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RESEARCH & DEV ENGINEER III, Cryo-EM Facility Team Leader

Req ID:  10603
Date:  Oct 23, 2019

Durham, NC, US, 27710

Personnel Area:  UNIVERSITY

Duke University:


Duke University was created in 1924 through an indenture of trust by James Buchanan Duke. Today, Duke is regarded as one of America’s leading research universities. Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke is positioned in the heart of the Research Triangle, which is ranked annually as one of the best places in the country to work and live. Duke has more than 15,000 students who study and conduct research in its 10 undergraduate, graduate and professional schools. With about 40,000 employees, Duke is the third largest private employer in North Carolina, and it now has international programs in more than 150 countries.



Cryo-EM Facility Team Leader

Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility


Occupational Summary

The Cryo-EM Facility Team Leader will manage and oversee the operation of Duke University’s expanding, state-of-the-art cryo-electron microscopy facility. The facility contains a Titan Krios microscope equipped with Falcon3 and K3 detectors, and an energy filter for research that includes single particle EM and cryo-electron tomography. The Cryo-EM Facility Team Leader will be responsible for managing the daily operation and maintenance of the Cryo-TEM instrument(s) and associated sample preparation equipment in the Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility (SMIF) of Duke University. The team leader will work with the research community to provide training, guidance and consultation to users of the Cryo-TEM and associated sample preparation equipment to produce world-class results, and will work with our computing team to ensure a seamless interface between data collection and data processing.

Duke University and the surrounding Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina is an up and coming hotbed for cryo-EM based research.   Cryo-EM instruments (Articas, Talos) have been recently installed at nearby institutions, and recent publications and notable faculty and scientist hires at Duke and the surrounding institutions have quickly put this area on the map.   The Duke Cryo-EM Facility Team Leader will play a vital role in contributing to this growing environment and will have opportunities to interact with local Cryo-EM community experts, to attend key EM conferences, and implement cutting-edge EM techniques in our facility.   Current Cryo-EM based research at Duke includes the pursuit of an HIV-1 vaccine, studies of ion channels in cell membranes, GPCR structures, and RNA polymerase, as well as development of new cryo-EM image processing and data analysis.


Work Performed

Manage and operate the Cryo-TEM instrument(s) and associated sample preparation equipment of SMIF on a day-to-day basis, including equipment operation and maintenance, and user training.

Establish and implement maintenance procedures and schedules.  Conduct microscope alignments and performance checks to ensure that the Cryo-TEM is operating at peak performance. 

Interface and coordinate with research teams to work together to meet research goals. Develop processes and techniques as required to meet research goals. Provide instruction, assistance, and consultation to faculty, students, staff members, and outside researchers regarding all equipment and processes related to the Cryo TEM and associated sample prep equipment.

Perform or oversee Cryo TEM sample preparation services using a Vitrobot or other cryo preparation equipment. Perform or oversee sample imaging and data collection on a Titan Krios Cryo TEM for faculty, students, staff members, and outside researchers.

Perform triage on equipment failures; fix equipment when appropriate; coordinate service with vendors when needed.  Provide resolution of technical problems related to the Cryo TEM and associated sample prep equipment.

Lead in the creation and maintenance of operating procedures and other documentation.  Coordinate and maintain lab supplies inventory required for operations of the Cryo-TEM and associated sample preparation laboratories.

Perform other related duties incidental to the work described herein.

The above statements describe the general nature and level of work being performed by individuals assigned to this classification. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and duties required of personnel so classified.

Job Responsibility Areas

  • Equipment Set-Up and Operation (33%)
  • Equipment Maintenance and Performance Verification (33%)
  • User Scheduling, Training and Assistance (33%)


Departmental Preferences


Requires a minimum of a Bachelor's degree (advanced degree preferred) in a Biological or Medical related science or engineering discipline.  Preference will be given to candidates holding a Ph.D degree and post-doctoral experience in cryo-EM.  Work requires a working knowledge of Cryo Transmission Electron Microscopy and associated sample preparation techniques.



Work requires four years of related Cryo-TEM or biological TEM   experience.   A relevant advanced degree can be counted toward the experience requirement.


Must be skilled in operating and maintaining a transmission electron microscope (TEM) and preparing biological samples and/or Cryo TEM samples for TEM imaging.  Good interpersonal and communication skills are essential.  Must have the ability to work with and train students, faculty, and co-workers.  Must have knowledge of word processing and spreadsheets, and be able to type correspondence and to log in data.  Must be able to organize data and be willing to work with the SMIF Director in managing and maintaining the laboratory.

The intent of this job description is to provide a representative and level of the types of duties and responsibilities that will be required of positions given this title and shall not be construed as a declaration of the total of the specific duties and responsibilities of any particular position. Employees may be directed to perform job-related tasks other than those specifically presented in this description.


Minimum Qualifications




Work requires a thorough knowledge of the principles of engineering and related natural sciences acquired through completion of a Bachelor's degree program in an Engineering science or a related natural science such as Physics or Chemistry. Due to professional exemption, equivalent experience cannot be substituted for bachelor's degree.




Work requires four years related experience such as an Engineer sufficient to acquire competency in the application of knowledge in the related Engineering field. A master's degree in an Engineering science or a related natural science may offset two years of experience.OR AN EQUIVALENT COMBINATION OF RELEVANT EDUCATION AND/OR EXPERIENCE.


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.


Nearest Major Market: Durham
Nearest Secondary Market: Raleigh