Junior Specialist - Mills Lab


Open date: June 7th, 2021

Next review date: Monday, Jun 21, 2021 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)

Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Saturday, Jul 31, 2021 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)

Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.


The Junior Specialist position is an entry-level position. In general, it is inappropriate to appoint an individual with a Master’s or doctoral degree in the relevant discipline or a baccalaureate degree plus three or more years of experience with the specialized methods as a Junior Specialist. (APM-UCD 330)

The position of Junior Specialist provides technical or specialized expertise in the planning and execution of a research project. The Junior Specialist stays apprised of the research area and maintains technical competence in the designated area(s) of specialization. We’re seeking a Junior Specialist to join our research team studying the gut microbiome. Our team is interested in understanding the relationship between gut health and diet. Specifically, our research focuses on the fundamental biology of keystone bacteria that colonize animal gastrointestinal tracts.
Outcomes of our research includes translatable therapies, diagnostics and tools that maintain and promote gut health and prevent microbial imbalances associated with disease.
The role of this position is to provide specialized expertise in microbiology and molecular biology for the lab of Prof. David Mills at UC Davis. The Junior Specialist is actively and significantly engaged in research involving several projects that use animal and cell culture models to understand the ecological fitness of potential probiotics and their interaction with the gut microbial communities and the host. This work is expected to result in a number of manuscripts related to the research topic. The Junior Specialist will be trained to use the following techniques to address our research questions: sample organization, anaerobic culture techniques, DNA extractions from feces and other environmental samples, QPCR, PCR, PCR purification, eukaryotic cell culture techniques, in vitro digestion assays, and immunological assays including ELISA, immunofluorescence and flow cytometry. As the Junior Specialist will be consulted during study design, candidates are expected to have previous experience in microbiology and molecular biology, specifically plating methods for propagation, enumeration and isolation of bacterial species, DNA extractions, and PCR. Experience in anaerobic bacterial work will be preferred. The successful candidate needs to have excellent communication and organizational skills, learn quickly, work independently after initial training, be meticulous and alert, and be comfortable with automatic, repetitive tasks. The successful candidate must also be comfortable with working with human and animal fecal samples and handling mice. In addition to research, the Junior Specialist will present results at the weekly Mills Lab meeting. If the results warrant, the Junior Specialist may have the opportunity to attend and present research they were involved in at the Host-Microbe Interactions Annual Retreat at Granlibakken. The Junior Specialist will have the opportunity to have creative input into the design of and selection of experiments to meet the study objectives.


a. The Junior Specialist will use their academic and professional expertise to make scientific contributions to a research study and will contribute to published research. Under the general direction of the Principal Investigator, the Junior Specialist will collaborate with other research personnel as part of projects that concentrate on the study of diet and microbiome in healthy humans. The focus of the research is to understand how diet influence the functional capacity of the gut microbiome.
b. The Junior Specialist will be actively engaged in anaerobic culturing of gut bacteria, eukaryotic cell culture, in vitro digestion assays, and immunological assays as well as DNA extraction and molecular biology techniques such as PCR and QPCR and bacterial transformations.
c. The Junior Specialist will be responsible for quality checking of results and for maintaining appropriate back-ups of project data.
d. The Junior Specialist will draft tables and figures for scientific publications. Similarly, the candidate will participate in the drafting and revising of study manuscripts on an as needed basis.
e. The Junior Specialist will be actively involved in surveying literature, reviewing journal articles, engaging in discussions on research, and assisting in the interpretation of research results.

a. The Junior Specialist will participate in appropriate professional societies or groups in the field of nutrition and microbiology.
b. The Junior Specialist will organize the contributions to journal manuscripts and publications prior to submission and offer technical and creative contributions to the manuscript preparation.
c. The Junior Specialist will conduct literature searches for articles relevant to the research topic, engage in discussions of data with the Principal Investigators, and contribute to manuscript preparation and presentation of research findings.


The Junior Specialist is not expected to participate in university or public service.


Basic qualifications (required at time of application)

B.S. in microbiology, animal science, molecular biology or other related fields. Must have degree at start of job.

    Preferred qualifications

    • Knowledge of plating methods for propagation, enumeration and isolation of bacterial species
    • Knowledge of anaerobic bacteriological techniques
    • Experience with environmental DNA extraction and PCR
    • Experience with Eukaryotic cell culture techniques
    • Good communication orally and in writing
    • Knowledge of standard/safe laboratory practices
    • Thorough experience in basic laboratory practices including sterile technique, serial dilutions, plating, pipetting, etc.
    • Thorough experience in environmental DNA extractions and PCR.
    • Excellent communication skills
    • Comfortable working extensively with biological human and animal samples.
    • Comfortable communicating with a diverse group of collaborators, including professors, staff researchers, and graduate students.


      Document requirements

      • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.
      • Cover Letter
      • Statement of Research (Optional)
      • Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion documented in the application file will be used to evaluate applicants. Visit https://academicaffairs.ucdavis.edu/faculty-equity-and-inclusion for guidelines about writing a statement and why one is requested.

      Reference requirements

      • 3-5 letters of reference required

      Apply link: https://recruit.ucdavis.edu/JPF04236

      Help contact: evillasenor@ucdavis.edu


      Davis, California

      Original Article