Cowan Lab

The Cowan laboratory ( at Harvard University is seeking a highly motivated, bright, organized individual to join our ongoing efforts to understand the molecular underpinnings of metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and coronary artery disease (CAD). Metabolic diseases such as T2DM and CAD are responsible for an increasingly large burden of morbidity and mortality worldwide, afflicting hundreds of millions of people. Our lab combines cutting-edge genomic and proteomic techniques with animal and cell culture models. The Cowan lab is also a core part of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University.

The Research Assistant will be supervised, but will be expected to organize work flow and perform experiments independently. The research assistant will be expected to develop proficiency in molecular biology techniques, flow cytometry, histology, mammalian cell culture, and animal studies. Responsibilities will also include maintenance of mouse colonies, including basic husbandry, genotyping of mouse strains, and assistance with cell and tissue harvesting and analysis and transplantation and engraftment experiments in mice.

  • Assist with animal husbandry (breeding and weaning of mice). Screen offspring of several mouse strains by preparing genomic DNA and performing PCR, or by isolating blood cells and performing flow cytometry.
  • Maintain accurate, detailed, and up-to-date records concerning mouse colonies and manage replacement of breeding animals to ensure propagation of the lines.
  • Isolate cells and tissues from experimental animals, and prepare these cells for subsequent analysis by flow cytometry, molecular analysis, immunohistochemistry, cell culture, or transplantation.
  • Isolate cells from human tissue samples, and prepare these cells for subsequent analysis by flow cytometry, molecular analysis, immunohistochemistry, cell culture, or transplant.
  • Culture human pluripotent stem cells and directed differentiations using sterile technique and monitor cultures regularly. Prepare cells for subsequent analysis such as PCR screening and flow cytometry. Prior experience with stem cells is a plus.
  • Assist with experimental procedures involving mice, including irradiation, cell transplantation, and injection of soluble factors, as well as routine monitoring for health and surgical procedures.
  • Maintain accurate, detailed, and up-to-date records regarding all procedures performed and results obtained.
  • Ensure safe laboratory practices and compliance with institutional research guidelines.
  • Bachelors degree, preferably with formal study in biological sciences, biochemistry, molecular biology, or related discipline; MA or MS in these areas will also be considered.
  • Significant previous undergraduate or post-graduate lab experience, particularly with animal husbandry, molecular biology (PCR), and/or mammalian cell culture. Laboratory work undertaken as part of an introductory survey course in college is insufficient. (As a rough estimate, the successful applicant will have spent greater than 500 hours working in a laboratory setting.)
  • The successful applicant will be energetic, inquisitive, highly motivated, and responsible.
  • S/he must have very strong organizational and communication skills, an ability to recognize and prioritize responsibilities, and the ability to work hard both independently and collaboratively.
  • Must have a working knowledge of cellular and molecular biology (both principles and techniques) and the ability to apply this knowledge.
  • Must be willing to work extensively with animals and animal and human tissues.
  • College transcripts and letters of reference will be needed upon request.

Please submit a cover letter and your CV to Dr. Xiao Han,


Harvard University is an Equal Opportunity Employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status or any other status protected by law.


See also: Job Opportunity