Oregon Health & Science University

Assistant Staff Scientist

Job Locations US-OR-Portland
Requisition ID
Position Category
Position Type
Regular Full-Time
Job Type
Knight Cancer Institute, Knight Diagnostic Laboratories
Salary Range
Commensurate with experience and internal equity
HR Mission
School of Medicine
Drug Testable

Department Overview

The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, known as one of the pioneers in personalized cancer medicine, is an international leader in research and cancer treatment. Driven by its mission to end cancer as we know it, the institute is building upon its expertise in targeted treatments to advance the early detection of cancer when the disease is most treatable.

With decades of academic laboratory experience in diagnostic molecular pathology, the Knight Diagnostic Laboratories deliver advanced diagnostic testing to make personalized medicine a reality.

Specializing in designing, validating, and delivering cutting edge assays for oncology, the laboratories are CLIA certified and CAP accredited.  Our large ever-expanding menu of molecular diagnostic assays, with a particular focus on next-generation sequencing, directly informs the clinical care of oncology patients, contributes to translational and clinical research projects with academic and private sector collaborators, and is the basis for our ACGME-accredited molecular genetic pathology educational program.

We seek an experienced laboratory scientist to lead the complex process of new clinical/translational assay development from project inception and scoping through clinical validation and troubleshooting, including: assessment/prioritization of clinical utility, assay design (using local and national informatics resources), sample selection, data manipulation/analysis/cleaning, laboratory validation, protocol creation, technology transfer to technical staff, quality improvement, and troubleshooting. This individual must be able to work independently and with our team of lab scientists, bioinformaticists, and molecular pathologists to create, manipulate and analyze large complex data sets and interpret their clinical relevance. The ideal candidate will be expected to both work hands-on at the wet lab bench performing new and traditional lab assays (with an emphasis on next-generation sequencing) and also at the computer developing, creating, analyzing, and manipulating the analysis “pipeline” for the new assays. Formal programming/informatics training will be helpful, but not necessary, as an on-site team of informatics specialists will be available for training/consultation. The routine interpretive assistance tools will be bioinformatics programming (public, self-designed, and proprietary), comprehensive medical literature searches, online genomic databases (COSMIC, etc), KDL’s in-house genomic database, and a variety of NGS variant interpretive software tools. The routine work products will be 1) cleaned, coded data sets of patient-derived samples assessed by new genomic assays and annotated with other clinical and laboratory data; 2) validation summaries and standard operating procedures (including research papers and grants) for new clinical assay development projects; and 3) detailed descriptions / programs for new assay analysis methods.

Opportunities for participation in research projects/grants/papers will be plentiful. This individual will be located within OHSU Knight Diagnostic Laboratories and will report to the Laboratory Directors. For the laboratory scientist with experience in with both hands-on wet lab experimentation and computer–based data manipulation /analysis, assay design/validation (NGS-based), this position will be a great opportunity to become a key contributor to our unique environment at the intersection of patient care and translational research.

Function/Duties of Position

1. Every Knight Cancer employee is expected to embody our guiding principles:

  • We act BOLDLY—Breakthroughs require pushing the boundaries of science, exploring new frontiers, and thinking differently
  • We SUPPORT each other—Respect leads to trust, which leads to excellence
  • We work as a CONNECTED team — We must leverage our collective brain power to conquer cancer because no one individual can do it alone

2. Develop new assays (NGS and non-NGS) for eventual clinical/translational use in KDL (concept design, sample selection, lab validation, data analysis/manipulation/interpretation/cleaning)

3. Develop and validate data analysis methods for new assays

4. Be part of the leadership team that develops/validates/troubleshoots new KDL assays

5. Plan, execute, analyze, and write up results for research projects

6. Mentor/train/teach/troubleshoot with other lab members (fellows, residents, technologists, faculty)

Required Qualifications

Education and Experience:

  • Doctoral degree in biological sciences with major courses in relevant genomics-based fields
  • 3 years of practical post-doctoral lab experience with complex biological samples/assays

Job Related Knowledge:

  • Ability to prioritize multiple tasks at one time
  • Must have excellent communication, analytical and organizational skills:  both written and verbal
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team while being collaborative in resolving problems
  • Must be proficient with computers running Windows and PC applications (e.g. MS Excel, Word, PowerPoint) and other advances data analysis tools/software
  • Must be able to learn (and create) new software tools/pipelines for analyzing/manipulating new assay data

Preferred Qualifications

Education & Experience:

  • Ph.D. with both wet lab and data analysis/programming experience
  • NGS /genomics experience preferred, including strong computational skills with computer programming
  • Experience in a clinical diagnostic lab environment optimal (not required)
  • In depth understanding of cancer genomics, NGS, and variant interpretation; PUBMED literature review, NGS variant interpretive software tools; design of NGS assays.
  • Familiarity with cancer, population, and gene/variant databases, in silico predictive algorithms, and structural variation tools
  • Computer programming an added benefit (not required)

Additional Details

Please submit a resume and cover letter for your application to be considered. 

Please note: As of Oct. 18, 2021, all OHSU employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Fully vaccinated means you have received both doses of a two-dose, or one dose of a single-dose, FDA- or WHO-authorized COVID-19 vaccine and at least 14 days have passed since your final dose of COVID-19 vaccine. If you apply for and are offered a position, you must be fully vaccinated prior to starting work.

If the position you are offered does not require direct, in-person patient care contact, you may request an exception to the vaccine policy for medical or religious reasons. OHSU uses very narrow criteria under the law to allow an exception and very few requests are being approved.



All are welcome

Oregon Health & Science University values a diverse and culturally competent workforce. We are proud of our commitment to being an equal opportunity, affirmative action organization that does not discriminate against applicants on the basis of any protected class status, including disability status and protected veteran status. Individuals with diverse backgrounds and those who promote diversity and a culture of inclusion are encouraged to apply. To request reasonable accommodation contact the Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Department at 503-494-5148 or aaeo@ohsu.edu.

As an organization devoted to the health and well-being of people in Oregon and beyond, OHSU requires its employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.


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