Research Specialist & Contract Research

Research Specialist & Contract Research

Description Summary 

This is a full-time, non-exempt position. The job responsibilities include conducting algal cultivation research in  house and under any of the grants to which Cyanotech Corporation has been awarded. The individual reports to  Cyanotech’s Director of Applied Research. The individual is responsible for growing algae at laboratory and  minipond scales; collecting and interpreting growth and algal quality data as required by the research; processing  samples of various types from the cultures and preparing/shipping them for analysis by internal and external  providers as required; identifying, isolating, and performing analyses on eukaryotic pests and weeds that appear  in the cultures; participating in regularly-scheduled conference calls and other communications related to the  research; preparing and submitting regular reports to the research team and to others within and external to  Cyanotech Corporation as required; assisting the Director of Applied Research in maintaining inventory of  supplies, and preparing formal and informal reports of investigations for internal and external use, including scientific publication of grant-funded research.

Supervisory Responsibilities 

This is not a supervisory position.

Essential Job Responsibilities 

  • Maintains inventory of materials required for research activities by R&D; works with the Director of Applied Research to ensure that stocks are procured as required and in a timely manner.
  • Maintains laboratory stock cultures of algae, including source stocks for production cultures and stocks of algae used in research, and also elements of the microbial community associated with algal cultures  that are under investigation.
  • Performs work required to rear algae at intermediate scale (miniponds, photobioreactors, and similar culture vessels), including media preparation, scaling of laboratory cultures to appropriate volume for intermediate-scale inoculation, preparing the intermediate-scale vessels to receive culture, and maintaining those vessels.
  • Samples cultures on a regular basis, and conducts analyses on those samples (e.g., density, growth rate, ash-free dry weight, photosynthetic efficiency, quality parameters) as required.
  • Prepares samples for research by other laboratories (e.g., for metagenomic analyses of pond content) as required, and sends these out in a regular and timely manner.
  • Works with the Director of Applied Research to assemble teams to accomplish the above tasks as and when needed.
  • Learns to recognize eukaryotic pests and weeds, isolates these contaminants into culture when feasible, and conducts microscopic and DNA-based procedures to identify and characterize them, and assess their impacts on the algae assigned.
  • Keeps impeccable and secure laboratory notes; shares these notes as appropriate with the Director of Applied Research and with project team members.

Form#RD & C1 Rev #3 6/21/2022

  • Communicates regularly with team members, and with other stakeholders as required by individual  projects and as advised by the Director of Applied Research.
  • Prepares reports to be shared among team members and others, as above. In the case of externally funded research projects, assists the Director of Applied Research with reports and presentations, and attends meetings sponsored by the funder.
  • Works effectively with other personnel in the R&D Department.

Other Duties 

  • Complies with GMP and safety guidelines in all work duties. Helps maintain a safe laboratory.
  • Performs all necessary tasks as directed by the supervisor. Works with the Director of Applied Research to ensure that tasks associated with Cyanotech’s core mission, and tasks that are externally funded, are  charged to the appropriate budgets.
  • Performs other duties that may be assigned, under the condition described above.

Physical Demands 

This position requires standing and working at a lab bench as well as sitting at a computer. Must be able to walk on uneven surfaces safely and climb tall platform ladders. May include occasional lifting up to 50 pounds.

Working Conditions 

The work is performed inside under laboratory conditions, and outside in a sunny warm climate. Position requires  some handling of chemicals, with appropriate personal protective equipment. Protection from sun exposure may be required.


  • Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology, Biology, Chemistry, Agriculture, Marine Science or relevant discipline.
  • Two or more years of lab experience and/or experience in algal production or aquaculture. Experience with molecular biology (DNA) theory and techniques desirable.
  • Ability to work efficiently, cooperatively, and with strong personal integrity in a fast-paced manufacturing  environment that has proprietary information to safeguard.
  • Proficiency in math and PC-based computer applications including Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook.
  • Strong math and statistics skills.
  • Strong problem-solving aptitude.
  • Ability to multi-task and adapt to changes in work assignments.
  • Ability to work independently as well as part of a team.
  • Strong verbal, written and interpersonal skills, as well as analytical testing skills.
  • Able to perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.

Management reserves the right to change this job with or without notice.

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