Washington University of St. Louis Center for Cellular Imaging in St. Louis, Missouri

Job Type/Schedule

This position is full-time and works approximately 40 hours per week.

Department Name/Job Location

This position at the Center for Cellular Imaging is affiliated with the Departments of Neuroscience and Cell Biology & Physiology. This position is for the Medical School Campus.

Essential Functions


The Electron Microscopy Specialist works with other EM staff under the supervision of the Director in operation of the electron microscopy component of the Center for Cellular Imaging (http://wucci.wustl.edu/). The Washington University Center for Cellular Imaging (WUCCI) at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is a dynamic microscopy center whose mission is to provide reliable and affordable access to state-of-the-art imaging technologies and work collaboratively with Wash U researchers to advance our understanding of human health and disease. The Center houses a broad array of optical, electron, ion and x-ray microscopes as well as support facilities for tissue culture and sample preparation. The Center supports Wash U principal investigators by providing professional guidance in experimental design, sample preparation and data analysis as well as working to develop and apply new imaging technologies to problems of critical biological significance. The Electron Microscopy (EM) aspect of the center provides standard TEM and SEM evaluation of samples as well as 3-dimensional imaging of samples at the ultrastructural level via Focused Ion Beam-Scanning Electron Microscopy (FIB-SEM). The ideal candidate will, in consultation with the Center Director, contribute intellectually to the design and execution of research studies and participate in the publication of results. Prior experience with sample preparation for 3-dimensional imaging using FIB-SEM or array tomography approaches is highly desirable.


  1. Prepares samples for TEM, SEM and FIB-SEM and takes and analyzes images for University researchers. This will include acquiring and processing biological specimens with both chemical and cryo-fixation techniques, critical point drying, metal coating and immunocytochemical labeling of tissues and cell cultures using monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies by pre-embedding and post-embedding methods.
  2. Trains users in the use of imaging techniques for electron microscopy. This will include providing training to undergraduate, graduate, post-docs and research staff on center EM instrumentation (e.g. alignment of scope, specimen preparation), ultramicrotomes, computer-aided serial sectioning and reconstruction programs) as well as provide guidance and training on the appropriate use of data analysis packages and methods, micrograph production, and quantification of data.
  3. Performs complex analyses, experiments and project work that involve both advanced Transmission and Scanning EM and Focused Ion Beam (TEM, SEM and FIB-SEM) as well as the development of correlated light and electron microscopy (CLEM) methods under general direction of the PI. Serves as representative for PI and ensures procedures and protocols are adhered to consistently and effectively meet department’s standard. Exhibits a high degree of independent problem solving and ability to conduct research on assigned projects. May serve in lead role, as needed.
  4. Plans, develops, organizes and formalizes research results and findings. May develop for presentation and/or present on behalf of department. Conducts literature searches related to research projects. Writes/co-authors publications and/or papers supporting research findings in logical and sometimes multiple formats tailored to audiences. May participate in work related to grants.
  5. Solves practical problems relating to difficulty with equipment or test subjects. Suggests technical/ procedural improvements in various electron microscopic and ultrastructural imaging methods. Works to develop and optimize experimental procedures and protocols such as modification to immunoperoxidase and immunogold localization of proteins.
  6. Provides high level troubleshooting to advance process or lab procedures. As needed to support the research, searches out and evaluates new and innovative technologies in the electron microscopy field.
  7. Serves as department’s research representative and may participate in various related meetings and events. Gathers/delivers data/information and serves as subject matter expert. Performs statistical data analysis, as needed. Presents research information to internal and/or external audiences.
  8. Organizes and maintains required documentation on lab and/or specimen conditions, and can develop and summarize information into usable formats or presentations on behalf of the department. May communicate findings to various users or external audiences.
  9. Performs all related work in accordance with established protocols and safety/compliance requirements.
  10. Works with other center electron microscopy personnel to coordinate maintenance of the TEM, SEM, FIB-SEM and sample preparation equipment with manufacturers as well undertake as general lab maintenance such as maintaining reagent stocks and inventory of primary and secondary antibodies, seras, toxins and dyes.
  11. Performs other related duties as assigned or directed to meet the goals and objectives of the Center.

Required Qualifications

Master’s degree in a related field with 7 years of experience in a laboratory setting or equivalent combination of relevant education and work experience equaling at least 10 years.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Demonstrated skill in the operation of electron microscopes including scanning and transmission methods.
  • Prior experience with sample preparation for 3-dimensional imaging using FIB-SEM or array tomography approaches is highly desirable.
  • Understanding both the theory and practice of various immunochemical localization labeling techniques for scanning and transmission electron microscopy.
  • Working knowledge of immunofluorescence, immunoperidoxidase and immunogold labeling methods on semi- and ultrathin tissue sections and on tissue culture cells.
  • Proven organizational and time management skills to successfully set priorities, meet established deadlines and recognize new problems with constantly changing priorities and frequent interruptions.
  • Strong communication skills (both verbal and written) needed to interact professionally and effectively in the work environment.
  • Proven ability to perform minor maintenance and alignment of electron microscopes.
  • Master’s degree in biological sciences, biomedical engineering or related field with laboratory experience is strongly preferred.
  • Bachelor’s degree in biological sciences, or biomedical engineering or related field with at least three (3) years of experience spent working in a core facility or shared resource environment.
  • Proficiency in computer programming and analysis.

Salary Range

Base pay commensurate with experience.


This position is eligible for full-time benefits. Please visit our website at http://hr.wustl.edu to view a summary of benefits.

EOE Statement

Washington University is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, genetic information, disability, or protected veteran status.

Job Title: Research Specialist (Electron Microscopy) - Center for Cellular Imaging - 41174

Job ID: 41174

Location: Medical School

Full/Part Time: Full-Time

Regular/Temporary: Regular