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Senior Research Associate

Date: February, 2013
Reports to (Job Title): Head of Biological Sciences, Centre for Contact Lens Research
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles): Co-op Students, Undergraduate Students, Casual Employees and Volunteers (typically 3 to 5)
Location: School of Optometry and Vision Science


35 hr/wk

Primary Purpose

Responsible for the general functioning, operation and maintenance of the Biomaterials and Ocular Surface Science (BOSS) Lab which is part of the Centre for Contact Lens Research (CCLR), and will be intimately involved in all aspects of the research projects undertaken within the lab, to achieve the project deliverables required by the sponsors and grants.

Key Accountabilities:

1.  Supervision and Training



2.  Administration




3.  Research



4.  Communication



5.  Finance




6.  Development of new research initiatives and novel techniques




7.  Physical plant and shared facilities




8.  Continuing Education and Outreach


Position Requirements



a)  Tissue and bacterial culture and aseptic techniques


b)  Basic Biological, Chemical and Biochemical Lab skills


c)  Specific lab skills


d)  Human biological sample collections


Previous employment in an area related to health care with experience in human sample collection would be an asset and previous experience working in a laboratory setting


MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other
Intermediate Intermediate Basic
ChromQuest,SoftMaxPro, SigmaPlot, ImageQuant, Image J, Adobe Photoshop, EndNote

Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

Internally, the primary contact that this position has is to collaborate with co-workers and colleagues on lab projects and provide direction related to the functioning of the lab.  It also deals with and motivates the undergraduate students and volunteers that it directly supervises and the graduate students that are part of the lab. External contact primarily involves an exchange of information with study sponsors and other labs with which the CCLR collaborates.

Level of Responsibility:

This position is responsible for creating, in collaboration with others, a workspace suitable for the generation of high quality data by all lab members through the general functioning, operation and maintenance of the CCLR BOSS Lab.  This includes interviewing and supervising of co-op students, undergraduate students, casual workers and volunteers within the lab.  It also includes the generation of ideas and methods, training of all lab personnel in lab procedures and the use of the equipment and management of routine and common lab duties by all stakeholders. The incumbent is responsible for purchasing and maintaining equipment as well as developing protocols and procedures, collection of data and writing reports, standard operating procedures, publications and presentations. 

Decision-Making Authority:

The incumbent is often called upon to act in a problem solving capacity in the following areas:

Equipment and Physical Plant: When existing equipment and/or physical plant are not meeting the current needs of the lab data collection, the incumbent finds alternatives or initiates changes to physical plant to accommodate the new experimental needs.  Large scale changes are done in collaboration with, and recommendation of the Head of Biological Sciences.

Housekeeping:  When routine housekeeping procedures fail for whatever reason, the incumbent works collaboratively with the lab members to find solutions, adaptations, or short term fixes.  This can include borrowing equipment from another lab, replacing consumables quickly at a premium cost if warranted, rearranging staffing schedules.  Head of Biological Sciences is involved if there are anticipated delays or substantial costs. 

Experimental:  When the measurement of desired experimental endpoints is not routine and/or results are not anticipated, the incumbent recommends changes in chemistry, technical procedures or experimental design parameters or re-evaluates the data.  The Head of Biological Sciences is involved when changes would necessitate a substantial change in time, cost or focus to the project or lack of resolution to the problem. 

Typical decisions that this position is required to make involve the hiring and supervision of undergraduate students, casual employees and volunteers.  The incumbent is required to solve challenges involving the development of novel protocols, adapting existing facilities to accommodate new research projects, the failure of equipment and other day to day activities related to the successful running of the lab.  Creating and tracking study budgets is also a responsibility of this position.

Physical and Sensory Demands:

This position experiences demands typically associated with working in a lab which include long periods of standing, awkward postures while running equipment or collecting samples.

Working Environment:

There is exposure to bio-hazardous materials and chemicals during sample collection and analysis as well occasional exposure to low doses of radiation.  The incumbent for this position is periodically required to work outside of core hours to accommodate participant and experimental schedules and to travel to satellite collection and processing sites.  This position is contingent upon funding.