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Department: 111801 - Entomology and Plant Pathology
Location: Beltsville, MD
Essential Job Duties:
Project Title: Development and validation of advanced methods for detection and identification of plant quarantine pathogens.
The Research Scholar position will conduct independent and original research in support of APHISPPQCPHST Beltsville Laboratory mission on development of advanced diagnostics for viral plant pathogens of regulatory importance. The diagnostic technologies include PCR, RT-PCR and real-time PCR, Isothermal Amplification-based assays, Next-generation-sequencing, whole genome sequence analysis and methods for sample preparation. Methods developed will be used by federal regulatory surveillance and eradication programs. The incumbent, under the guidance of a Section Supervisor or Team leader, will receive input from stakeholders, review available literature, select the appropriate technology and develop a work plan with detailed experimental parts. The incumbent will execute the project, collect and analyze data according to the QMS guidance. The incumbent is expected to prepare progress and validation reports on a specific schedule. When needed, the incumbent will work on a technology transfer and/or provide training to diagnosticians from inside PPQ or outside laboratories. The research will be informed by other similar technologies under development at the APHISPPQCPHST Beltsville Laboratory and the incumbent will be expected to present research findings at professional meetings and to extend these findings to key stakeholders, including plant protection officials at state and federal agencies. The incumbent will provide confirmatory routine and non-routine diagnostic or support other lab activities as directed by the Supervisor.
The position is based at the CPHST Beltsville Laboratory in Beltsville, MD.
The Research Scholar is also expected to manage these aspects of the assigned project(s); track budget expenditures for the project work; perform all research with adherence to the APHISPPQCPHST Beltsville Laboratory Quality Management System; and develop work instructions for the use of these diagnostic platforms by field personnel.
The incumbent may also oversee day to day activities of a research assistant or biological laboratory technician, and/or provide training to lab personnel.
Relevant Ph.D degree (or relevant terminal degree), or relevant Master’s degree with at least 5 years of formal post-degree professional work experience. In rare instances, an individual with a comparable professional experience but less than a master’s degree, plus 8 years of exceptional relevant professional experience. May require terminal degree and licensure.
Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
Proficiency in Microsoft office and sequence analysis software.
Attention to details and excellent technical skills.
Ability to plan and follow planned activities independently.
PhD in Plant Pathology, Virology, Molecular Biology, Microbiology, or other closely allied fields.
Experience with development and optimization of conventional PCR and/or real-time PCR, LAMP or serological diagnostic assays; high-throughput sequencing (HTS) and DNA sequence analysis and pathogen biology of viral plant pathogens.
Experience with diagnostic platform adaptation or evaluation and experience with laboratory procedures of applicable molecular biology and techniques as well as experience with experimental design.
Experience in plant pathogen or clinical diagnostics; attention to details; keeping good records, working with regulated organisms and under permitting conditions.
Required license or certification:
Position Number: 00107389
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