Biology: Digital Image Analysis Technician RSA

Department and Code: Biology - 982                                   

Immediate Supervisor: Jonathan Fitz Gerald

AsureForce Supervisor: Sarah Hasty

Office Location: FJ 158         

Number of Student Associates in Position: 1

General Description of Position:


Digital microscopy is currently at the forefront of biological research.  The Department of Biology seeks to strengthen Rhodes College microscopy resources with a student associate who will act as a Digital Imaging and Analysis (DIA) Technician.  This associate will work in conjunction with faculty on research projects and in lab courses that employ microscopy and digital analysis.
Digital microscopy is a two-step process.  The first step is acquiring the image itself.  This is almost an ‘artistic’ element of biological research and the skill to capture a great image is gained through continuous use of the microscope.  The second step is computer-based analysis.  The exact analysis required will vary depending on the type of image and the goal of the study.  Often, getting the best possible result begins with knowing a wide range of techniques and discerning the best method suited to a particular application.  Digital imaging thus becomes a challenge both in research and in the classroom if microscopy is only used sporadically in conjunction with other methods.
To combat this challenge, the Department of Biology proposes to centralize our core imaging facilities. The DIA technician will be trained on our current imaging systems and data analysis software.  The DIA technician will then act in a support role for departmental microscopy needs. Faculty who require microscopy or other digital analysis for research projects will be able to utilize the skills of the DIA technician.  When lab courses employ microscopy, the DIA technician will be available to set up imaging systems and ensure that students can obtain results. As this position requires the development and application of specialized technological skills, it is beyond the scope and responsibility of the typical work study student and should be commensurate with the pay proposed for the RSAP.
Benefit to the Student Associate
The training and experience that the DIA technician will receive is unavailable to many undergraduates. This will be extremely valuable towards seeking positions in graduate research programs, biotechnology or other careers.  In addition, five Department of Biology faculty have expressed interest in the services of a student imaging specialist.  Therefore the DIA technician will benefit from exposure to multiple types of projects and biological topics. By working in conjunction with faculty on research projects, the DIA technician will also gain an appreciation for the research endeavor and the possibility for co-authorship on faculty publications.  The DIA Technician will also acquire tutoring experience by working in the classroom and training others.
Student Associate Responsibilities
The primary responsibilities of the DIA Technician will be to:
            -employ digital microscopy techniques for faculty projects
            -acquire publication-quality digital images
            -conduct quantitative analyses on digital images
            -keep records of experimental imaging data
            -conduct monthly operations checks on imaging equipment
-train research and lab students in the use of imaging systems
-develop standard imaging protocols for faculty and student use
The DIA Technician will also be expected to help with the preparation of lab activities when imaging techniques are used, and to test new software and techniques that become available to remain fluent in their knowledge of imaging and analysis.

Minimum Qualifications


The position requires a person with demonstrated aptitude in a laboratory setting such as that exemplified by success in an introductory biology, physics or chemistry laboratory course.  It is desirable that the candidate has demonstrated aptitude in computers or mathematics.

Preferred Qualifications


.  The ideal candidate will be independent and capable of setting his/her own schedule, prioritizing tasks, and identifying routine and specific tasks that need to be done within the framework of the job description.

Physical Demands: any heavy lifting, moving heavy objects, or long periods of sitting or standing. Make sure your job description is as ADA friendly as possible. Does your job require maneuvering of stairs or other unique physical requirements?


The only rigorous aspect of this position is that it sometimes entails long periods sitting at the microscope in collecting images and other data.