Portland VA Research Foundation
  • 05-May-2022 to 04-Jun-2022 (PST)
  • Sunwen Chou
  • Portland, OR, USA
  • Salary
  • Full Time

Health, Dental, Vision, Employer paid Life & Disability, 401k, PTO


Research Associate position to investigate mechanisms of drug resistance in human cytomegalovirus (CMV); research program based at the VA Portland Health Care System (VAPORHCS). Research activities include mutagenesis of BAC clones of CMV to determine the drug susceptibility phenotypes of mutations elicited in vivo and in vivo by licensed and experimental antiviral drugs; viral genomic deep sequencing; structure analysis of viral binding sites relevant to drug resistance.


  • Plan and conduct experiments appropriate to the research program. Expected proficiency includes familiarity with relevant literature and computational and technical approaches. Independently and efficiently resolves experimental obstacles. Assemble starting materials needed for experimental work. Experiments may require periodic attention outside of normal working hours.
  • Accurate and timely recordkeeping including maintenance of extensive databases (e.g. MS Access) to track all generated materials, sequence data, and experimental results.
  • Organize and present experimental and background information in the laboratory and other on-campus meetings.
  • Comply with institutional mandates (biosafety, ethics, security, etc.) regulating the conduct of biomedical research, including the filing of required forms and reports.
  • Supervise activities of research assistants, e.g. in adherence to protocols and maintenance of rigor and reproducibility in experimental work.


As defined above, with further elaboration as follows:

  • Quality control activities including continuous review and modification of experimental techniques, laboratory records, specimen archives, and databases.
  • Informed utilization of Office software packages, including heavy use of Microsoft Access for maintenance of laboratory records. Ability to understand, modify and program scripts for database analysis.
  • Informed analysis of routine (Sanger) and deep sequencing data using commercial and in-house programmed software and scripts. Ability to compose scripts to customize available software, especially for analysis of mutant viral subpopulations potentially denoting drug resistance.
  • Operation and maintenance of specialized equipment including microscopes, centrifuges, spectrophotometers, balances, digital cameras, and computers.
  • Informed interpretation of experimental data and planning for subsequent experiments.


The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


  • Masters degree or above, or equivalent scientific credentials with at least 4 years of documented research experience in related fields of antiviral drug discovery and genetic mechanisms of drug resistance.
  • Research experience preferably includes human cytomegalovirus, computational and technical skills including human cell culture, quantitative virology assays, DNA cloning for mutagenesis and expression studies, variant analysis of deep sequencing data, and drug interactions.
  • Ability to maintain extensive databases of specimens, DNA sequences and assay results.


Ability to read and interpret English language technical documents without difficulty, such as safety regulations, operating and maintenance instructions, research papers, and procedure manuals. Ability to write routine reports and make accurate entries in laboratory notebooks and databases. Efficient English verbal communication and understanding of experimental plans, procedures, observations, and results.


Ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide in all units of measure, using whole numbers, common fractions, and decimals. Ability to compute serial dilutions, mean, median, standard deviation, rate, ratio, and percent, and to draw and interpret line charts. Understanding of the meaning of units of concentration such as nanomolar and micromolar, their essential distinction and interconversion.


The job requires specialized computer skills which will be in constant use. Must be adept at using various applications including database, spreadsheet, word processing, and e-mail. Adept at using Microsoft office suite including Excel and Access, and specialized DNA sequence analysis software. Awareness of network-specific requirements for use of multi-user databases.


Ability to apply common sense in situations involving safety and integrity of persons, environment, materials, and data, commensurate with the required level of education and research experience. Sufficient understanding to carry out instructions competently, when furnished in written, oral, or diagram form at a level of detail expected for those with the required educational and technical background. Ability to deal with problems involving several concrete variables in standardized situations.


  • Security clearance: This research is conducted at a Federal facility and all employees must pass government screening procedures before being granted keycard access to premises. Start date of employment could be affected.
  • The primary job location is located on the VA Portland Health Care System campus.
  • New employees must submit COVID-19 vaccination documentation or seek an exemption within 8 weeks of beginning employment.

The Portland VA Research Foundation is an equal opportunity, affirmative action organization. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to status as a protected veteran or a qualified individual with a disability, or other protected status such as race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, or age. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of this position.

Please apply online at http://www.pvarf.org and include a CV and cover letter explaining your interest in the position. Cover letter should include a description of recent work history as it relates to the specific responsibilities in the job announcement.

Portland VA Research Foundation
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