Laboratory Scientist / HLA Technical and Technology Development Specialist

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Vancouver General Hospital

The HLA Laboratory at Vancouver General Hospital is seeking a highly motivated individual to join the team as a Laboratory Scientist. This provincial laboratory provides high complexity testing to support all solid organ transplant programs and bone marrow transplant programs in British Columbia in the areas of HLA genotyping, flow cytometric analysis, and antibody detection on solid state platforms. The HLA Laboratory is also highly engaged in education and research through affiliation with the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine.

Position Description:

Reporting to the Medical Director of the HLA Laboratory, the Laboratory Scientist will have key responsibility in three main areas: (1) oversee the technical and scientific programs and processes of the laboratory to ensure that these are current, appropriate and compliant with national and international standards and best practices; (2) develop, validate and translate emergent histocompatibility, immunogenetics and other assays to meet the clinical needs of solid organ and bone marrow transplant programs and of other programs for which the laboratory provides analytical services; (3) establish a quality control program that is appropriate for the methodology, analysis, and reporting of each test performed.

Specific Responsibilities:

1. Technical Supervision and Scientific Oversight

  • Working on-site in the laboratory, be available to provide technical consultations and troubleshooting as necessary
  • Determine the appropriate test for different clinical indications and support the laboratory personnel in ensuring the optimal performance of these tests
  • Establish the performance characteristics and appropriate controls for each test and test system used in the laboratory
  • Oversee the laboratory’s participation in ASHI-approved proficiency testing programs
  • Troubleshoot and resolve technical issues that arise and ensure corrective actions are implemented when test systems deviate from established performance characteristics
  • Oversee the validation, quality, and maintenance of established assays and instruments in the laboratory

2. Development of Emergent Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Assays

  • Identify emergent techniques and technologies that are appropriate for the needs of solid organ and bone marrow transplant programs, focusing specifically on the development and translation of rapid high-resolution HLA genotyping methods, donor-recipient epitope compatibility assessments, and precision immune monitoring tools
  • Work with all relevant parties and stakeholders to develop, direct, implement, and validate new histocompatibility assays to serve the unmet needs of clinical transplant programs
  • Establish the test characteristics and performance of new assays including precision, accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity. Determine the appropriate controls and normal ranges of the established tests.
  • Once a new assay is validated and ready for translation, submit a validation package to the appropriate regulatory bodies for approval and lead in-service training and education for laboratory personnel who will perform the assay
  • Provide expert advice and consultation once a new assay is implemented and be involved in all modifications to approved assays including data interpretation, troubleshooting and optimization of sample preparation and experimental design, and quality management for procedures and assays.

3. Establishing a quality control program appropriate for the testing performed

  • Ensure that the established test performance characteristics are maintained throughout the entire testing process
  • When deviations occur, work together with the QA officer to establish and implement a corrective action plan to resolve technical and quality control problems in a timely fashion
  • Oversee the sourcing and storage of reagents and establish appropriate maintenance of laboratory instruments
  • Identify training needs and implement appropriate education sessions and tools for laboratory personnel
  • Ensure that laboratory staff meet the minimum requirements of continuing education and technical standards as outlined by relevant regulatory bodies


  • A level of education, training, and experience equivalent to a PHD degree or higher, in a relevant discipline
  • A minimum of two years of experience in an HLA laboratory or related field
  • A minimum of five years of experience with molecular testing methods
  • Ability to work independently and communicate effectively with all groups of professional and technical staff, faculty and trainees through both oral and written communication
  • Strong ability to manage and monitor operations to effectively resolve problems, challenges or issues
  • Ability to exercise tact, diplomacy and discretion and demonstrate a strong sense of responsibility and the highest level of professionalism

Preference will be given to candidates who have prior work experience and qualification in supervising the technical aspects, quality control, and research and development of novel technologies in a laboratory accredited by the American Society of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics. Vancouver General Hospital hires on the basis of merit and is committed to employment equity. We encourage all qualified persons to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority.

Interested candidates are invited to submit a letter of interest, their curriculum vitae, and three letters of reference to:

Dr. David Schaeffer
Head and Medical Director, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Vancouver General Hospital
910 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

For additional information, please contact:
Dr. James Lan
Medical Director, HLA Laboratory, Vancouver General Hospital
(604) 875-4111 ext. 66830

Application deadline: Until position filled.