Durham, North Carolina

This Position is Fully Grant Funded

School of Medicine:


Established in 1930, Duke University School of Medicine is the youngest of the nation’s top medical schools. Ranked tenth among its peers, the School takes pride in being an inclusive community of outstanding learners, investigators, clinicians, and staff where traditional barriers are low, interdisciplinary collaboration is embraced, and great ideas accelerate translation of fundamental scientific discoveries to improve humanhealth locally and around the globe.


Comprised of 2,400 faculty physicians and researchers, the Duke University School of Medicine along with the Duke University School of Nursing and Duke University Health System create Duke Health. Duke Health is a world-class health care network. Founded in 1998 to provide efficient, responsive care, the health system offers a full network of health services and encompasses Duke University Hospital, Duke Regional Hospital, Duke Raleigh Hospital, Duke Primary Care, Private Diagnostic Clinic, Duke Home and Hospice, Duke Health and Wellness, and multiple affiliations.




Research Scientist

Saunders Lab



The Duke Human Vaccine Institute (DHVI) performs basic and translational research to fight against major infectious diseases. DHVI is seeking Research Associate Senior to join our team in developing vaccines for HIV and beta-coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV-2.  The Duke Human Vaccine Institute is an interdisciplinary, interdepartmental institute dedicated to the study of host-pathogen interactions that can be translated into biologics and vaccines. DHVI is composed of a team of highly interactive investigators that have expertise in mucosal and systemic immunology, virology, molecular and structural biology, computational biology, and animal medicine. With these expertises, the DHVI is working collaboratoratively to develop vaccines and countermeasures against pathogens like HIV, SARS-CoV-2, and influenza.



  • Independently design and execute complex scientific projects within the Saunders laboratory. Serve as the point person for assigned projects and coordinate collaborative science among investigators within DHVI and externally to effectively meet the scientific milestones and project deadlines. These activities may entail interpretation of new data and optimization of new assays.
  • Optimize protein purification strategies for research-grade vaccine constructs destined for preclinical vaccine studies. This work will include resin screening and buffer optimization.
  • Express and purify viral proteins, nanoparticles, antibodies, and host proteins by transient transfection, lentiviral transduction, or stable cell line generation.
  • Construct conjugate nanoparticle immunogens using conjugation methods developed in the lab.
  • Perform liter scale cell culture.
  • Adapt and optimize transient transfection cell lines to various culture conditions for improved protein expression.
  • Work independently to characterize the biochemical nature and antigenicity of recombinant viral proteins. Immunoassays will include flow cytometry, biolayer interferometry, surface plasmon resonance, Luminex, and ELISA. Protein characterization assays will include analytical size exclusion chromatography, SDS-PAGE, Western blots, and nanoDSF.
  • Analyses of DNA and protein sequences.
  • Provide guidance and oversight to junior scientists.
  • Accurately document research experiments in a laboratory notebook.
  • Perform preventative maintenance on laboratory equipment as required.
  • Perform other related duties to maintain laboratory operations as necessary and requested.
  • Read scientific literature to increase scientific knowledge about current and future projects.



  • A Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate in biological science, chemistry, or related field is required
  • A minimum of 5 years of related laboratory experience including basic molecular and cellular biology techniques such as molecular cloning, PCR, DNA mutagenesis, and tissue culture
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Must be team oriented and able to work effectively in a highly collaborative work environment.
  • Must be able to manage multiple and rapidly changing priorities and have the ability to learn and apply new skills and concepts.
  • Must be detail-oriented and well-organized.


Duke is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual's age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.


Duke aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas—an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values.


Essential Physical Job Functions: Certain jobs at Duke University and Duke University Health System may include essentialjob functions that require specific physical and/or mental abilities. Additional information and provision for requests for reasonable accommodation will be provided by each hiring department.


Durham, North Carolina

As a world-class academic and health care system, Duke Health strives to transform medicine and health locally and globally through innovative scientific research, rapid translation of breakthrough discoveries, educating future clinical and scientific leaders, advocating and practicing evidence-based medicine to improve community health, and leading efforts to eliminate health inequalities.

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