Senior Technical Research Assistant * Biomarker Research / 40 Hours / Days/ BWH Pathology
Brigham & Women's Hospital
 Boston, MA

The Biomarker Research and Clinical Trials Laboratory (BRCTL) conducts biomarker testing for a variety of clinical trials ranging in scale from hundreds to a hundred thousand tests and maintains a biobank exceeding 1000,000,000 samples. The TRA Sr. works closely with Lab Management, Sample Management/Inventory Specialists and under general direction of the Lab Director, is responsible for planning for and executing high complexity testing (e.g. manual and automated ELISA, digital PCR, complex manual and automated sample preparation using robotics) in support of various projects for publication and non-regulated clinical trials.


1. General Abilities:

a. Abides by established departmental objectives, policies and procedures

b. Practices safe work habits, actively maintains safety, documents and informs Lab Management of all issues involving safety

c. Maintains appropriate level of knowledge of laboratory quality assurance practices

d. Participates in QI Program

i. Evaluate, monitor and improve the quality and timeliness of services provided by the BRCTL

2. Maintains specimen identification, integrity, and chain of custody throughout all department processes

a. Checks specimens received against shipping manifest

b. Controls quality of contents and condition of received samples

c. Places specimens in appropriate storage conditions

d. Routes samples received into the appropriate workflow and ensures downstream staff are alerted to sample availability

e. Maintains documentation of specimen handling, ensures accurate labeling of samples and preparation of worksheets used to track samples

f. Notifies Lab Management of issues affecting workflow or when additional assistance is required

g. Works on process improvements for existing and new workflows that need to be developed

h. Works with Lab Management in developing documents (e.g. procedures, work instructions, training instructions) and research project requisitions

i. Logs all specimens received into the LIMS system or appropriate secure database

j. Adheres to specimen rejection criteria, documents and reports all incidents of specimen rejection

k. Prepares specimens for testing using appropriate equipment and tools (robotics, centrifuge, LIMS, freezer inventory monitoring system)

3. Laboratory Testing Support:

a. Prepares specimens for testing using laboratory robotics, or manually

b. Performs routine and complex analytical procedures following established laboratory policies and procedures

c. Recognizes equipment and testing problems, troubleshoots and documents independently and/or with the assistance of appropriate Technical Support team to ensure resolution is documented, implemented and communicated in a timely manner

d. Reviews, verifies data and maintains results databases

e. Reports on progress of work regularly to laboratory management

f. Notifies Lab Management of all unresolved problems and of significant problems (i.e. where corrective action or change in procedure is indicated)

4. Preparation of Specimen Collection Kits and shipping boxes for domestic and international studies

a. Prepares sample manifest

b. Assembles tubes, labels, specimen storage boxes

c. Responsible for distribution of shipping boxes and collection kits

d. Manages inventory of shipping boxes and collection kits

1. Maintains certification in Class 6.2 DGR and IATA shipping

2. Packs, Ships and receives domestic and international shipments containing Category B, Biologic Substances and Dry Ice

5. Monitors temperature of freezers, refrigerators and laboratory with the help of the Temperature Monitoring System (TMS)

a. Responds to alarms in a timely manner

b. Documents and troubleshoots issues through resolution

c. Performs and documents periodic and preventive maintenance as required

6. Ensures consumables, perishable reagents and Quality Control (QC) are labeled and stored correctly

7. Coordinates emergency procedures during computer down time following established procedures

8. Assists Manager as needed

a. Demonstrates leadership and acts as a role model for staff

9. Performs all other duties and responsibilities as directed


1. Bachelor of Science degree in a biological/physical science AND

2. 5 years of laboratory experience performing high complexity testing

a. ELISA (manual and automated) and digital PCR testing AND

3. Competency working with laboratory robotics, temperature monitoring systems and other complex manual and automated equipment

4. Training and Certifications Required:

b. Digital PCR - OLINK Proteomics

c. Programming - Tecan EVOWare Software, Java, Python


1. Meticulous attention to detail

2. Excellent analytical, critical thinking and organizational skills

3. Excellent oral and written communication skills - Should be able to orally and in written format communicate upwards and downwards status updates of key deliverables

4. Working knowledge of computerized data required including word processing, spreadsheets and databases

5. Experience with computer systems, including web based applications, some Microsoft Office applications which may include Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Access and EMR software (e.g. Harvest, StarLIMS, Epic, Cerner)

6. Competencies:

a. Written Communications: Ability to communicate clearly and effectively in written English with internal and external customers.

b. Oral Communications: Ability to comprehend and converse in English to communicate effectively with medical center staff, patients, families and external customers Knowledge and Technical Skills:

i. Ability to demonstrate full working knowledge of standard concepts, practices, procedures and policies and ability to use them consistently

ii. Ability to abide by laboratory policies and procedures and contribute to continual improvement activities around documentation and process/workflow

iii. Ability to maintain knowledge of biomarker research through familiarity with scientific literature

iv. Ability to prioritize daily work and on own initiative, identify potential problems, troubleshoot and document as required

v. Ability to work collaboratively in small teams to improve the operations of immediate work group by identifying issues, offering ideas and respecting team members.

vi. Ability to accurately pipette using forward and reverse single and multi-channel pipettes and to achieve and maintain annual competency

vii. Assists with training and mentoring junior staff

7. Must be able to lift 25lbs