Research Assistant, Tissue Culture and Functional Ecology

Requisition Number: 
Plant Science
Job Status: 
Reports to: 
Research Ecologist/Micropropagation Coordinator
The tissue culture and functional ecology research assistant will work with the research ecologist/micropropagation coordinator in preparing for and implementing an NSF-funded research project, through the New Roots for Restoration Biology Integration Institute, investigating intraspecific functional trait variation in restoration-relevant prairie plant species. The person in this position will start around October 1, and will be responsible for assisting in many aspects of plant tissue culture, propagation, and caring for plants in a greenhouse setting, and measuring key plant functional traits. The successful candidate will join a multi-disciplinary team of scientists from institutions across the country and build key skills in plant tissue culture and functional ecology. This is a grant-funded position that is part-time, working approximately 20 hours per week and anticipated to end in nine months.
Duties and Responsibilities: 

In this role you will be responsible for the following: 

  • Preparation/implementation of plant tissue culture
  • Preparing plant tissue culture media
  • Glassware cleaning and upkeep
  • Inventory and record keeping
  • Sterile isolation of seeds for aseptic germination
  • Upkeep, multiplication, and periodic transferring of plant cultures
  • Ex vitro plant maintenance
  • Acclimating plantlets to ex vitro conditions
  • Preparing soil media, re-potting plants
  • Care for plants growing in a greenhouse setting (watering/fertilizing)
  • Trait measurement
  • Root and shoot trait measurement, leaf scans, and image processing with ImageJ
  • Biomass harvesting, plant material drying, and weighing using an precision balance
  • Data collection, entry, and record keeping

          Key Garden competencies/behaviors desired

          • Communicates in a manner that gains the trust and support of others at all levels.
          • Works effectively with others despite differences of opinion and style; builds alliances.
          • Has a tolerance for opposing points of view.
          • Strives for collaboration. Works cooperatively, as a positive contributor to the team.
          • Demonstrates a positive attitude and shows kindness in all workplace interactions.
          • Makes decisions appropriate for level of responsibility.
          • Can effectively adapt to change; can shift gears comfortably; is flexible, and embraces change with a “can-do” attitude.
          • Is self-aware; knows personal strengths and weaknesses; seeks feedback and is open to negative feedback as an opportunity for improvement.
          • Is cool under pressure; can be counted on to hold things together during tough times; can handle stress; is not knocked off balance by the unexpected; is a settling influence during a crisis.
          • Recognizes problems, constructively identifies and articulates solutions.
          • Picks up garbage when it is seen regardless of position.
          • Follows safety guidelines to ensure a safe working environment and consistently demonstrates safe work behaviors.
          • Is welcoming of new hires.

          Basic experience working in a chemistry, genetics, cell culture, seed ecology, or other biological science laboratory. Strong attention to detail, with an ability to perform repetitive tasks and willingness to learn sterile micropropagation technique. Good communication skills and ability to keep organized records. Some experience with data collection and processing, basic experience with statistical software (R) is ideal, but not required. Commitment to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment.

          *Chicago Botanic Garden requires all existing employees be fully COVID vaccinated by October 15, 2021; hires post this date must be fully vaccinated upon hire.*

          Physical Demands: 
          Frequent sitting, standing, walking, bending, listening, speaking, and keyboarding. Use of office equipment including computers, telephones, copiers, scanners, and fax machines. Some requirements for lifting, pushing, or pulling items less than 30 pounds.
          Why Apply?: 

          Come work in a setting that is like no other as you support our mission: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. Take the first step toward being one of the employees who make the Garden one of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Apply today. Please note that applicants who do not meet the required qualifications will not be considered.

          Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and qualifications required of personnel so classified.

          The Chicago Botanic Garden is a M/F, Disabled, and Vet EEO/AA Employer.

          We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, or basis of disability, or any other federal, state, or local protected class.

          In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call (847) 835-8264 to contact our Title IX coordinator should you have questions or concerns.