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Research Associate - Pelka Lab

Gladstone Institutes
San Francisco, CA
Start date
Apr 14, 2024

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Regulatory, Science/R&D, Research, Laboratory
Required Education
Associate Degree
Position Type
Full time
Biotech Bay

Job Details

Lab/Area:Pelka Lab


We are recruiting a Research Associate (RA) to assist with our efforts to systematically dissect multicellular interaction networks in human tumors to improve immunotherapy. Our lab is part of the joint Gladstone-UCSF Institute of Genomic Immunology. Our goal is to better understand how immune, stromal, and malignant cells are working together in complex human tissues to sense danger, initiate, execute, and terminate customized defense mechanisms, and re-establish homeostasis. We are especially interested in innate immune mechanisms that set the stage for whether or not anti-tumor responses are successful. Our work is based on our single cell RNA sequencing and spatial profiling efforts that revealed several immunologically relevant and spatially-organized multicellular interaction networks, ‘immune hubs’, in tumor tissues from patients with colorectal cancer (Pelka et al. Cell 2021, Tian et al. Nat Med 2023, Chen et al. BioRxiv 2023). The next step is to decode the intercellular communication pathways within and between immune hubs to learn how the hubs form, how they function, how they evolve over time, and how pre-existing hubs impact future immune responses. To this end, we will perform high-throughput and high-content CRISPR-based perturbation screens in human ex vivo and mouse in vivo models and draw from the patient-derived tissue and organoid resources that we have built. Our work has the potential to reveal fundamental rules of tumor and tissue immunology, identify biomarkers of response, and discover novel drug targets to improve immunotherapy.

The RA will work in one or several of the four key areas in the lab, namely (1) Spatial profiling of immune hubs in patient specimens; (2) Human ex vivo cell-cell interaction screens (3); Mouse in vivo cell interaction screens; (4) Characterizing the epigenetic impact of immune hubs on malignant cells. Depending on the area, the project will involve working with primary tumors, human patient-derived organoids and cell lines, or transplantable tumor mouse models. Methods will include tissue culture, flow cytometry, single cell and spatial transcriptomics, droplet-based technologies, and genetic perturbation using CRISPR. This position is ideal for highly motivated applicants who are looking for an opportunity to further develop their wet and dry lab skills, gain knowledge in immunology, tumor biology, gene editing, single cell and spatial technologies, and aim to eventually drive their own independent research projects. The RA will be embedded in the dynamic and vibrant research community of the Gladstone-UCSF Institute of Genomic Immunology with ample of training and career development opportunities.

Please submit your complete application documents including CV and references.

Required Qualifications:

  • Associate's degree and 2+ years of relevant experience

  • BA/BS degree and one or more years of laboratory experience utilizing techniques or methods required by the position; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

  • Experience with general laboratory techniques, especially basic molecular and cellular biology techniques (including but not limited to mammalian cell culture, DNA and RNA isolation, PCR, immunohistochemistry, DNA assembly, bacterial transformation)

  • Basic Python or R knowledge

  • Highly self-motivated, reliable and responsible.

  • Excellent organizational and interpersonal communication skills (verbal and written)

  • Willingness and ability to learn new methods and skills for changing research priorities

  • Ability to work independently and as a member of a research team

  • Excellent organization and time management skills

  • Attention to detail in experimental techniques and record keeping.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Prior experience with DNA sequencing technologies

  • Prior experience with next-generation sequencing library preparation and quality control

  • Prior experience with flow cytometry

  • Prior experience with transplantable tumor models in mice

  • Quantitative data analysis skills highly desirable

Hiring Range:


$25.70/hr($53,456) - $30.24/hr ($62,889)


$66,560 - $78K

Gladstone Perks & Benefits

  • People–work with talented, committed, and supportive teammates within an organization that values each member of its community.

  • A meaningful place to grow and learn–whether it’s your professional skills or scientific knowledge, we have the resources and environment to advance either so you can better support Gladstone’s mission to drive a new era of discovery in disease-oriented science and to mentor tomorrow’s leaders in an inspiring and diverse environment.

  • Healthy work/life balance–you are highly engaged and productive at work because you can have time to recharge and enjoy a vibrant life outside of work.

  • Compensation–competitive salary. Title and salary will be commensurate with education and experience.

  • Excellent benefits–generous medical, dental, vision, retirement plan, paid vacation, commuter benefits, access to free shuttle transportation.

​Gladstone is committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, medical condition, physical or mental disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other non-job related characteristic. We make all employment decisions so as to further this principle of equal employment.


Gladstone is an independent, nonprofit life science research organization located in the epicenter of biomedical and technological innovation in the San Francisco Bay Area. Gladstone has created a research model that disrupts how science is done, funds big ideas, and attracts the brightest minds. Gladstone Institutes leads the way for innovative research in the biomedical field. We always seek dedicated and talented individuals to join our team.

Scientists know that using a diversity of approaches is often the most efficient strategy for solving a problem. New and different perspectives engender the very innovation that Gladstone prizes. This is one of the many reasons why we value diversity at Gladstone—be that a diversity of race, culture, religion, mental or physical ability, heritage, age, gender, sexual orientation or other characteristics. Our employees hail from more than 30 countries around the globe and we seek to hire the best and brightest for our diverse team of scientists and administrators. Career opportunities are available in both our administrative offices and our research areas.

Our Benefits
Gladstone offers eligible employees—and their dependents—a comprehensive range of benefits, including health insurance, retirement savings, and professional development.


  • Health and Retirement
    • A choice of medical plans, flexible spending account, and retirement account options that include employer contributions help you take care of your health and your future.
  • Time Away from Work
    • More than just vacation days, our paid and unpaid leave policies offer flexibility to help you confront different stages of life including maternity and paternity leave, as well as other types of family leave.
  • Professional Development
    • Gladstone encourages employees to seek the skills they need to remain at the forefront of their profession. By supporting professional development workshops and continuing education, Gladstone provides employees with the resources they need to evolve in their role and in their career.
  • Gladstone Cares
    • A specially selected suite of benefits to support you in and out of the workplace. Includes resources for dealing with the many stages of life to specific coverage for family planning, and back-up child or elder care coverage.
Company info
1650 Owens Street
San Francisco

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