MD Anderson Cancer Center Sr Research Assistant, Experimental Radiation Oncology in Houston, Texas

The Senior Research Assistant in the department of Experimental Radiation Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center provides technical and coordination skills in carrying out various research projects.

The Senior Research Assistant coordinates and conducts experiments and carries out research projects in varied areas of chemistry, biology, physics and other biomedical, dental or related basic science areas. This individual constructs, assembles, and operates laboratory apparatus and equipment; reads literature and confers with superiors regarding new procedures and modifies them according to the needs of the project; and records and evaluates data obtained in accordance with requested methods.

The goals of the researchers in this lab within Experimental Radiation Oncology are to provide novel strategies to decrease the treatment related toxicities and increase the treatment outcomes of patients with prostate cancer or head and neck cancers through innovative clinical and laboratory research. The investigations involve many of the most promising new technologies in radiotherapy, including particle therapy, MRI guided radiotherapy and the combinations of molecularly-targeted agents currently known. This team emphasizes rigorous study conduct and impeccable study design. Many of the studies have been developed through cooperative group mechanisms.

This position will conduct cell or tumor irradiation and will involve the possibility of work during weekends or late hours as needed.

Salary Range

Minimum: $39,200 Midpoint: $49,000 Maximum: $58,800

Key Functions

  1. Tissue Culture
  • Maintain and establish culture of human and murine cells, which require rigorous sterile techniques. Observe and identify cell changes under the microscope, determine cell counts and cell viability.

  • Prepare sterile media and solutions.

  • Purify cells by various methods and monitor cells for proliferation and activation by standard laboratory methods.

  • Monitor supplies, order and store tissue culture supplies to ensure efficient functioning.

  • Prepare cells for cryogenic storage and keep them organized and updated on the laboratory inventoried cell stock list.

  • The above requires using the microscope for prolonged periods, working for prolonged periods with hands extended under a flow hood and lifting cases (<50lbs).

  1. Molecular and Cellular Biology:
  • RNA/DNA isolation and the PCR (endpoint and quantitative) technique.

  • Protein isolation, immunoprecipitation, western-blot technique.

  • Cell viability and proliferation assays.

  • Cell clonogenic survival assay and cell irradiation technique.

  • Application of flow cytometry for apoptosis, cell cycle analysis

  • siRNA and shRNA knock-down experiments.

  • Immunohistochemistry and immunocytochemistry.

  • Molecular cloning and mutagenesis techniques.

  • Functional Assays: Boyden chamber migration and Invasion assays.

  1. Work with Animals or Animal/Human Products:
  • Work on tumor xenografts initiation, tumor irradiation and tumor measurements.

  • Conduct experiments involving animals and animal or human tissues, in accordance with appropriate institutional and regulatory guidelines.

  • Knowledgeable of safety concerns when working with animal/human tissues.

  • Work on human blood samples and knowledgeable of safety concerns.

  • Work on animal tissues will require application of universal safety precautions at all times.

  • Effectively communicate with the Department of Veterinary Medicine to process samples (tissues, tissue blocks, and slides) and will manage/maintain accurate records/samples.

  1. Record Keeping and Data Collection:
  • Maintain accurate, detailed records and experimental data and protocols.

  • Prepare graphs, slides and tables via photography, computer, or manually.

  • Develop a step-by-step written procedure outlining the specific actions required to conduct the experiment before proceeding.

  • Read literature and confer with supervisor regarding new procedures and modify them according to the needs of the project.

  1. Laboratory Safety/Lab Equipment Maintenance:
  • Demonstrate and practice lab safety precautions.

  • Receive verbal and/or written instructions from supervisor on standards and specialized lab safety procedures.

  • Attend annual safety courses required by MDA and other agencies.

  • Handle, store, and dispose of radioactive isotopes, chemically hazardous materials, and bio hazardous materials in procedure specified to meet MDA safety guidelines.

  • Follow manufacturer's guidelines regarding the handling and maintenance of all lab equipment. Have working knowledge of equipment operation manuals and procedure manuals whenever necessary.

  • Order reagents and materials when needed.

  • Monitor work flow as it pertains to the need for supplies, equipment maintenance, and preparing stock solutions.

  • Develop, record, and maintain a central repository of plasmids, bacteria, and adenovirus, using stocks developed by each lab member.

  1. Organization and performance of laboratory procedures:
  • Expand knowledge of ongoing techniques in the laboratory and enhance proficiency in planning, executing, and troubleshooting these techniques.

  • Participate in adopting new techniques (both in vitro and in vivo) while continuously increasing knowledge and skills to enhance lab research efforts.

  • Maintain assertiveness and flexibility in approaching new techniques and responsibilities; utilize good work habits and time management.

  • Maintain alertness and careful attention to avoid injury to self and others due to chemicals and hazardous materials in the laboratory.


Required: Bachelor's degree in one of the natural sciences or related field.

Preferred: Master's degree with major course work in one of the basic sciences.


Required: Three years of experience in scientific or experimental research work. With preferred degree, one year of required experience.

Preferred: Experience working with laboratory animals, especially mice.

It is the policy of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to provide equal employment opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, age, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or any other basis protected by institutional policy or by federal, state or local laws unless such distinction is required by law.