Research Associate (PREP0001642)

This position is part of the National Institute of Standards (NIST) Professional Research Experience (PREP) program. NIST recognizes that its research staff may wish to collaborate with researchers at academic institutions on specific projects of mutual interest, thus requires that such institutions must be the recipient of a PREP award. The PREP program requires staff from a wide range of backgrounds to work on scientific research in many areas. Employees in this position will perform technical work that underpins the scientific research of the collaboration.

The Biosystems and Biomaterials Division at NIST is seeking to hire a laboratory automation scientist or engineer. The person hired for this position will help to lead the development of automation-based methods to create a measurement infrastructure for engineering biology. They will work with a multidisciplinary team to develop and program new automation methods and to facilitate rapid and flexible adoption of automation systems for a variety of biological measurements.

The work will entail...

Key responsibilities will include but are not limited to:

  • Perform programming, setup, execution, and training of automated growth and measurement protocols.
  • Troubleshoot and resolve issues that arise with liquid handling equipment and other general laboratory equipment.
  • Maintain a basic working knowledge of microbiology or cell biology.
  • Protocols will include microbial growth, flow cytometry, DNA extraction, and sequencing library preparation.
  • Interact with team members with multidisciplinary backgrounds including biologists, engineers, statisticians, and computer scientists to facilitate protocol development.
  • Keep consistent documentation and assist with preparing technical publications.
  • Demonstrate problem-solving skills, and the ability to identify, manage, and overcome technical hurdles.


  • Bachelors, masters, or PhD. in engineering, biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, or related field
  • Experience working with laboratory automation systems
  • Experience operating and developing methods for automated liquid handling systems
  • Ability to troubleshoot and resolve issues that arise with liquid handling equipment and other general laboratory equipment
  • Experience with programming languages used for scientific data analysis, including, for example, Python, R, MatLab
  • Basic working knowledge of microbiology or cell biology
  • Demonstrated problem-solving skills, and the ability to identify, manage, and overcome technical hurdles
  • Good communications, laboratory, and organizational skills; the ability to work independently and with a multi-disciplinary team
Please include an up to date CV and cover letter

Privacy Act Statement

Authority: 15 U.S.C. § 278g-1(e)(1) and (e)(3) and 15 U.S.C. § 272(b) and (c)

Purpose: The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) hosts the Professional Research Experience Program (PREP) which is designed to provide valuable laboratory experience and financial assistance to undergraduates, post-bachelor’s degree holders, graduate students, master’s degree holders, postdocs, and faculty.

PREP is a 5-year cooperative agreement between NIST laboratories and participating PREP Universities to establish a collaborative research relationship between NIST and U.S. institutions of higher education in the following disciplines including (but may not be limited to) biochemistry, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, engineering, electronics, materials science, mathematics, nanoscale science, neutron science, physical science, physics, and statistics. This collection of information is needed to facilitate administrative functions of the PREP Program.

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