Vanderbilt University Research Assistant III - Pharmacology in Nashville, Tennessee

Research Assistant III - Pharmacology (Job Number: 1800135)


About the Position:

The Department of Pharmacology is seeking a Research Assistant III to assist Dr. Professor Spiller in his laboratory. The Spiller lab is a structural biology lab focused on infectious disease and the host’s immune response. The job requires considerable ability to work independently but also involves working directly with Dr. Spiller and other lab members to help determine crystal structures. The candidate will be expected to interact professionally with other lab members. More information about the Department of Pharmacology can be found at .

About Vanderbilt University:

Vanderbilt is a renowned private institution founded in 1873 located a little more than a mile from downtown Nashville, TN. The university’s students, faculty, staff and visitors frequently cite Nashville as one of the perks of Vanderbilt. VU is a place where your expertise will be valued, your knowledge expanded and your abilities challenged. It is a place where your diversity is sought and celebrated. It is a place where employees know they are part of something that is bigger than themselves, take exceptional pride in their work and never settle for what was good enough yesterday. Vanderbilt was recently ranked #1 in the Princeton Review at among 382 top colleges and universities for “happiest students” - as well as #2 for “best quality of life” and “great financial aid,” #5 for “best run colleges” and “beautiful campus,” and #6 for both being in a “college city that students love” and having “great campus/city relations.”


Molecular Biology

  • Design and create new protein constructs for crystallization trials.

  • Optimize protein expression of new protein constructs.

Protein Purification

  • Design and carry out experiments on the basis of discussed plans with Dr. Spiller

  • Analyze chromatography experiments.


  • Design and carry out high throughput crystallization trials

  • Optimize crystallization conditions

  • Harvest and cryoprotect crystals

Crystal Structure Determination

  • Familiarity with modern structure determination methods and software is desired. Examples of frequently used software are Coot and Phenix.

  • Design and carry out high throughput crystallization trials

Maintenance of equipment

  • Respond to problems with major items of equipment within the laboratory.

  • Monitor performance of major equipment

  • Order parts and fix the above equipment when practical

  • Contact outside service representatives and coordinate repairs when in-house repair is not possible

Ordering and administration

  • Maintain inventory of required chemicals and other reagents

  • Identify commercial suppliers for new reagents

  • Place orders

  • Track progress of orders

  • Reconcile discrepancies with orders

Teach new lab members proper use of laboratory equipment


  • Degree in Biochemistry, Chemistry, or related field preferred

  • 5 or more years of laboratory experience preferred

  • Experience with protein purification

  • Experience with protein crystallization and crystal structure determination


In addition to offering a lively community that encourages learning and celebrates diversity, VU offers a competitive, flexible benefits package including health, dental, vision, life, accidental death & dismemberment, disability insurance, paid time off, and a 403(b) retirement plan with employer match. Vanderbilt offers tuition assistance to employees, spouses and dependent children. Also, after five years of service, Vanderbilt will pay up to 55% of the tuition for up to three dependent children to earn a bachelor's degree. Learn more about Vanderbilt's benefits at VU Benefits Overview at

Job requires a Bachelors degree and 4 years of experience or the equivalent.

Primary Location: United States-Tennessee-Nashville

Organization: 18360 - Pharmacology

Job: Research / Lab Tech / Paraprofessional