Clinical Research Assistant I/II

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Clinical Research Assistant I/II

Date Posted May 25, 2017
Job Type Regular
Hours Per Week 30-40
PAVIR Job ID YES1703.17
Salary Range DOE


The Palo Alto Veterans Institute for Research (PAVIR) is seeking a Clinical Research Assistant position in the Yesavage lab, which is part of the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System and Stanford University. The Research Assistant will assist in conducting human clinical research studies on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) prevention under the direction of the Supervisor – Dr. Joy Taylor.

The Research Assistant will support research to understand the full spectrum of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) from its earliest stages. The study participants are older adults with normal cognition, mild cognitive impairment, or Alzheimer’s dementia who have volunteered to undergo repeated MRI, PET, neuropsychological measures, and blood and CSF biomarkers.  These ongoing studies are part of an international network of sites looking at the relationships between cognitive, neuroimaging, genetic and biomarker data. Future research studies will focus on the treatment of AD at an early stage.

This is a regular, full time (30-40 hours/week – negotiable), non-exempt (hourly-paid) position.

PAVIR is a nonprofit foundation affiliated with the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS). As a condition of employment, all PAVIR employees are required to have an approved appointment with VAPAHCS and complete a background check before they can commence work.


  • Test research participants: Administer neuropsychological tests, questionnaires, and collect medical information according to the study protocols;
  • Assist in Study Coordination: Schedule study procedures, which may include MRI brain scan, PET scans, physician assessment, electrocardiogram(ECG), blood draw, and lumbar puncture; Coordinate schedules with members of research team. Handle study correspondence; Maintain participants study binders, progress notes, and study logs.
  • Enter data in databases and upload data: Accurately score neuropsychological (NP) tests. Enter NP and other study data into EDC; Upload brain imaging files and source documents to the data coordinating site;
  • Assist with brain scans: Accompany study volunteers to PET and MRI centers; Coordinate and assist in pre-scan safety screening for participant’s safety and comfort and for research integrity;
  • Collect vital signs (blood pressure, pulse) via an electronic vital sign monitor and compute Body Mass Index;
  • Facilitate collection of blood and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers: Accompany study volunteers to clinical research unit for yearly blood draws and for biennial lumbar punctures performed by the study physician. Handle human specimens including tubes of blood, CSF, and screening urine sample. Package and ship samples for processing per the research protocol;
  • Manage and maintain scientific and regulatory files: Maintain IRB approval. Keep the Study Regulatory Binder up to date. Perform online literature searches (Endnote and PDFs); Assist in preparing grant proposals and articles for publication, including tables and graphs;
  • Provide backup to other research staff (especially to RA working on a clinical research study of whether an investigational drug can slow AD-related memory decline and neurodegeneration); Provide general clerical assistance when needed, e.g. answer phones, greet subjects; photocopy study forms.



Required: Bachelor degree (or equivalent combination of education, training and experience) in Human Biology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Psychology, or a related field.


Required: at least 6 months of related experience; Previous experience with subject recruitment in a research environment;

Desired: 12 months or more of related experience.

Knowledge / Skills / Abilities:

  • Highly reliable with demonstrated organizational ability;
  • Accurate record keeping and attention to detail;
  • Experience with elderly, cognitively impaired, anxious, and/or difficult subjects highly desired;
  • Research experience in psychological test administration highly desired;
  • Knowledge of standard concepts, practices, and procedures within the research field gained through education or experience;
  • Ability to understand and follow VA regulations and procedures regarding research;
  • Knowledge of medical terms and abbreviations relevant to obtaining and coding medical history desired;
  • Exposure to brain imaging modalities desired;
  • Effective communication skills, both orally and in writing;
  • Basic math/statistical skills;
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Outlook, and Excel;
  • Experience in database management or experience using statistical programs desired;
  • Familiarity with PowerPoint, FileMaker Pro and Endnote desired.

Environmental Conditions / Physical Demands:

Physical: Frequently stand, walk, and sit to perform desk based computer tasks; meet with study subjects. Must be able to sit and stand for long periods of time. Occasionally lift, carry, push, pull objects that weigh up to 15 lbs. Will encounter occasional patients who are anxious and/or difficult.

Environmental: Exposure to office and hospital/clinical environment. Exposure to office and imaging (i.e. MRI and PET centers) equipment. Some exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

PAVIR engages in nonprofit medical research and works with sponsors and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) in administering funds for conducting research to find new and improved ways to combat human disease and help people with disabilities. Please refer to our website for additional information:

PAVIR is pleased to be an Equal Opportunity Employer for Minorities, Females, Protected Veterans, and Qualified Individuals with a Disability. If you need special assistance or an accommodation to apply for a posted position, please contact – Human Resources department.


  • Medical Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Life Insurance – paid by PAVIR
  • Long-term Disability Insurance – paid by PAVIR
  • Short-term Disability Insurance – paid by PAVIR
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Vacation
  • Sick Leave
  • Holidays
  • 401(k) Retirement Plan with Company Match and Profit Share
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Commuter Benefits
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