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You are here: The Job Explorer > Job Description > Research/Laboratory Assistant

Research/Laboratory Assistant Duties and Responsibilities

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Purpose of Classification:

Assists researchers in performing a variety of routine or repetitive technical duties in a laboratory and/or on a research project. Incumbents draw largely upon their practical knowledge and experience derived from trial and error work.

Distinguishing Characteristics:

This is third in a series of seven classifications and is distinguished from the Research/Laboratory Aide in that incumbents spend the majority of their time, if not all of it, performing technical duties while the Research/Laboratory Aide spends at least half their time in glass washing and non-technical duties. At this level, a thorough knowledge of theory is not required. Incumbents may be assigned to one of various types of research areas such as social or physical sciences or other specialized research fields. Incumbents may be required to travel to remote locations to perform research experiments and may be required to work with potentially hazardous materials such as toxic chemicals, radiation and/or disease causing organisms.

Examples of Duties:

  • Performs standard laboratory procedures such as maintaining cell cultures requiring the use of sterile technique, processing tissue samples and preparing slides using staining techniques.
  • Maintains plant collections, which includes planting, fertilizing, propagating and harvesting; performs routine experiments and analyses, as requested.
  • Maintains animal or insect colonies, including feeding, watering, sexing and breeding the subjects.
  • Compiles data and assists in routine preliminary analyses; maintains research data in laboratory notebook; writes summary reports and reports findings to investigator.
  • Assists in performing surgeries and dissections on animals, which includes setting up equipment and supplies, preparing animals for surgery, anesthetizing and monitoring heart rate of animal, and harvesting tissue samples and readily accessible organs.
  • Collects samples or data and performs lab analysis and/or quantifies and tabulates results.
  • Operates laboratory and experimental equipment such as microtomes, microscopes, electron microscopes, spectrophotometers, centrifuges, analytical balances, photometers and spectrometers; makes minor repairs and makes arrangements for major repairs to be performed.
  • Organizes supplies, materials or equipment and sets-up equipment for laboratory experiments or demonstrations; may perform minor equipment maintenance.
  • Maintains detailed records of controlled substances in the laboratory; packages waste material and arranges for disposal according to established procedures.
  • Assists with basic mathematical and statistical analyses.
  • Follows established procedures to prepare solutions, media and reagents using arithmetical calculations for measuring; performs library research to find appropriate procedures, as required.
  • Cleans glassware and other laboratory equipment or materials using appropriate standards; keeps laboratory area clean.
  • Performs clerical tasks such as filing, typing, labeling and billing; inventories and requisitions supplies and materials.
  • Assists in training Research Laboratory Glassware Attendants and/or students working in the laboratory.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Knowledge of the methods, materials and techniques used in laboratory and research work.
  • Knowledge of research and laboratory equipment appropriate to the area of the assignment.
  • Skill in both verbal and written communication.
  • Skill in recording research data.

Minimum Qualifications:

Three years' related laboratory or field research experience; OR, Any equivalent combination of experience and/or education from which comparable knowledge, skills and abilities have been achieved.


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