Research Associate – Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Specialist

POSITION TITLE  Research Associate – Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Specialist
DEPARTMENT  Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute
EMPLOYMENT TYPE  Temporary Full-Time
HOURS OF WORK  37.5 hours per week. Due to the nature of the role, additional hours may be required.
REPORTS TO  Anne-Claude Gingras


We are seeking a Research Associate (Molecular Biology and Biochemistry specialist) to support the CoVaRR-Net program. The CoVaRR-Net program is a newly formed pan-Canadian rapid response network to monitor and characterize SARS-CoV-2 variants. The program is led by Marc-André Langlois at the University of Ottawa, and is organized around eight thematic pillars, each led by a faculty member. A position is available for a talented Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Specialist (equivalent to a Research Associate position) to help to develop and disseminate reagents and perform critical assays for the CoVaRR-Net program. The successful applicant will be based in Toronto. The current funding allows for a contract of 1 year.

The Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Specialist will report to Prof. Anne-Claude Gingras at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute (, lead of the “Functional Genomics and Structure-Function of VOCs Pillar”. The Specialist will work as part of this Pillar which is co-led by Profs Jason Moffat (UofToronto), James Rini (UofToronto) and Nozomu Yachie (UBC).

The Gingras lab is part of the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute’s Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology group ( whose faculty members are internationally renowned for their work in signalling networks, cancer and developmental biology, structural biology, imaging, high- throughput screening and proteomics. The Institute provides a research-intensive environment with modern and cutting-edge core facilities that include robotics, proteomics and imaging that drive technology development (Network Biology Collaborative Centre, NBCC; Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute labs engage in productive collaborations within the Institute, Sinai Health System, the larger University of Toronto community, and beyond. The University of Toronto has one of the most concentrated biomedical research communities in the world, including 9 academic hospital research institutes that are fully affiliated with the University.



 CoVaRR-Net relies on synergies and efficient communications across all pillars, with other members of the scientific community and with government bodies, to ensure a rapid response to the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concerns (VOCs).

The mission of the “Functional Genomics and Structure-Function of VOCs Pillar” is to accelerate the functional and structural characterization of SARS-CoV-2 variants (i.e. protein mutants) through: a) the generation of synthetic sequences corresponding to each of the variants being tested; b) the transfer of these sequences into appropriate expression vectors for immediate sharing with the Canadian community; c) the purification of recombinant proteins (small scale) for testing variant function in vitro (e.g. binding to the host receptor), and d) the rapid dissemination of resources, protocols and knowledge to the scientific community.

The Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Specialist will have a key role in supporting the activities of the pillar, including, but not limited to:

  • design and synthesis of sequences corresponding to the prioritized variants and cloning them into entry vectors;
  • deposition of the constructs and maps in the CoVaRR-Net biobank, and in public resources available outside of Canada;
  • subcloning of the variants into relevant expression vectors as selected by the Pillar lead and co-leads;
  • production (small scale) of proteins in mammalian cells or other expression systems;
  • purification (small scale) of proteins for testing;
  • execution of binding assays and other biochemical and biophysical assays that can provide information on VOCs;
  • communication of all results to members of the pillar and external collaborators;
  • assisting with preparation of the results for publication or reports to government bodies.



  • Ph.D. in biochemistry, molecular genetics, molecular biology or a related speciality
  • Strong publication record
  • Demonstrated proficiency in molecular biology (recombinant DNA cloning, vector design, etc.)
  • Demonstrated proficiency in protein expression, protein purification (protein purification from mammalian cells is an asset)
  • Experience with other cell culture systems, immunological methods, and biochemical and biophysical methods is an asset
  • Competency in conducting literature reviews, research design, research methods, managing data, data analysis, knowledge translation
  • Must be able to exercise good judgment, exercise considerable independence, take initiative and possess strong interpersonal skills
  • Must possess excellent communication skills (verbal, written and presentation) and be comfortable engaging and exchanging information with members of the network


Application Instructions

Apply through Interfolio (

1) Please include a cover letter outlining how you meet the qualifications for this position and why you would be an ideal candidate.

2) Provide a CV or biosketch.

3) Provide the name and contact information for three individuals that can provide a letter of recommendation on your behalf.

Posting open until April 15. We thank all candidates for applying. Only those selected for an interview will be contacted.