Careers in Science: Academic Core Facilities

Supported by Nikon Instruments, Inc.


Josh Rappoport, Core Facility Director, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine – Managing a research core

Maddy Parsons, PI and Facility Director, King’s College London – Core facility interactions with academics

Joe Dragavon, University of Colorado – Importance of core facilities in research

Caroline Hookway, Allen Institute – Careers and opportunities in a core facility


Core facilities are centralized technology platforms that maintain and support equipment (such as microscopes, FACS, mass spec and genomics instruments) and provide specialized services and expertise. A core facility career provides an exciting and interesting option for scientists wanting to remain in the lab without embarking on the academic tenure-track route. Careers in core facilities are different from those in a research lab; they are essential service centers for the research community, providing broad access to complex, expensive equipment. This session provides an overview of how core facilities work, roles available within them for scientists at every level, and how to make you competitive for these positions. Four short talks covering different aspects of core facilities will be followed by an interactive Q&A session. This session took place at the 2019 ASCB|EMBO Meeting in San Diego, CA.


  1. Learn what core facilities do and how they can help researchers.
  2. Understand what it means to be part of a core facility operating team.
  3. Learn what skills you need/will gain as part of a core facility team.
  4. Know how to start a career in core facilities and the pathway for career advancement.

Part of the “What Cell Biology Career is Right for You?” Video Series

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About the Author:

This post was collaboratively written by several ASCB staff members.