Research Assistant I, Laboratory of Plant Biology, Dr. Wolfgang Busch

Salk Institute for Biological Studies
June 12, 2023
Offerd Salary:$18.03-$21
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Negotigation
Working type:N/A
Ref info:N/A
Job Details Description

Job location is at 441 Saxony Road, Encinitas, Ca 92024

The CRoPS project aims to develop crops that sequester more carbon via extensive root systems containing recalcitrant carbon polymers to fight climate change. A major component of this research are field experiments to understand the edaphic or soil factors affecting root traits and root trait- derived soil organic carbon (SOC).

The Field Research Assistant will assist in collecting data in field research operations throughout the United States. This will involve aspects of agronomy, soil science and crop physiology to understand how root traits affect SOC accumulation and stability. The Field Research Assistant will play a key role in organizing, tracking, and processing soil and plant samples from field experiments. Field data collection includes soil coring and root washing, on location, throughout the United States. Sample preparation activities are conducted at Salk facilities and include: milling, grinding, labelling, shipping, and storing soil and plant tissue samples. Sample control activities involve data management and tracking, coordination with collaboration partners and laboratories, and a high skill level of organization and attention to detail. The position will be based in our North San Diego greenhouse/lab location.


1) (60%) Field and Greenhouse Research Operations

  • Assist in field soil sampling
  • Assist in shoot and root tissue sampling including root washing
  • Milling plant tissue samples in preparation for analysis
  • Grinding soil samples in preparation for analysis
  • Labeling, bagging, shipping, and organizing samples for analysis
  • Repetitive sample processing in laboratory
  • Creative input on research design, soil science and agronomy relating to root phenotyping and soil organic carbon cycles.
  • Field work, which includes long hours on feet in inclement weather, physical labor and work around heavy machinery
  • Assist with seed inventory management
  • 2) (30%) Administrative Support

  • Data input
  • Sample tracking on spreadsheet
  • Cleaning and organizing work, lab, and storage space
  • 3) (10%) Compliance to Safety and Environmental Standards

  • Conduct, train and complete experiments with upmost safety protocols and compliance to established SOPs

  • Ensure field operations are compliant with Federal and California environmental regulations



  • No professional experience required with relevant degree
  • Preferred:

  • Minimum of two years of experience assisting in large, controlled experiments
  • Experience in greenhouse or field settings
  • Knowledge of scientific method and controlled experiments
  • Experience in agriculture, plant, soil science, or general biology


  • Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences in an agricultural, plant/soil science, or biological field. Bachelor's degrees in a different discipline and a minimum of 2 years of experience in a scientific role will be considered in lieu.


  • Excel and Microsoft Office
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Knowledge and interest in soil science, agronomy, and carbon cycles
  • Knowledge of laboratory or research setting
  • Knowledge on controlled sampling and data integrity
  • Organized and detail oriented
  • Preferred:

  • Experience participating in large, controlled experiments.
  • The salary range for this position is $18.03-$21.00 an hour


  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Satisfactory completion of the Institute's background investigation.
  • Must be willing to sign a confidentiality agreement

    The incumbent in this position will be constantly adjusting focus, grasping, hearing, keying, seeing, sitting, analyzing, calculating, communicating, reading, reasoning, and writing.

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    Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities

    The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor's legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)

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