Research Asst I
Drug Information Association Inc
 Nashville, TN


Discover Vanderbilt University Medical Center:

Located in Nashville, Tennessee, and operating at a global crossroads of teaching, discovery and patient care, VUMC is a community of individuals who come to work each day with the simple aim of changing the world. It is a place where your expertise will be valued, your knowledge expanded and your abilities challenged. It is a place where your diversity -- of culture, thinking, learning and leading -- is sought and celebrated. It is a place where employees know they are part of something that is bigger than themselves, take exceptional pride in their work and never settle for what was good enough yesterday. Vanderbilt's mission is to advance health and wellness through preeminent programs in patient care, education, and research.

Click Here To View The VUMC Promise of Discovery

Department Summary:

At the Vanderbilt Eye Institute, we strive to make life better for adults and children with eye conditions including glaucoma, vision loss and diseases of the retina. We treat patients from across Tennessee and the Southeast. Our doctors, researchers and support staff use the latest technologies and methods, and we conduct vital vision research that translates to better treatments.

Shift Hours:

Varied Shift ; Weekend or after-hours work may be required, as needed

Your Role:

Research Focus:

Inflammation and new vessel growth in the retina can lead to vision loss from swelling, bleeding, scarring, and tissue traction as seen in diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity. Our goal is to repurpose drugs previously developed to target inflammation and vascular growth in non-ocular systems to prevent, abort, or revert these potentially blinding conditions. We use human retinal cells from donor eyes as well as animal models to achieve these goals. Pharmacologic and genetic approaches are employed in our lab to block the function of target receptors (inhibitors, siRNA, or neutralizing antibodies in culture, and receptor knockout mouse strains or pharmacologic inhibition by drug delivery in animal models of disease) to discover and/or develop new therapies.

We are looking forward to working with a highly motivated individual who can collaborate with others in lab and who exhibits a high level of technical expertise as well as professionalism, dedication, reliability, and intellectual curiosity.

Key Functions and Expected Performances:

  • Under minimal supervision, plan and conduct complex experiments, analyze data, prepare reports, and archive data.
  • Plan and coordinate experiments in conjunction with Principal Investigator (PI).
  • Process and analyze data demonstrating keen analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Understand and follow experimental protocols and competently perform any required assays (may include animal handling, tissue culture, etc.)
  • Accurately record/document, compile, organize, and communicate data/results.
  • Follow University safety protocols (may include use of toxic and hazardous materials, and/or carcinogens).
  • Perform calculations involving molarity, % solutions, and serial dilutions.
  • Perform data analysis and create graphs/reports.
  • Operate and maintain equipment, and, troubleshoot equipment malfunctions throughout the execution of all research projects associated with the lab.
  • Recommend equipment and supplies needed for research projects.
  • Familiarize with equipment operations and manuals.
  • Set up, maintain, troubleshoot and arrange to repair equipment according to manufacturer and Vanderbilt University guidelines.
  • Ensure laboratory is prepared for experiments.
  • Procure, organize and prepare lab supplies needed to complete the work.
  • Maintain inventories.
  • Maintain sterile conditions as required.
  • Prepare reagents.
  • Assist PI in modifying procedures and techniques.
  • Recognize problems and suggest solutions, assist in modifications.
  • Recommend improvements to established techniques and/or protocols (troubleshooting).
  • Maintain personal knowledge of scientific trends through literature reviews.
  • Provide appropriate written/oral documentation of experiments.
  • Effectively communicate in oral and written formats.
  • Prepare research progress reports.
  • Analyze, interpret, and summarize test results.
  • Assist in the effective operation of the laboratory.
  • Train other employees.
  • Supervise projects and/or personnel.
  • Serve as a liaison to other Vanderbilt Medical School Departments, Divisions and core facilities such as: Division of Animal Care (DAC), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), Vanderbilt Environmental Health and Safety (VEHS) etc, to ensure compliance of laboratory practices and procedures with University, local and federal rules and regulations.

Preferred Education, Skills, and Experiences:

  • Experience in an academic research lab.
  • Preference will be given to candidates with a demonstrated ability to communicate research findings through publication in high impact, peer-reviewed journals and presentations at national meetings.
  • Preference will be given to individuals who want to establish themselves in a stable long employment relationship with the laboratory and who are interested in continued professional development.
  • Laboratory skills that are sought include:
  • Breeding mice and working with animal models of human disease.
  • Histology: sectioning, immunohistochemistry, imaging.
  • Protein purification and analysis: WB, ELISA, IPs.
  • Cellular and molecular biology: transfections, qRT-PCR, genotyping.
  • Cell/Tissue cultures: cell cultures and in-vitro cell assays.
  • Toxicity/pharmacokinetic assays using inhibitors.

Examples of lab Assays


  • Cell culture (human retinal endothelial cells, human Muller cells, human microglia)
  • Cell migration assays
  • Cell proliferation assays
  • Tube formation assays
  • Cytokine induction assays (ELISA, RT-PCR)
  • Immuno-histo/cyto-chemistry
  • Receptor activation assays (WB)
  • Proteome profiling assays
  • Trans-endothelial electrical resistance assays
  • Leukocyte adhesion assays


  • Mouse colony management (breeding and genotyping mice)
  • Live retinal imaging and functional assays (optical coherence tomography, fluorescein angiography, electroretinogram (ERG))
  • Mouse models of retinal disease (STZ-induced diabetes, ischemia-reperfusion injury, oxygen-induced retinopathy)
  • Retinal dissection and ex-vivo analysis after therapy (leukostasis assays, vascular leakage assay (Evans blue extravasation))

VUMC Recent Accomplishments

Because we are committed to providing the best in patient care, education and research, we are proud of our recent accomplishments:

  • US News & World Report: #1 Hospital in Tennessee, #1 Health Care Provider in Nashville, #1 Audiology ( Bill Wilkerson Center ), 12 adult and 10 pediatric clinical specialties ranked among the nation's best, #15 Education and Training
  • Truven Health Analytics: among the top 50 cardiovascular hospitals in the U.S.
  • Becker's Hospital Review: one of the “100 Greatest Hospitals in America“
  • The Leapfrog Group: grade “A“ in Hospital Safety Score
  • National Institutes of Health: among the top 10 grant awardees for medical research in the US