experienced and highly motivated leader in the field of molecular biology and genomics. This position will provide direction and leadership to three shared resource departments: Quantitative Genomics, Molecular Biology, and Viral Tools. These departments are instrumental in supporting research labs that develop molecular tools for cell based and in-vivo studies, study how the brain enables flexible behavior, and study how cells work and communicate across scales to build and maintain organs and organisms. The ideal candidate will have a master's degree (PhD preferred) in a biological science with at least ten years of molecular biology experience, including both classic and state of the art techniques, such as CRISPR and other modern gene editing methods across a variety of cells, tissues, and organisms. These include, but are not limited to DNA preps, cloning, library preps, Sanger sequencing, next generation sequencing, single cell sequencing, spatial transcriptomics, and corresponding quality control bioinformatic analysis of results. Candidates must have at least five years of department level management experience, including developing budgets, setting rates for services provided, and direct management of personnel.


The Director will develop and implement a strategic plan and vision that increases coordination, improves outcomes of services provided, and provides opportunity for team and individual growth and development for these shared resources. The director will perform a variety of highly skilled and precision functions in a dynamic, interactive environment, collaborating with other shared resources leaders, scientific research staff at Janelia, and HHMI researchers. The director will lead and support managers, supervisors, research specialists, and research technicians within all three departments. The director is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the facilities and ancillary equipment, staff and user training, and the development, implementation, and continuous improvement of services provided to researchers.

All Janelia Shared Resource Managers must deliver Outstanding Customer Service which includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Approaching projects and deadlines with a "can-do" attitude

  • Practicing problem resolution and working toward solutions that are mutually satisfactory

  • Providing responsive, timely follow-up

  • Being responsible for one's own actions and taking responsibility for overall operation of the facility and equipment

  • Recognizing the unique elements of the Janelia culture and performing all responsibilities in a manner that fits into that culture

  • Approaching tasks with team spirit dedicated to enabling the scientific mission of the Janelia Research Campus

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Maintain and contribute to the state of the art, attending meetings and conferences, and staying abreast of literature in the molecular biology, sequencing, and gene editing fields, and applying this to sample prep, data collection, and analysis processes.

  • Oversee repair work and manage major service contracts for facility.

  • Train new staff and users in the operation of equipment where appropriate. This will require the manager to be an expert in the equipment and its use and have an effective training program to rapidly bring new users up to speed.

  • Working independently or in support of facility users, perform expert data collection, processing, and analysis tasks.

  • Implement, utilize, and maintain user policies, scheduling systems and booking mechanisms.

  • Develop and maintain procedures to allow users to initiate and track the status of requests, including appropriate methods and metrics for quality control and success rates.

  • Develop and maintain budgets and chargeback rates, ensuring expenditures and chargebacks are in line with the services provided and expectations for cost recovery.

  • Implement a web page and forum for informational updates and user discussions.

  • Work with key stakeholders, including users, staff, and Janelia leadership to effectively manage and communicate priorities amongst the various users.

  • Implement new tools, techniques, software, and hardware as they become available and as appropriate to user needs.

  • Work closely with other Scientific Operations (SciOps) managers to enable scientific workflows across multiple shared resources.

  • Ensure services provided by the department staff meet high standards of scientific rigor with appropriate quality control.

  • Ensure data produced from services by the department staff is of high quality and efficiently transferred to requesters.

  • Presents oral and written reports concerning the progress of projects and services. This will include the assembly, organization, and interpretation of data.

  • Develop, track, and report metrics and quality control measures to evaluate the success and opportunities to improve departmental services.

  • Performs other duties as assigned.


  • This position has responsibility for preparing and operating the facility within its approved budget.

  • Will supervise staff, including research technicians, research specialist, team supervisors, senior scientists, and/or department managers.

  • May supervise outside contractors related to equipment installation, and repair.

Preferred Qualifications:


  • Masters (Ph.D. preferred) in Molecular Biology, Genetics, Genome Engineering, or equivalent.


  • 10 years' experience in the field of Molecular Biology or Genetics.

  • 5 years' experience supervising staff and managing budgets.

  • In-depth knowledge of all aspects of classical and modern molecular biology and genome engineering techniques, spanning a variety of cell types and organisms.

  • Experience working with, using, and analyzing NGS sequencing data, including data from both short- and long-read platforms.

  • Knowledge of the viral vector production process is a plus.

  • Experience working in an active laboratory environment and working with cutting-edge scientific technology/equipment.

Skills and Abilities:

  • Proven managerial ability to provide direction to staff in accomplishing goals and objectives, and to maintain core facility activities with respect to established procedures and guidelines. Proven ability to hire, train, supervise, and evaluate staff.

  • Excellent customer service and interpersonal skills, including tact, good judgment, diplomacy, and flexibility to relate to a diverse group of scientific research staff, faculty, executive management, administrative staff, and external contracts.

  • Ability to perform and guide routine and highly complex experiments and techniques with high levels of reliability, while meeting time and budget constraints.

  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and through a team, to prioritize work and manage multiple, diverse, and competing priorities while meeting deadlines.

  • Demonstrated experience with budgets and financial functions including accounting and budgeting skills. Ability to develop and monitor budget data, including setting rates for the services provided.

  • Ability to track time, usage, and effort, for the purpose of charging user departments for facility services.

  • Strong verbal communications skills to effectively understand or interpret technical requests and/or problems conveyed by others and respond accordingly.

  • Ability to resolve issues quickly and make decisions in a collaborative culture.

  • Knowledge of analysis algorithms and proficiency in the use of common data processing packages.

  • Good working knowledge of scripting, computer programming and compiling of software a plus.

  • Ability to utilize, customize, and specify improvements to instrument system software applications.

  • Ability to review goals, analyze processes necessary to achieve those goals, and develop techniques and systems required to meet those goals. Often explores new areas and seeks opportunities to apply new knowledge to work.

  • Ability to provide equipment users with a safe work environment.

  • Demonstrated enthusiasm for challenging problems and innovative solutions.

  • Must be organized, and able to clearly document work.

  • Detail oriented.

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.

Compensation Range

$149,787.20 (minimum) - $187,234.00 (midpoint) - $243,404.20 (maximum)

Pay Type:


HHMI's salary structure is developed based on relevant job market data. HHMI considers a candidate's education, previous experiences, knowledge, skills and abilities, as well as internal equity when making job offers. Typically, a new hire for this position in this location is compensated between the minimum and the midpoint of the salary range.