Posted: Oct 14, 2022

Director, Mass Spectrometry

Application Deadline: N/A
Non-Profit Research

Janelia Research Campus is a pioneering research center in Ashburn, Virginia, where scientists pursue fundamental questions in neuroscience and imaging. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) launched Janelia in 2006, establishing an intellectually distinctive environment for scientists to do creative, collaborative, hands-on work.   Our integrated teams of biologists, computational scientists, and tool-builders pursue a small number of scientific questions with potential for transformative impact.  We share our methods, results, and tools with the scientific community.  It is a uniquely innovative and collaborative atmosphere that reflects HHMI’s reputation for excellence.

We are seeking a leader in the application of Mass Spectrometry for biological questions to design, develop, and implement a world-class Mass Spectrometry shared resource at Janelia. This is an opportunity to build our Mass Spectrometry capability from the ground up. While you will be the first to establish Mass Spectrometry at Janelia, you will be joined and supported by colleagues all interested in your success, from existing shared resources (across many disciplines of biological, imaging, instrument and software development, and leadership), research labs and team projects, and our excellent administrative team. We expect the leader to be intellectually involved in collaborations with other Janelia scientists and teams. We have established this technology-pushing and leadership approach in many Janelia shared resources, including CryoEM, instrument development, software, and others.

Janelia is a unique institute that has shared resources and service groups that augment the efforts of the research labs and project teams, providing access to specialized equipment and expertise that is shared between groups, and offering laboratory- and technology-based services which allow our researchers to focus on new horizons and challenging unanswered questions. The Director of Mass Spectrometry will collaborate closely with our researchers and external advisors to understand the goals and directions of their research, guiding their own work toward ensuring progress toward those goals. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Design, implement, and maintain a new Mass Spectrometry facility, including specifying and implementing all equipment necessary for mass spectrometry sample prep, data collection, and analysis with emphasis on proteomics, lipidomics, glycobiology, and metabolomics.

  • Interactive engagement with researchers to develop appropriate strategies and approaches

  • Understanding of the entire pipeline from research question to sample preparation, to analysis of mass spec results and ability to communicate appropriately with different researchers to serve their needs

  • There is potential for this position to hire and manage technical and scientific staff.

  • Oversee repair work and manage major service contracts for facility.

  • Train new users in the operation of the equipment where appropriate. This will require the manager to be an expert in the equipment and its use and have an effective training program.

  • Working independently or in support of facility users, perform expert data collection, processing, and analysis tasks including establishing technique-dependent data analysis work flows (e.g., proximity labeling and cross-linking Mass Spectrometry1).

  • Implement, utilize, and maintain user policies, scheduling systems and booking mechanisms. The Mass Spectrometry facility will primarily be utilized by researchers at Janelia and may open to outside collaborations in the future. 

  • Implement a web page and forum for informational updates and user discussions. We have good resources and examples to assist in this effort.

  • Implement a system for charging back user departments for use of Mass Spectrometry services.  This involves tracking usage and labor time and generating work orders for direct billing at the department level. 

    • Manager’s time is not tracked. Priorities will be to provide excellent services, collaborate on new solutions, and develop improved capabilities.

  • Work with users, staff, and Janelia leadership to effectively manage and communicate priorities amongst the various users.

  • Maintain and contribute to a state-of-the-art facility by attending meetings, conferences, and staying abreast of literature in the Mass Spectrometry field.

  • Implement new tools, techniques, software, and hardware as they become available and as appropriate to user needs. Identify and implement areas for innovation. Some of these innovations could lead the facility into techniques that are complementary to Mass Spectrometry.

  • Work closely with other Scientific Operations (SciOps) managers to enable scientific workflows across multiple shared resources.

  • Ensure services provided by the department staff meet high standards of scientific rigor with appropriate quality control.

  • Ensure data produced from services by the department staff is of high quality and efficiently transferred to requesters.

  • Presents oral and written reports concerning the progress of projects and services. This will include the assembly, organization, and interpretation of data.

  • Develop, track, and report metrics and quality control measures to evaluate the success and opportunities to improve departmental services.

  • Perform other duties as assigned.

The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications:


  • Ph.D. in Chemistry, Physics, Biophysics, Biochemistry, or equivalent experience


  • 5 years of experience in the field of Mass Spectrometry

  • In-depth knowledge of all aspects of Mass Spectrometry analysis for biological applications

  • Expertise in sample preparation methods for Mass Spec

  • Experience working in an active laboratory environment and working with cutting-edge scientific technology/equipment.

  • Experience in setting up, maintaining and using appropriate database and analysis software

  • Experience with other technologies related to protein sequencing a plus

Skills and Abilities:

  • Knowledge of analysis algorithms and proficiency in the use of common data processing packages

  • Ability to utilize, customize, and specify improvements to instrument system software applications

  • Ability to guide the work of others and effectively manage staff if necessary

  • Ability to track time, usage, and effort, for the purpose of charging user departments for facility services

  • Ability to work independently and plan work without direct supervision

  • Ability to effectively prioritize, perform, and manage multiple projects and tasks

  • Ability to interact with research and management personnel at all levels

  • Ability to provide equipment users with a safe work environment

  • Good working knowledge of analysis software. 

    • Scripting, computer programming and compiling of software a plus

  • Excellent interpersonal, management, and teaching skills required

  • Demonstrated enthusiasm for challenging problems and innovative solutions.

  • Must be organized, and able to clearly document work

  • Detail oriented


Physical Requirements:

Remaining in a normal seated or standing position for extended periods of time; reaching and grasping by extending hand(s) or arm(s); dexterity to manipulate objects with fingers, for example using a keyboard; communication skills using the spoken word; ability to see and hear within normal parameters; ability to move about workspace. The position requires mobility, including the ability to move materials weighing up to several pounds (such as a laptop computer or tablet).


Persons with disabilities may be able to perform the essential duties of this position with reasonable accommodation. Requests for reasonable accommodation will be evaluated on an individual basis.

Please Note:
This job description sets forth the job’s principal duties, responsibilities, and requirements; it should not be construed as an exhaustive statement, however.  Unless they begin with the word “may,” the Essential Duties and Responsibilities described above are “essential functions” of the job, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Compensation and Benefits
Our employees are compensated from a total rewards perspective in many ways for their contributions to our mission, including competitive pay, exceptional health benefits, retirement plans, time off, and a range of recognition and wellness programs. Visit our Benefits at HHMI site to learn more.