Conservation Genetics Research Scientist/Lab Manager

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Vancouver Aquarium, an Ocean Wise Initiative, is a globally recognized leader in connecting people to our natural world. As a not-for-profit organization, our team contributes to meaningful work that matters.

We take pride in the steps we take towards conserving aquatic life every day. Our focus on engaging visitors, connecting students, facilitating direct action and understanding the world around us contributes to protecting our world’s oceans.

ROLE OVERVIEW

The Conservation Genetics Research Scientist/Lab Manager is responsible for conducting original conservation-oriented molecular genetics-based research on marine mammals and for managing technical, operational and budgetary aspects of the Conservation Genetics Laboratory. Duties include planning research projects, performing various molecular analyses, analyzing data, managing specimen and supplies inventories, ensuring that laboratory equipment is maintained and calibrated, writing and publishing papers, and preparing grant applications. They also train and supervise technicians, students, and volunteers and in addition to the scientific literature, presents findings via conferences, media interviews, blogs and social media.

The Scientist/Manager is a member of Marine Mammal Research Program, a core element of the Coastal Ocean Research Institute–which is in turn part of the Ocean Wise Conservation Association. As such, they are responsible for communicating with, supporting and representing all three entities.

KEY ACCOUNTABILITIES

Actively participates in the successful design, execution and reporting of findings of conservation oriented lab research projects on marine mammals by:

  • Managing research projects from conceptualization through execution and publication;
  • Extracting DNA, conducting genetic analyses and analyzing and interpreting data;
  • Researching and developing new, specialized techniques to perform novel experiments;
  • Summarizing data results using appropriate statistical methods;
  • Preparing scientific papers for publication;
  • Assisting students, technicians and other genetics lab users by teaching techniques and trouble-shooting;
  • Supervising projects of graduate students with respect to technical advice, experimental design, and interpretation of results/analysis;
  • Consulting with collaborators at other institutions to provide technical advice and analysis support;
  • Working closely with the Ocean Pollution Research Program’s Research Manager to maintain sample and chemical inventories, maintain equipment and dispose of wastes properly;
  • Ensuring that all genetics lab users follow safety standards and procedures;
  • Overseeing the use, maintenance and purchase of laboratory equipment and supplies;
  • Preparing and submitting grant applications and writing grant reports;
  • Writing blogs, newsletter articles and material for public distribution;
  • Assisting with the planning and coordinating of conferences and workshops.

Provides administrative assistance to Marine Mammal Research Team by:

  • Representing the Marine Mammals Research team at internal meetings;
  • Budgeting and monitoring lab expenses;
  • Helping obtain necessary licenses, animal care approvals, research permits and certifications;
  • Maintaining files and databases;
  • Assisting in developing and maintaining contacts with representatives of a variety of organizations, agencies and institutions.

Positively represents Ocean Wise and the Coastal Ocean Research Institute at public events by:

  • Making public presentations on research and conservation;
  • Responding to enquiries for technical information from both the public and the media.

General

  • Continually improving our impact on the environment and greening of operations through support of EMS protocols;
  • Maintaining and supporting organizational and laboratory safety standards;
  • Abiding by all organizational policies and procedures;
  • Performing other duties of a similar nature or level.

QUALIFICATIONS

Education, Experience, and Certifications Required

  • (or MSc with min. 5 years of relevant experience) in molecular genetics, population genetics or a related field;
  • Experience conducting laboratory studies in molecular genetics
  • A demonstrated record of publishing scientific manuscripts in peer-reviewed scientific journals;
  • Experience in delivering scientific and technical presentations to peers at scientific meetings;
  • WHIMIS certificate or ability to obtain the same;
  • Transportation of Dangerous Goods certificate or ability to obtain same;
  • Supervisory experience an asset;
  • BC driver’s license required;
  • Marine mammal research experience an asset.

Skills

  • Strong competency in genetic and molecular analysis techniques;
  • Intermediate skills in word processing, and excellent skills in database and spreadsheet software;
  • Intermediate skills in R, with desire to advance those skills as needed for analysis;
  • Sound judgment, discretion and confidentiality. Able to exercise tact and diplomacy in dealing with staff, Board Members, representatives of agencies and institutions and members of the public;
  • Good public speaking skills;
  • Ability to work both independently and in a team environment;
  • Excellent project management and time management skills, with the ability to keep on task with strategic items while managing day-to-day responsibilities;
  • Ability to multi-task with keen attention to detail;
  • Strong written, verbal communication and organizational skills;
  • Ability to manage a safe and productive research laboratory with minimal supervision;
  • Active demonstration of Ocean Wise’s core values and mission.

Working Conditions

  • Works in an open-concept office or in a laboratory based in West Vancouver;
  • The incumbent will be exposed to a variety of hazardous products which requires the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the safe operation of a fume hood;
  • Job requires the ability to stand for up to an hour at a time;
  • The incumbent must be able to safely lift and move objects weighing up to 10kg on a daily basis and 20kg occasionally;
  • Occasionally travels to attend off-site meetings and presentations;
  • Occasionally works evenings or weekends;
  • May have occasional opportunities for boat-based fieldwork, which would include the risk of exposure to heat or cold stress as well as exposure to slippery conditions and uneven, non-stable surfaces.

Job Type: Full-time

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