Metabolomics Research Associate / Senior Research Associate

Research Support
JG-Joint Genome Institute
92505 Requisition #
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s (LBNL) Joint Genome Institute (JGI) Division has an opening for a Research Associate (RA) or Senior Research Associate (Sr. RA) to join the team. The Research Associate will provide research and production support for metabolomics based studies within a high-throughput sample environment in support of DOE mission areas in clean energy generation, climate, and environmental sciences.

This position will perform research assignments that require demonstrated analytical chemistry and biochemistry knowledge and skills. The position will be responsible for understanding the latest mass spectrometry technologies, supporting new technology development, creatively solving analytical challenges, and implementing new protocols for the JGI Metabolomics Platform. The successful candidate will independently  troubleshoot process failures and participate in optimization of protocols with emphasis placed on meeting metabolomics production metrics goals.   This position will support exciting scientific discoveries; for example, the JGI Metabolomics Program has recently helped uncover the metabolic changes in response to drought in wheat crops, the metabolites involved in gut microbiome changes due to diet, and the effect of corn bioactives (diterpenoids) on the root microbiome.



What You Will Do:

  • Perform standard procedures using ESI mass spectrometers (Thermo QExactive and ID-X), automated liquid handling systems, UHPLC, lyophilizer, SpeedVac, centrifuge, and water bath sonicator.
  • Assist with LC-MS method development. (including research/acquisition/preparation of metabolite standards, parameter testing on both LC and MS systems, evaluation of method performance) 
  • Regularly perform and troubleshoot sample extractions using robotic automation equipment and manual methods following standardized operating procedures involving the safe handling of multiple types of solvents. 
  • Help develop / optimize custom extraction protocols for  a wide range of sample types. (soils, fungi, microbes, environmental water, etc.)
  • Perform literature review for new methods or to help solve challenges related to metabolite analysis.
  • Participate in group and team meetings.
  • Perform lab support duties, including equipment maintenance, purchase of consumables, lab and freezer organization, requisitioning of waste, etc.
  • Maintain a detailed lab notebook as well as instrumentation and sample logs.
  • Follow EH&S guidelines to ensure the safety of one's self and others in the lab and office spaces.



Additional Responsibilities at the Sr. Research Associate Level:
  • Independently troubleshoot and train others in standard operating procedures for LC-MS instrumentation, robotic automation systems and extraction equipment, ranging from sample processing, instrumentation, QC checks, troubleshooting data analysis and software.
  • Perform, test and troubleshoot mass spectrometry data analysis workflows, including annotation of standards and experimental sample sets, using custom python workflows (run, modify and interpret/read) and standard metabolomics software. (ex. mzmine, GNPS, etc)
  • Investigate and learn new mass spectrometry analytical software or instrumentation.
  • Update and maintain analytical standards database and experimental metadata.


What is Required:

  • B.S. degree in biology, microbiology, biochemistry, analytical chemistry, engineering, or a related field preferred and up to a few years related experience.
  • Previous experience working in a laboratory environment and performing experiments. 
  • Proficiency with basic office software. (Google docs, Excel, etc.) 
  • Detail-oriented with excellent communication and writing skills.
  • Excellent troubleshooting skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to perform routine data analysis workflows.
  • Hard-working, self-motivated, proactive individual, with critical thinking and independent working skills, as well as ability to work with others in a collaborative research environment and with rapidly developing goals and timelines.


Desired Qualifications:

  • Bacheors degree with 2-5 years of experience or a M.S. Degree.
  • Experience performing sample extractions. (ex for mass spectrometry and automated liquid extraction procedures)
  • Experience with sample analysis of small metabolites, preferably by mass spectrometry. (ex. amino acids, sugars, organic acids)
  • Familiarity or hands-on experience with mass spectrometers, UHPLCs, liquid handlers. (preferably, Thermo Orbitraps, Hamilton Vantage and Agilent 1290s)
  • Experience running (and modifying or writing) code written in scientific programming languages. (ex. Python, MATLAB, R)



  • This is a full time, 1-year, term appointment with the possibility of extension or conversion to Career appointment based upon satisfactory job performance, continuing availability of funds and ongoing operational needs.
  • This position will be hired at a level commensurate with the business needs; and skills, knowledge, and abilities of the successful candidate.
  • This position is represented by a union for collective bargaining purposes.
  • Salary will be determined based on range by collective bargaining agreement.
  • This position may be subject to a background check. Any convictions will be evaluated to determine if they directly relate to the responsibilities and requirements of the position. Having a conviction history will not automatically disqualify an applicant from being considered for employment.
  • Work will be primarily performed at: Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, 1 Cyclotron Road, Berkeley, CA.



Learn About Us:

JGI & Berkeley Lab: A View to Fuel Innovative Science in the Public Interest

They say it’s all about location and Berkeley Lab has it all: a view above the San Francisco Bay, cool breezes, and world-class multidisciplinary science within a diverse and respectful research ecosystem of 5,000 people. Nearly 90 years ago, Ernest Orlando Lawrence, the inventor of the cyclotron, brought physicists, biologists, engineers and mathematicians together in Berkeley above the University of California campus to tackle the most urgent scientific challenges. Today, after garnering 13 Nobel Prizes, Berkeley Lab has sustained and grown that tradition of open, interdisciplinary team science, exemplified by how the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (JGI) addresses the most pressing energy and environmental challenges using integrative genome science approaches. JGI takes up residence in the new, state-of-the-art Integrative Genomics Building (IGB) along with the U.S. Department of Energy Systems Biology Knowledgebase (KBase) to expand the frontiers of energy and environmental science in partnership with the worldwide community of researchers. Will you join us and be a critical part of our next ground-breaking discoveries?


Berkeley Lab (LBNL) addresses the world’s most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.


Working at Berkeley Lab has many rewards including a competitive compensation program, excellent health and welfare programs, a retirement program that is second to none, and outstanding development opportunities.  To view information about the many rewards that are offered at Berkeley Lab- Click Here.


Equal Employment Opportunity: Berkeley Lab is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. Berkeley Lab is in compliance with the Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision under 41 CFR 60-1.4.  Click here to view the poster and supplement: "Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law.


Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory encourages applications from women, minorities, veterans, and other underrepresented groups presently considering scientific research careers.

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Equal Employment Opportunity: Berkeley Lab is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. Berkeley Lab is in compliance with the Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision under 41 CFR 60-1.4. Click here to view the poster and supplement: "Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law."


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The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory provides accommodation to otherwise qualified internal and external applicants who are disabled or become disabled and need assistance with the application process. Internal and external applicants that need such assistance may contact the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to request accommodation by telephone at 510-486-7635, by email to or by U.S. mail at EEO/AA Office, One Cyclotron Road, MS90R-2121, Berkeley, CA 94720. These methods of contact have been put in place ONLY to be used by those internal and external applicants requesting accommodation.