Research Technician, Sculpting Evolution

by Jessica Sisavath

Sept. 9, 2020

Job Description

The Sculpting Evolution research group at the MIT Media Lab harnesses the power of evolution and automation to create new tools useful for science and humanity and invents new ways of engineering self-replicating systems, including but not limited to gene drive elements capable of altering wild populations. By ensuring that candidate gene drives are developed transparently and responsively from project inception, we hope to catalyze a shift towards community-guided research that will change the relationship between science, society, and the natural world.

Sculpting Evolution is looking for a research technician to assist with projects aiming to improve cellular incorporation of non-canonical amino acids to generate better therapeutics, understand the evolutionary dynamics of gene drive systems by studying their activity in nematode worms, preventing Lyme disease by immunizing the white-footed mice responsible for infecting most ticks, and developing non-drive genetic population suppression mechanisms for rodents.


The research technician will work on a variety of collaborative projects in the Media Lab’s Sculpting Evolution research group and provide support for the laboratory as a whole. Primary responsibilities will include standard molecular biology tasks such as cloning DNA constructs, nematode worm experimentation and strain maintenance, mammalian tissue culture, and laboratory upkeep.  Specific duties will include:

-       Conducting tests and experiments in bacteria, worms, and/or tissue cultures

-       Collecting and analyzing data

-       Recording experimental methods

-       Operating and maintaining computer and lab equipment

-       Maintaining laboratory supplies and stocks

-       Submitting reports

-       Making recommendations to solve problems

Under supervision, the research technician may construct and test gene drive systems using appropriate multilevel confinement. Some projects may be transitioned into live mice, but prior experience working with animals is not required.

Depending on background, the research technician may occasionally provide technical training to students and other staff, and is likely to be involved in manuscript preparation.

The research technician will be expected to participate in molecular cloning for all projects in the lab and/or focus on nematode husbandry.

This is a one-year position with possibility of extension based on funding and direction and progress of the research.

Supervision Received:

Reports to Prof. Kevin Esvelt and Research Scientist, Stephen Von Stetina

Supervision Exercised:




·       High School diploma

·       Extensive familiarity with molecular biology and microbiology experiments in a research lab


·       B.A. or B.S. in a related field;

·       Technical training from a biotechnology certificate program

·       Prior experience with nematode husbandry/microinjection

·       Prior experience working with mammalian tissue culture

·       Prior experience working with CRISPR genome editing

Prior experience with Python

To apply, go to and search for job ID#18939.

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