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Microelectron Diffraction Project Scientist


The recently established BioPolymers, Automated Cellular Infrastructure, Flow, and Integrated Chemistry: Materials Innovation Platform (BioPACIFIC MIP), supported by the National Science Foundation and located in the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) will create and operate a collection of state-of-the-art user facilities dedicated to biomaterials discovery and development. The BioPACIFIC MIP is seeking to fill a Microelectron Diffraction Project Scientist position to support research efforts at the forefront of molecular structural analysis as part of a diverse and dynamic team within the BioPACIFIC MIP at its UCLA site. The successful candidate will establish a world-class center for microelectron diffraction (microED) and take a lead role in the development and application of next-generation microED methods toward structure determination of key molecules in support of a diverse and vibrant user community.

The Microelectron Diffraction Project Scientist will spend 50% time, in tandem with the BioPACIFIC in-house research team, on making significant and creative contributions to in-house research, including developing new software, instrumentation, sample preparation or structure determination approaches that further existing projects; developing and carrying out relevant experiments; publishing scientific papers; presenting at technical conferences; and filing IP disclosures. The Microelectron Diffraction Project Scientist will collaborate with in-house members of the BioPACIFIC research community to continually build expertise and develop new methods in atomically resolved, electron diffraction-mediated structure determination of molecules from nanocrystallites. Building community expertise will include attending and presenting at a bi-monthly technical research meeting with affiliate researchers to provide consultation on tool usage, experimental design, and data interpretation.

To support the BioPACIFIC MIP mission to provide structural characterization of materials produced in the synthesis and formulation platforms, the Microelectron Diffraction Project Scientist will devote 50% time to serve as a scientific and technical expert, providing electron microscopy/diffraction (EM/ED) training and services to BioPACIFIC users. Users will consult with the Microelectron Diffraction Project Scientist as the primary technical point-of-contact to develop Project Feasibility and Research plans that maximize the likelihood of success. Twice per year the candidate will participate in an open house that will highlight the facilities and research capabilities to promote use by internal and external users.

The Microelectron Diffraction Project Scientist will interface directly with and report to the BioPACIFIC directors and will successfully carry out experiments and analyze the data generated with minimal to no supervision. The successful candidate will directly manage a state-of-the-art Spectra 300 STEM microscope configured specifically for MicroED applications and an associated sample preparation laboratory space. The Project Scientist position is a fully-supported, 12-month position.


  • Ph.D. in Chemistry, Biochemistry or Physics/Materials Science or related fields
  • 5+ years research experience or equivalent in structural chemistry, biochemistry, or materials science and experience in the determination of crystallographic structures
  • Experience with state-of-the-art automated TEM or cryoEM techniques and operation of high-energy (200-300 keV) transmission electron microscopes for imaging and/or diffraction
  • Experience in developing methods, tools or protocols for structural analysis of molecules
  • Demonstrated publication record in the following fields: x-ray crystallography, electron diffraction or cryoEM methods.
  • Strong understanding of the fundamentals of design controls and engineering principles
  • Proficient or basic knowledge of programming languages (C#/++, Python, or java)
  • Ability to work with and train scientists at all levels in an academic research setting
  • Ability to communicate effectively in both written and oral formats.


Service Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Provide structure determinations services to BioPACIFIC users
  • Provide image/data processing, structure solution and modeling services to users
  • Train BioPACIFIC users from collaborating laboratories
  • Coordinate user requests and services
  • Develop, maintain and disseminate updated versions of policies and standard operating procedures
  • Maintain financial records of expenditures and billing; prepare budget summaries and projections used in facility review; and assist in the preparation/submission of reports
  • Track facility utilization
  • Develop and administrate chemical and biosafety protocols
  • Participate in events that highlight facilities and research capabilities to promote use by internal and external users


Research Duties and Responsibilities:

  • The design of strategies and methods for determination of structures for BioPACIFIC researchers
  • Produce publication quality structures and analyses for BioPACIFIC users
  • Design cryoEM experiments and tools to determine molecular and polymeric structures
  • Design and develop software and methods for rapid, automated structural analysis of BioPACIFIC targets using a Spectra 300 STEM and other electron microscopes


Additional Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Serve as a liaison between BioPACIFIC users, faculty, committee members, administration and other external institutions/companies
  • Oversee activities of BioPACIFIC undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral trainees
  • Support the BioPACIFIC Directors with service/material transfer agreements, with particular focus on export control and intellectual property considerations
  • Cultivate an inclusive, collegial environment with strong inter-personal communication skills
  • Work on multiple projects efficiently and effectively
  • Work independently on scientific projects and develop scientific ideas
  • Assist with preparation of grant proposals
  • Prepare operational reports for use in periodic reviews by the NSF
  • Prepare manuscripts for publication in scientific journals
  • Complete all appropriate safety training as mandated by UCLA Environmental Health & Safety


The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. We highly encourage all applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see: UC Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action Policy. University policy is intended to be consistent with the provisions of applicable State and Federal laws. BioPACIFIC is especially interested in candidates who have a demonstrated commitment to diversity and experience working with students from a diverse background in addition to a demonstrated commitment to improving access to higher education for disadvantaged students.

Interested candidates should apply on-line by November 20th, 2020 on this site:

Start date: January 10th, 2021 or as soon as mutually agreeable.