Research Scientist, Sr

Job Description



Under the general direction of the Principle Investigator, the Senior Research Scientist performs a variety of complex research experiments laboratory research on topics pertinent to the interests of the research programs of the laboratory.

The Pukkila-Worley Laboratory is seeking for a highly motivated and creative individual to join us in investigating conserved mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions in the intestine. Specifically, our lab focuses on three broad questions:

1.How are bacteria sensed by the innate immune system? This project [R01 AI130289: funding period 2017-2027], the renewal of which received a score in the 2nd percentile (March 2022), focuses on characterizing the role of a specialized type of transcription factor called nuclear hormone receptors in the sensing of metabolites derived from a pathogenic bacteria during infection — a totally new mechanism of pathogen sensing and immune activation.
2.How does metabolism affect the ability of a host to survive infection? Funded by a new R01 award [R01 AI159159: funding period 2021-2026], which received a score in the 1st percentile in June 2021, we are defining the links between energy sufficiency and the activation of protective immune defenses that are essential to survive infection. Specifically, this project dives into the mechanics of the p38 MAP kinase innate immune pathway to figure out how protective immune defenses are activated in response to pathogen-induced changes in host metabolism
3.How do neurons control inflammation in the intestine? Under a newly funded R21 [R21 AI163430: funding period 2021-2023], we are characterizing sensory neurons that regulate intestinal immune responses — a window into so-called gut-brain-microbiome axis that is not well understood, but is essential for innate immune homeostasis.

Productive scientists will have the opportunity to be promoted to Instructor or Assistant Professor (non-tenure track) at UMass Chan Medical School


*Design and implement experiments designed to further ongoing research projects, in consultation with the principal investigator.
*Organize and analyze data acquired in the course of research projects.
*Write manuscripts and grant applications
*Design and implement research projects in the laboratory
*Responsible for data acquisition, data analysis, and presentation of research results.
*Train and supervise junior lab personnel, ensuring staff is trained in current methodology and safety procedures in the laboratory.
*Prepare and present data for publication in public forums.
*Assist in the preparation of grant applications and other research proposals.
*Provide assistance in the general operation of the laboratory.
*Participate regularly in laboratory meetings.
*Stay current with the literature and regularly leads discussions of new reports pertinent to ongoing and proposed projects
*Perform other duties as required.



*Bachelor’s degree in a Biological Science, or equivalent degree
*7 years of research experience.
*Familiarity with general laboratory procedures.
*Expertise in specific procedures and instrumentation necessary to complete specific research programs.
*Current knowledge of pertinent literature.
*Oral and written communication and presentation skills
*Ability to travel to off-site locations


*A Ph.D. or M.D. (or equivalent) and a post-doctoral research training experience
*Evidence of previous scientific scholarship, specifically the publication of original research articles in peer reviewed journals as first author.


Under the general direction of the Principle Investigator


Supervises and trains new laboratory personnel and junior members of the laboratory


Wet chemistry laboratory, and may require appropriate contact with biohazards, radionuclides, toxins, animals, and human specimens.