Research Assistant

North Carolina State University - Beltsville, MD4.2

30+ days agoFull-time
The USDA-APHIS-PPQ-S&T CPHST Beltsville Laboratory mission is to provide federal confirmatory diagnostics for regulatory plant pests/pathogens; develop and validate advanced molecular and serological detection methods, and proficiency test (PT) panels for plant pests that threaten U.S. agriculture; evaluate applicability of new, state-of-the-art technologies and methodologies in support of the agency efforts.

Essential Job Duties
The incumbent will work under the general supervision of a Team/Project Leader to support the APHIS PPQ CPHST Beltsville Lab projects on developing and validation of molecular and biochemical methods or PT panels for diagnostics of regulatory plant pests/pathogens. As directed, the incumbent will conduct activities on next generation sequencing, or digital PCR, or development, evaluation, optimization and validation of molecular or serological assays, for screening and confirmatory identification of Oomycetes, fungi, bacteria, viruses or other plant pathogens. The incumbent will maintain culture, and document morphological (microscopy) and molecular (sequencing) characters of Oomycetes, fungi, bacteria, viruses or other plant pathogens. The incumbent will record details and results of experiments in an official laboratory notebook; enter data into computer programs; write data summary reports and research publications drafts. Work duties will also include any combination of the following general laboratory maintenance tasks: cleaning and maintaining glassware; preparing media and reagents; preparing agarose gels; restocking and maintaining supplies; autoclaving; operating and maintaining specialized equipment; maintaining greenhouse plants.

Please note that this position is located in Beltsville, MD.

Other Work/Responsibilities
The position will track reagents inventories and budget expenditures for the project; perform all research with adherence to the CPHST Beltsville Lab Quality Management System; and develop or revise work instructions or other QM documents. Complete all required technical, EEO and work safety training.

Other duties will also include any combination of the following general laboratory maintenance tasks:

Cleaning and maintaining glassware
Preparing media and reagents
Preparing agarose gels
Restocking and maintaining supplies
Operating and maintaining specialized equipment
Maintaining greenhouse plants
Additional responsibilities of preparing the shipments for all of the PT programs, on specified schedule. Incumbent assigned additional project on development of a method for a large-scale DNA preparation from PT panel material, in response to a growing demand for the HLB/P. ramorum reference material (validated positive controls) by the diagnostic labs. Responsible for the PT lab maintenance on a rotating basis, and the maintenance of the freeze-dry system. Help with other lab maintenance activities. Responsible for traceability files for both HLB and P.
ramorum PT Material.

Minimum Education/Experience
Master’s degree in plant pathology, microbiology or related field or a Bachelor’s of Science degree with at least 3 years of experience supporting relevant research.

Departmental Required Skills
Experience supporting relevant research.
Documented experience in molecular biology of microorganisms; computational biology/bioinformatics; genomic or plant DNA/RNA extraction; conventional and real-time PCR and RT-PCR analysis; gel electrophoresis; Oomycetes, fungi or bacterial culturing techniques; maintaining pathogen inoculated plants in greenhouse condition.
Attention to details, knowledge of GLP and QMS, SOP instructions and excellent technical skills.
Ability to plan and follow planned activities independently; working knowledge of Microsoft Office, good written and oral communication skills.
Preferred Experience, Skills, Training/Education
Master’s degree in plant pathology, microbiology or related field.
2+ years of experience of plant pathogen biology and/or detection, diagnostics of pathogens (fungi, bacteria, virus or nematodes).
Knowledge of plant pathogen biology and/or detection & diagnostics of pathogens (Oomycetes, fungi, bacteria, virus or nematodes) and experience with sequence analysis.
Required License or Certification

Special Instructions
Please attach a CV, cover letter, and contact information for three professional references.

Job Open Date 08/20/2018
Anticipated Closing Date Open Until Filled
Is this position partially or fully funded on ARRA stimulus monies? No
Proposed Hire Date 09/03/2018
NC State University is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as an individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran.

Individuals with disabilities requiring disability-related accommodations in the application and interview process, please call 919-515-3148.
Final candidates are subject to criminal & sex offender background checks. Some vacancies also require credit or motor vehicle checks. If highest degree is from an institution outside of the U.S., final candidates are required to have their degree verified at Degree must be obtained prior to start date.

NC State University participates in E-Verify. Federal law requires all employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all persons hired to work in the United States.