Senior Scientist - Hess Lab
Chevy Chase, MD 
Posted 12 days ago
Job Description
Primary Work Address: 19700 Helix Drive, Ashburn, VA, 20147

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Janelia Research Campus is a pioneering research center in Ashburn, Virginia, where scientists pursue fundamental questions in neuroscience and imaging. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) launched Janelia in 2006, establishing an intellectually distinctive environment for scientists to do creative, collaborative, hands-on work. Our integrated teams of biologists, computational scientists, and tool-builders pursue a small number of scientific questions with potential for transformative impact. We share our methods, results, and tools with the scientific community. It is a uniquely innovative and collaborative atmosphere that reflects HHMI's reputation for excellence.


Looking for a strong experimental physicist, microscopy/physicist or biophysicist. The ideal multifaceted scientist/engineer will have experience, deep understanding, and passion for putting together complex instrument/measurement systems. Work will be a hybrid of small team effort 2-3 people and individual sub-projects. We will work with other Janelia biologists, computer scientists, and chemists to establish relevance of new microscope technology and develop appropriate protocols. Above all, a hands-on passion and commitment to high standards of leading-edge science is a must.

The lab innovates both new forms of optical microscopy where unique photophysical properties can be exploited (e.g. 3D single molecule localization) and electron microscopy EM where larger 3D sample volumes of whole cells, tissues, and even whole fly brains are imaged. The combined frontiers of both drive innovation in correlative microscopy to put optically labeled proteins or other labels in the context of the complete whole cell EM ultrastructure. Success is measured by eventual biological relevance.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Draw from diverse disciplines to innovate and construct optical and electron microscopes that push the frontiers of 3D imaging of large volumes of biological samples. As an example, we have drawn from basic physics, photophysics, electron scattering Monte Carlo, optical and electron beam modeling, optics, cryogenic engineering, low temp physics, surface physics, math modeling, mechanical engineering, analog electronics, electron microscopy, optical microscopy, and systems engineering.


Education and Experience

  • Ph.D. degree in experimental physics, or system engineering. Requirements are not unlike those for faculty positions.

  • Experience having designed and built from scrap complex instruments (not necessarily microscopes) are a plus.

  • Broad range of scientific experience normally acquired through five to seven years in a senior research position.

Skills and Abilities

  • Ability to draw from basic physics/engineering principles to define a research or development directions that will benefit biologists.

  • Technical proficiency with diverse software tools, such as labview, mathlab/IDL, Python, 3D rendering, Zemax, Fiji which are used routinely.

  • Ability to work inclusively and collaboratively with a diverse population and the willingness to learn (will work alongside 2-3 others).

  • Hands on in lab.

Physical Requirements

Remaining in a normal seated or standing position for extended periods of time; reaching and grasping by extending hand(s) or arm(s); dexterity to manipulate objects with fingers, for example using a keyboard; communication skills using the spoken word; ability to see and hear within normal parameters; ability to move about workspace. The position requires mobility, including the ability to move materials weighing up to several pounds (such as a laptop computer or tablet). Work may involve possible exposure to malodorous vapors, low dose radiation, contamination by toxic chemicals and acids and presence of carcinogenic substances.

Persons with disabilities may be able to perform the essential duties of this position with reasonable accommodation. Requests for reasonable accommodation will be evaluated on an individual basis.

Please Note:

This job description sets forth the job's principal duties, responsibilities, and requirements; it should not be construed as an exhaustive statement, however. Unless they begin with the word "may," the Essential Duties and Responsibilities described above are "essential functions" of the job, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

HHMI is an Equal Opportunity Employer


Job Summary
Start Date
As soon as possible
Employment Term and Type
Regular, Full Time
Required Education
Required Experience
5 to 7 years
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