Research Associate - Pathology

Date: July 2021

Title: Research Associate

Department: Pathology

School: Medicine

Location: Institute of Pathology, 2085 Adelbert Road, Cleveland, OH 44106

Supervisor Name and Title: Wenquan Zou, MD/PhD, Professor



The responsibilities of the Research Associate (RA) include: planning and executing between 3-4 projects under supervision of PI from CWRU. Working under general supervision, the Research Associate will plan and carry out research projects in accordance with general plans focused on understanding the pathogeneses and improving the early diagnoses of neurodegenerative diseases including prion diseases, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. This individual will perform research experiments independently including one and two-dimensional Western blotting, immunohistochemistry, cell culture, animal models, aggregation-seeding activity, and microscopy. Data will be collected and recorded in lab computers for statistical analyses and this individual will contribute to the generation of data figures for grant submissions and publication of manuscripts, as well as present data at group meetings. This individual will proactively follow their job duties while adhering to and ensuring ethical compliance with all legal regulations. They will also ensure strict adherence to all safety guidelines while dealing with hazardous substances, animal subject- and human subject-derived materials in the lab. The RA will be involved in animal work, which involves monitoring movement and behavior disorders in mouse models with prion diseases, Parkinson’s disease, or Alzheimer’s disease twice a week. The RA will euthanize mice carbon dioxide gas and sacrifice mice at different time points to collect brain and skin samples for RT-QuIC and PMCA assays. In the meanwhile, some autopsy brain tissues from cadavers with prion diseases, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease will be characterized and cultured cell models for these diseases will be also investigated independently.

In addition to these scientific responsibilities, the RA will also work in collaboration with faculty members to write and apply for research grants as a Co-I or collaborator. The grant applications will require advanced planning of the projects and their administrative aspects.



1.   Plan and carry out research work in accordance with lab plans set up by the principal investigator. Experiments may include Western blotting, immunohistochemistry, real-time quaking-induced conversion assay, protein misfolding cyclic amplification assay, ELISA, tissue culture, common molecular biology techniques and in vivo studies using animals. (70%)

2.   Conduct a series of experiments to supply scientific information as part of a larger project. Studies include but are not limited to analysis of seeding activity of misfolded proteins with RT-QuIC and sPMCA in animal and human autopsy samples, culture of cell lines, Western blotting, ELISA, DNA and RNA isolation, PCR, immunofluorescence, transfections, generation of retroviral and lentiviral vectors as well as transduction of mammalian cells using these vectors, gene silencing, immunoblots and immunoprecipitation. (15%)

3.   Assist in developing improved techniques, projection methods or procedures in selection of cell lines, authentication, metabolic aspects on neurodegenerative diseases to entail optimization of established protocols. (5%).



  1. Collect and analyze data. Provide data in a presentable format for use by the principal investigator as they generate annual reports for granting agencies, manuscripts, and grant and pilot applications. Manage individual experiments, reporting these in a consistent fashion and in a timely manner, managing issues of the scientific method including positive and negative controls. (5%)
  2. Work with new staff regarding standard laboratory policies as well as basic biochemistry research techniques. (3%)
  3. Perform other duties as assigned. (2%)



Department: Daily contact with supervisor to discuss research and maintain workflow

University: Occasional contact with other departments to share information and help enable collaborations. Limited interaction with regulatory components (IACUC, IBC, IRB)

External: Occasional contact with vendors to procure supplies

Students: Occasional contact with student employees to explain policies and procedures and ensure proper adherence to all legal, health and safety standards



This position has no direct supervision of staff employees but may train new staff and direct the work of students.



Education: PhD degree in molecular biology, neurodegenerative diseases, cell biology, or related field.

Experience: 2-3 years of related experience in molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, animal study, prion diseases, and other neurodegenerative diseases.



  1. Has knowledge of commonly-used concepts, practices, and procedures within pathology.
  2. Relies on instructions and pre-established guidelines to perform the functions of the job.
  3. Ability to operate laboratory equipment.
  4. Ability to meet consistent attendance.
  5. Ability to interact with colleagues, supervisors and customers face to face.
  6. Must demonstrate compliance with university animal research and care (ARC) policies and procedures and compliance to regulations of the Animal Welfare Act, Public Health Service Policy, AAALAC guidelines and other applicable regulatory guidelines.
  7. Must demonstrate compassion for animals within university facilities and dedication to the Animal Resource Center’s mission. Must always handle animals with care and respect.
  8. Must be able and willing to learn new techniques, procedures, processes, and computer gear to protect the health of the animals.
  9. Previous experience working with animals preferred.
  10. Strong molecular biology skills (PCR, Western blots, Retroviral/Lentiviral constructs).
  11. Strong organizational skills and good habit of maintain a clean lab working environment; demonstrate attention to detail and accuracy, time management skills, and proven ability to successfully follow-through on assigned projects.
  12. Professional and effective verbal and written communication skills and good interpersonal skills with the ability to work and communicate with various individuals within and external to the university.
  13. Ability to work effectively independently and collaboratively within a team (must be highly motivated, responsible, dependable, and a self-starter).
  14. Ability to work with sensitive information and maintain confidentiality.
  15. Proficiency in Microsoft Office and GraphPad Prism is preferred. Experience using Adobe Photoshop, and Illustrator.
  16. Must have the ability to maintain meticulous, complete, and easily retrievable laboratory data.
  17. Must have the ability to willingly learn new techniques and procedures as needed, follow established protocols or laboratory procedures, and request clarification if necessary.



General laboratory environment. May have exposure to chemicals., bloodborne pathogens, repetitive motion, fumes, dust, pesticides or herbicides, animals, and select agents. The employee will be provided with protective eyewear, lab coat, and appropriate gloves. The employee will need to be able to balance, bend/stoop, climb stairs, crawl, crouch, climb ladders, kneel, keyboard/ type, push/ pull, reach, reach above shoulder, perform repetitive motion, squat, and use computer mouse.

Case Western Reserve University’s animal facilities are accredited by the Association for the Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) and is managed according to the “Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals” appropriate Federal Animal Welfare Regulations, and the Public Health Service “Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.” This position, and all animal research personnel, are subject to internal compliance to SOM Animal Resource Center Standard Operating Procedures and to compliance regulations of the Animal Welfare Act, Public Health Service Policy, AAALAC guidelines, the State of Ohio Veterinary Practice Act, Federal Drug Enforcement Administration regulatory guidelines, US Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine regulations and other applicable regulatory guidelines.



Applicants may send inquiries containing a Curriculum Vitae (CV) with a list of publications and contact information with 2-3 references to Wenquan Zou at


Case Western Reserve University strives to maintain a diverse and inclusive work environment and is committed to Equal Opportunity and Diversity. All applicants are protected under Federal law from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, and genetics.



Case Western Reserve provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. Applicants requiring a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact the Office of Equity by phone at 216.368.3066 or by email at Determinations as to granting reasonable accommodations for any applicant will be made on a case-by-case basis.