Senior Research Associate - Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences

Title: Senior Research Associate

Date:  January 9, 2020

Department: Genetics and Genome Sciences

School: Medicine

Location: BRB747

Supervisor Name and Title: Dr. Drew Adams, Assistant Professor, Genetics and Genome Sciences


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Working with minimal supervision, the Senior Research Associate will provide synthetic chemistry support to the Adams Lab, whose focus is chemical biology and drug discovery. This position will provide essential organic synthesis support for a collaborative project seeking new therapeutics for Huntington’s Disease. The position requires PhD-level problem-solving skills in organic chemistry to enable independent completion of desired chemical targets. The senior research associate will work under the supervision of PI Adams and interact regularly with an interdisciplinary project team.  This person will supervise students and technicians.



    1. Ensure an exceptional standard for laboratory safety is followed by all chemists in the lab environment.  Regularly ensure that the lab space is in a position to pass regular spot-checks by the PI and/or EHS personnel.  (10%)
    2. Synthesize small molecule targets defined by the PI.  This task includes synthetic route development, troubleshooting of failed reactions, and route re-development as needed to complete the task with minimal supervision.  Exceptional problem-solving skills and a resilient personality are essential.  (50%)
    3. Thoroughly characterize newly-synthesized small molecules using a standard battery of analytical methods.  This may include 1H and 13C NMR, HRMS, LCMS and other approaches necessary to ensure that identity and purity are sufficient for use in biological assays and for ultimate inclusion in future scientific papers and patents.  (10%)
    4. Compile and analyze cellular testing data on synthesized targets into reports for discussion with the PI and the project team.  Leverage chemical understanding of structure-activity-relationships to independently suggest new targets, experiments, and directions for consideration by the PI and the broader project team.  (10%)
    5. Maintain accurate and complete records of experimental data, results, and all characterization data. Assist with all efforts to prepare manuscripts or patent filings detailing the molecules and their cellular results. (10%)
    6. Adopt new protocols, methods and techniques as required by research projects. Leverage the newly-implemented SciFinder-N software as a tool for route development and patent searching.  Must be highly motivated and a self-starter. (5%)
    7. May monitor laboratory budget. Maintain supply inventory, experiment equipment and overall organization to ensure project success. Participate in lab meetings, literature review meetings, and other lab events (5%)



  1. May co-author research papers.
  2. Perform other duties as assigned.



Department: Daily contact with PI Adams, Adams lab graduate students and post-doctoral fellows to help execute the desired assays. Regular contact with the Managing Director of the SMDD Core Facility for delivery of completed targets and status updates on cellular evaluation of targets.

University: Daily contact with support personnel, department assistants, and principal investigators from other departments and centers across the CWRU campus. Regular contact with a co-Principal Investigator in the Physiology Department to share latest data and discuss project progress.

External: Occasional contact with outside vendors as needed.

Students: Regular contact with student workers in the Adams Lab for general lab assistance.



This person will supervise one postdoctoral researcher in the Adams Lab and one undergraduate in the Adams Lab.



Experience:  3 to 5 years of related work experience.

Education/Licensing: PhD in organic chemistry



  1. Thorough mastery of standard concepts, transformations, and mechanisms in the field of organic chemistry.
  2. Thorough mastery of organic chemistry laboratory techniques, including but not limited to:  column chrromatography (manual and Biotage), working under inert atmosphere, handling of hazardous reagents, glove box,
  3. Thorough mastery of analytical techniques applicable to synthetic chemistry, including but not limited to 1D and 2D NMR analyses (1H, 13C, COSY, NOESY, HMBC, HSQC), TLC, IR, LCMS, HPLC, HRMS, etc.
  4. Thorough mastery of standard software packages used in organic synthesis, including ChemDraw, SciFinder, and Bruker/Varian NMR software packages. 
  5. Demonstrated problem-solving talent in the synthetic chemistry laboratory environment over a multi-year period.  Clear ability to overcome roadblocks and find alternate routes toward desired outcomes.  Resilient, dedicated personality required with high motivation to solve challenging problems.
  6. Excellent oral and written communication skills and interpersonal skills; must demonstrate the ability to effectively and professionally communicate and work with various individuals from a broad spectrum of disciplines, technical and educational backgrounds on the interdisciplinary project team, across the University, and with individuals outside the University.
  7. Strong interpersonal skills; ability to effectively work with various individuals throughout the department, School, University and individuals external to the University. Ability to work collaboratively as part of a fast-paced multidisciplinary team in order to achieve a goal or complete a task.
  8. Strong organization skills; must be detail oriented, possess the ability to multi-task, prioritize and meet deadlines, and demonstrate attention to accuracy and have the ability to keep accurate and complete records.
  9. Ability to problem-solve effectively, and demonstrate good analytical skills, good judgment and logical decision-making. 
  10. Ability to work independently with limited supervision.  Must demonstrate a strong work ethic, self -motivation, and a commitment to high quality.
  11. Ability to carry out complex research assignments of a non-routine nature, including devising new protocols and techniques for research projects involving a high degree of skill and training.
  12. Strong computer skills, including proficiency with Mac and/or Windows operating systems, Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint), and with internet navigation.  Ability to learn and apply software programs and applications as needed.
  13. Must demonstrate flexibility and ability to work under pressure; must be able and willing to work in a fast-paced, changing environment, and conform to shifting priorities, demands and timeline. 
  14. Willingness and ability to rely on and follow instructions and pre-established guidelines to perform the functions of the job.



Chemical laboratory environment. This position will have contact with or exposure to the following hazards: chemicals.  Chemical safety and general laboratory safety training is required and will be provided.  Appropriate personal protective equipment will be required, including gloves, lab coat and protective eyewear. 



In employment, as in education, Case Western Reserve University is committed to Equal Opportunity and Diversity.  Women, veterans, members of underrepresented minority groups, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.