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University of Colorado Senior Professional Research Assistant in Aurora, Colorado


University of Colorado | CU Anschutz Medical Campus

School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology

Senior Professional Research Assistant

Position # 00780752 – Requisition #20054

* Applications are accepted electronically ONLY at

  • The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus seeks individuals with demonstrated commitment to creating an inclusive learning and working environment. We value the ability to engage effectively with students, faculty and staff of diverse backgrounds.

Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology has an opening for a full-time Senior Professional Research Assistant.

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is a public education, clinical and research facility serving 4,500 students, and a world-class medical destination at the forefront of life-changing science, medicine, and healthcare. CU Anschutz offers more than 42 highly rated degree programs through 6 schools and colleges, and receives over $500 million in research awards each year. We are the single largest health professions education provider in Colorado, awarding nearly 1,450 degrees annually. Powered by our award-winning faculty, renowned researchers and a reputation for academic excellence, the CU Anschutz Medical Campus drives innovation from the classroom to the laboratory to the delivery of unparalleled patient care. Read CU Anschutz Quick Facts here .

Nature of Work

Now hiring for a full-time senior PRA with benefits with estimated start time March-April 2021. This position is offered through the Division of Medical Oncology (Department of Medicine). The role is laboratory-based to study the immune and tumor microenvironment in sarcomas, rare cancers of bone and soft tissue. Research will be conducted using human blood and tumor samples from sarcoma patients treated on immunotherapy clinical trials, as well as preclinical mouse sarcoma models. This position reports directly to Breelyn Wilky, MD, a sarcoma medical oncologist, with the research conducted within an established and highly accomplished cancer immunology research laboratory led by Eduardo Davila, PhD. The laboratory is located at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado.

Professional Field

Dr. Wilky’s research program aims to develop novel immunotherapies for sarcomas. Most sarcomas are “cold” tumors, that lack inherent sensitivity to checkpoint inhibitors. Ongoing clinical trials are investigating whether combination therapies, including checkpoint inhibitors plus anti-angiogenic tyrosine kinase inhibitors, or in combination with chemotherapy may improve tumor kill. Patients treated on these trials will have blood and tumor biopsies taken as part of the trial, which will be analyzed using immune monitoring techniques, including flow cytometry, multiplex immunohistochemistry, analysis of antibody and cytokine profiles, and immune-related gene expression to determine the effects of the therapies and potential resistance mechanisms. In turn, these findings and drug combinations will be investigated in immune-competent mouse models of sarcoma, including “humanized” mice models, which will then form the basis for future clinical trials.

At this juncture the PRA will have sole responsibility for these experiments in partnership with the PI. They will also provide supervision and training with support of two other junior PRAs in the laboratory. However, the PRA will be supported within a diverse and experienced team of researchers within the Davila laboratory. The Davila lab research program is focused on antigens that activate T cells in driving tumor immunity in mice and humans in solid tumors. By participating in lab meetings, the PRA will gain broad exposure and experience in cancer immunology and immunotherapy techniques. Additionally, this unique role will require collaboration with clinical research infrastructure, as well as other laboratories and core facilities, providing a rich translational experience.

Supervision Received

The PRA will be supervised and mentored by the Principal Investigator, Dr. Breelyn Wilky, as well as Eduardo Davila, PhD. The expectation is that the candidate will publish and present research findings. They will be supported, encouraged, and mentored to pursue grant applications. Support in laboratory techniques and training and troubleshooting will also be provided by other personnel currently within the Davila lab.

Supervision Exercised

The successful candidate will have extensive experience with mouse models. Experience with immunology techniques, including flow cytometry is required. The PRA will provide additional training and support to other lab members for key techniques and assays.

Examples of Work Performed

This position requires 100% effort working within the secured research laboratory and applicable facilities. Working in the evenings or weekends may be required. The position may require additional training in clinical research, including CITI training to assure compliance in working with human research samples. It will require research laboratory bench work skills, extensive handling of research laboratory animals, meticulous detail-oriented record keeping, good hand to eye coordination.

Primary duties will include the following:

Initial Research Projects

  • Preparation of fresh human blood and tumor samples for single-cell suspensions, flow cytometry, RNA/DNA/protein analysis, immunohistochemistry

  • Sterile culture and expansion of murine and human tumor and immune cells including T cells, B cells, NK cells

  • Breeding and genotyping transgenic mouse models including PCR

  • Induction of tumors in mice using adenoviral vectors containing Cre recombinase

  • Administration of chemotherapy and immunotherapy to mice using intraperitoneal injections, subcutaneous injections, and oral gavage up to 3 times weekly

  • Measuring tumors in mice twice weekly using calipers

  • At the completion of experiments, harvest of tumors, spleens, lymph nodes and intraventricular puncture for peripheral blood collection, and euthanasia of mice using CO2 asphyxiation, cervical dislocation or exsanguination

  • Analysis of human and mouse blood, tumor, spleen, and lymph node samples for single cell suspensions, flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry, DNA/RNA/protein extraction

  • Performance of ELISPOT, ELISA, MSD panel assays and data analysis

  • Working with cancer center core facilities to perform multiplex immunohistochemistry, mass cytometry (CyTOF), tumor and TCR sequencing, cytokine assays, RNA sequencing

  • Implanting fresh human tumor biopsies into nude mice to generate PDX (xenografts)

  • Generating cell lines from xenografts, passaging xenografts, and maintaining freezer stocks

  • Meticulous record-keeping, including detailed laboratory notebooks, computer file systems, and research databases

  • Preparation of research presentations for lab meetings and other venues

  • Preparation of research posters and manuscripts of projects

  • Preparation of amendments and renewals for IACUC animal protocols, biosafety protocols

  • Adhere to all regulatory compliances for the University of Colorado animal lab facility

  • Participate in biweekly meetings with the PI to review experimental design and raw data

  • Participate in weekly laboratory meetings with all Davila lab personnel

  • Participate in additional trainings or lab meetings as required or as interest dictates

  • Ordering of reagents and maintaining binder of invoices, receipts, etc for own projects to be reviewed at least every two weeks with the PI

Additional duties may include the following (depending on interest and availability of other resources):

  • Additional technical skills, molecular oncology, collaborations, and animal techniques related to evolving research projects, which will likely include development of CAR-T cells and engineered T cells for sarcomas

Salary Range

The salary range ( or hiring range ) for this position has been established at $49,000 to $75,000.

The salary of the finalist(s) selected for this role will be set based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to, internal equity, experience, education, specialty and training.

The above salary range ( or hiring range ) represents the University’s good faith and reasonable estimate of the range of possible compensation at the time of posting.

The University of Colorado offers a full benefits package. Information on University benefits programs, including eligibility, is located at Employee Services .

University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus is dedicated to ensuring a safe and secure environment for our faculty, staff, students and visitors. To assist in achieving that goal, we conduct background checks for all new employees prior to their employment.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act requires that verification of employment eligibility be documented for all new employees by the end of the third day of work. Alternative formats of this ad are available upon request for persons with disabilities.

Your total compensation goes beyond the number on your paycheck. The University of Colorado provides generous leave, health plans and retirement contributions that add to your bottom line.

Benefits: .

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Diversity and Equity:

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Office of Equity:

The University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus is committed to recruiting and supporting a diverse student body, faculty and administrative staff. The university strives to promote a culture of inclusiveness, respect, communication and understanding. We encourage applications from women, ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities and all veterans. The University of Colorado is committed to diversity and equality in education and employment.


Minimum Requirements

  • Previous lab and mouse experience is required, the ideal candidate will have at least 4 years of research lab experience

  • Master’s degree from an accredited college or university is required.

Applicants must meet minimum qualifications at the time of hire.

Preferred qualifications

  • Previous experience in immunology research and cancer research is highly valued.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Proficiency with basic laboratory techniques including sterile technique, cell culture, operation of standard equipment and procedures (microscopes, centrifuges, incubators, weigh balances, pipettes)

  • Proficiency, experience, and comfort with mouse handling, treatments, breeding/genotyping required

  • Experience with basic cellular/molecular biology techniques including apoptosis/cell proliferation assays, Western blots, PCR required

  • Experience with immunology techniques including flow cytometry and analysis, RNA/DNA extraction from cell lines and tumors, ELISPOTS/ELISA required

  • Prior experience with bioinformatics, including RNA sequencing is a plus

  • Computer competency skills (MS Office), internet research, literature searches

  • Highly motivated, self-directed learning, leadership and teaching experience, ability to ask for help when needed, and able to work well with other laboratory personnel, excellent organization and recordkeeping skills

Job: Faculty

Primary Location: Aurora

Job Category Faculty


Schedule Full-time

Posting Date Feb 3, 2021

Unposting Date Ongoing

Posting Contact Name Jane Eimers

Posting Contact Email

Posting Number 00780752

Req ID: 20054

The University of Colorado does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, pregnancy, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, political affiliation, or political philosophy. All qualified individuals are encouraged to apply.