Research Technician --- Cancer Center
Massachusetts General Hospital(MGH)

Boston, Massachusetts

Posted in Health and Safety

Job Info


The MGH Special Processing Laboratory (SPL) provides pre-analytical laboratory services involved in preparing research samples obtained from patients enrolled in clinical trials of investigational cancer treatments for storage and shipment. The primary responsibilities of this position involve processing samples according to specific written procedures for short term storage until packaged for shipment to external laboratories. Additionally, the position assumes the overall responsibility for managing the storage of samples received by the SPL and executing their shipment to other facilities such as external sponsors, contracted reference laboratories, and other research laboratories at MGH.


Sample Processing Responsibilities:

  • Processes biological samples (i.e., blood, urine, saliva, bone marrow aspirate, cerebrospinal fluid, etc.) for short term storage according to specific written procedures.
    • Properly follows all Universal Precautions and utilizes Engineering Controls, Work Practices, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as listed in the laboratories Exposure Control Plan (ECP) and the MGH Biosafety Manual.
    • Completes required safety training annually and as required.
  • Ensures the accuracy and integrity of all data recorded to serve the mission of the SPL:
    • Enters all information for all samples submitted to the laboratory in a printed daily log form.
    • Transfer's data in the hard copy daily log form into an electronic sample receipt log.
    • Performs quality control on the hard copy/electronic sample log as required daily.
  • Transfer processed sample transport tubes into their designated locations in ultralow temperature freezers according to established standard operating procedures and freezer inventory logs.
  • Prepares and safely handles reagents used for processing biological samples for storage and shipment.
    • Properly follows all directives in the laboratory's Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP).
    • Has knowledge of a chemical's labeling and information found in the material safety data sheet (MSDS).
    • Performs inventory check of all chemicals, consumables, and other supplies within the laboratory routinely and communicates the ordering needs of the laboratory to appropriate personnel.
  • Transports research samples from clinical patient treatment areas within the hospital to the laboratory for processing.
    • Requires walking to and from other areas of the hospital.
    • Represents the SPL in a positive and professional manner when interacting with both collegial healthcare providers, patients, and the public.
  • Performs routine maintenance and cleaning of laboratory equipment according to standard operating procedures.
    • Monitors acceptable performance of SPL equipment.
    • Troubleshoots equipment issues as necessary.
    • Communicates any equipment issues to the appropriate personnel.
  • Assists with packaging samples required to be shipped from the SPL on the same day of collection (ambient, refrigerated, frozen).
  • Independently operates and works collaboratively with other laboratory personnel to effectively manage the daily activities of the SPL.
    • Monitors the SPL SharePoint Collection schedule and predicts/prepares requirements of scheduled protocol collections.
    • Processes research liquid biopsy collections in a timely and efficient manner.
    • Reviews and responds periodically to emails directed to the general shared email inbox of the SPL in a professional and timely manner.
  • Assists with or performs any other tasks as directed by senior staff in the laboratory.

Sample Packaging/Shipping Responsibilities:
  • Prepares a daily sample shipment schedule from information obtained from the daily specimen receipt log, SPL SharePoint Collection Schedule, and received laboratory requisitions.
    • Prioritizes the shipment of samples required to be shipped on the day of collection or at other designated frequencies (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.).
    • Effectively shifts prioritization of shipments based on daily received samples, needs of the department, and inventory of supplies.
  • Works in collaboration with SPL laboratory personnel to expedite the shipping of samples requiring to be immediately shipped (ambient, refrigerated, frozen day of collection samples).
    • Prepares required documentation
    • Performs sample preparation
    • Performs packaging and labeling
    • Effectively delegates tasks to others in the department
    • Serves as a resource to delegate
  • Prepares packages containing processed biological samples according to all standard operating procedures and regulations (i.e., IATA, DOT).
    • Monitors received requisitions and sample receipt records to identify stored samples that can be shipped.
    • Initiate's shipments following standard operating procedures, protocol specific procedure files, shipping instruction files, and other documentation resources prepared and provided by the SPL.
    • Assembles all materials required for packages to be shipped: shipping container, airway bill, requisition form, packaging inventory and/or shipping manifest, dry ice, cold packs, etc. as stated in departments internal procedures and reference materials.
    • Notifies the recipient or sponsor contact in advance of an impending shipment as required (typically through email communications).
  • Maintains accurate electronic and hard copy records of all samples required to be shipped from the SPL freezers.
    • Records entries in the SPL Sample Receipt Log to record the date of shipment/transfer, the number of samples shipped/transferred, and any additional pertinent information.
    • Extract's shipping instructions for samples from reference documents for each clinical trial and creates a comprehensive Shipping Instruction file for each study.
    • Accurately prepares sample shipping manifests (and other required documents as needed) for shipping samples to recipients.
    • Reviews, updates, and electronically files shipping documentation (such as laboratory requisitions, shipping manifests, processing records, etc.) provided by clinical teams with the submission of samples to SPL and/or prepared by SPL.
  • Monitors sample inventory utilizing documentation and resources in the department (i.e., sample receipt log) to ensure that the proper chain of custody is maintained on all samples through storage, packaging, and shipping.
    • Corrects any sample storage issues immediately.
    • Effectively communicates knowledge of any missing samples to the leadership of the SPL.
  • Communicates in a professional and timely manner with responsible personnel (i.e., CCPO colleagues, sponsor contacts, receiving facilities) for the purposes of:
    • Securing the necessary shipping supplies/materials.
    • Sending notifications of shipments to stakeholders.
    • Requesting any needed clarification for encountered issues.
    • Assisting with any queries from internal and external stakeholders related to shipping documentation.
  • Performs temperature monitoring, as needed troubleshooting, and required preventative maintenance of the SPL's Cold Storage Units.
    • Knowledgeable of the department's Temperature Monitoring of Cold Storage Units standard operating procedure and serves as a resource on the department's critical alert system call tree.
    • Responds to temperature issues timely and appropriately documenting the steps taken to ensure the integrity of all samples.
    • Escalates temperature monitoring issues to the leadership of the SPL. Contacts service if necessary, according to departments standard operating procedures.
    • If required, reports to campus to assist with the transfer of samples from a non-functional freezer to an operating freezer.
  • Monitors the inventory of the laboratories dry ice supply.
    • Manages orders from primary and secondary suppliers as needed.
    • Transfers dry ice from vendor supplied boxes to central dry ice box supplies (requires lifting boxes up to 50 pounds).
  • Transports packages to the MGH Mail Room for courier service pick up.
    • Requires walking to and from other areas of the hospital.
    • Requires lifting packages that are light to moderately heavy.
  • Assist with or perform any other tasks as directed by senior SPL staff.

  • Bachelor's degree in a physical or biomedical science is required.
  • New graduates with some lab experience (via course work, internships, etc.) or those without any prior research experience will be considered for the Research Technician I position outlined above.
  • Those with a minimum of 1 year of directly related work experience will be considered for a Research Technician II position.


not applicable

EEO Statement
Massachusetts General Hospital is an Equal Opportunity Employer. By embracing diverse skills, perspectives and ideas, we choose to lead. Applications from protected veterans and individuals with disabilities are strongly encouraged.

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