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Research Specialist, FIB-SEM Imaging

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)
United States, Maryland, Chevy Chase
4000 Jones Bridge Road (Show on map)
November 17, 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.

Janelia Research Campus is a unique institute that has Shared Resources (SR) and service groups that augment the efforts of the research labs and Project Teams, providing access to specialized equipment and expertise that is shared between groups and offering laboratory and technology-based services which allow Janelia researchers to focus on new horizons and challenging unanswered questions.

About the Role:

The Enhanced FIB-SEM (eFIB-SEM) Imaging SR seeks a candidate for a Research Specialist position. The role involves trimming resin-embedded samples, acquiring micro-computed tomography (-CT) volumes, sample coating and loading them onto the FIB-SEM, and collaborating with computational teams (SciComp) to stitch and align images for volume electron microscopy reconstructions. The ideal candidate should have a strong background in electron microscopy and computing and excellent organizational and communication skills to work effectively with the Electron Microscopy SR team and ensure a steady flow of samples. If you are passionate about electron microscopy and computing, we encourage you to apply!

About eFIB-SEM:

The eFIB-SEM Imaging SR at HHMI's Janelia Research Campus leverages instruments optimized by the Hess Lab that has been an enabling technology in connectomics and cell biology by generating volume EM images of large sample sizes over unprecedented run times. The eFIB-SEM Imaging SR facilitates researchers' analysis of biological samples ranging from small animals, organs, and tissues to cultured cells. Our SR hosts eight state-of-the-art FIB-SEM systems and other instruments for sample preparation.

What We Provide:

  • A competitive compensation package, with comprehensive health and welfare benefits.

  • A supportive team environment that promotes collaboration and knowledge sharing

  • The opportunity to engage with world-class researchers and software engineers, contribute to impactful science, and be part of a dynamic community committed to advancing humanity's understanding of fundamental scientific questions.

  • Amenities that enhance work-life balance such as on-site childcare, a free gym, on-campus housing, social and dining spaces, and convenient shuttle bus service.

What You'll Do:

  • Work closely with users and collaborators to plan and execute experiments safely and effectively trim samples.

  • Produce high-quality, ready-to-image samples and high-quality micrographs, if required.

  • Analyze, align, review and discuss experimental results.

  • Optimize experimental procedures and protocols.

  • Participate in or initiate method development and train users of different expertise levels.

  • Assist users as needed.

  • Operate, maintain, and troubleshoot FIB-SEM electron microscopy instruments as well as computers; manage the laboratory environment and ensure its safety and cleanliness; participate in billing and other administrative duties;

  • Properly handle various samples, maintain reagents and lab supplies, and transfer and maintain experimental data.

  • Create research reports for large audiences

What You Bring:

  • Master of Science degree in biological imaging or biological science or an appropriate field of science or technology; or an equivalent combination of education and related work experience.

  • Minimum of 3 years of expertise in EM bio-sample preparation methods such as chemical fixation, high-pressure freezing, freeze substitution, resin embedding, sectioning, imaging and analysis experience preferred

  • Experience in digital imaging and image processing software is a strong plus.

  • Strong expertise with Python, LabView and other programming languages

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills, including mastery of written and spoken English for practical technical discussions and user training.

  • Passion for collaborating in an open and mutually respectful team environment; working professionally with users and peers from a diverse population and a wide range of experience levels.

  • Experience working with biological organs, tissues and cultured cells.

  • Motivation to develop/test new methods/techniques, learn new tools/technologies, take on new challenges, and work in a supervised and unsupervised environment. Good knowledge and practical skills with computers and networks.

  • Ability to make clear commitments and meet them

  • Skill in making informed decisions through experience and knowledge

  • In-depth knowledge of multiple scientific areas and the underlying principles and concepts.

  • Ability to critically review information and readily understand new concepts

  • Ability to develop innovative processes to achieve goals and review work activities to determine where further information could improve processes or move projects forward.

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). Work may involve possible exposure to malodorous vapors, low dose radiation, contamination by toxic chemicals and acids and presence of carcinogenic substances or other hazardous materials.

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

$78,870.00 (minimum) - $98,500.00 (midpoint) - $128,040.00 (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.

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