Research Assistant
Beltsville, MD 
Posted 8 days ago
Job Description
Posting Information

Vacancy Type EHRA Non-Faculty
Is Internal Transfer Only No
Working Title Research Assistant
Salary Range
Anticipated Hiring Range Commensurate with Experience
Position Number 00107548
Work Schedule Monday - Friday / 8:00 am - 5:00 pm (occasional longer work days or Saturday, in case of emergency)
Full Time Equivalent (FTE) 1.00
Department 111801 - Entomology and Plant Pathology
Department Entomology and Plant Pathology
Job City & State Beltsville, MD
Primary Function of Organizational Unit

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

Project Title: Development and validation of advanced methods for detection and identification of plant quarantine pathogens.

The Research Assistant 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 methods for diagnostics of regulatory plant pests/pathogens. As directed, the incumbent will conduct activities on high-throughput sequencing (HTS) and the development, evaluation, optimization and validation of molecular assays for identification of Oomycetes, or fungi. A fully trained candidate will be expected to be able to carry out high quality DNA extractions, prepare amplified template libraries for high-throughput sequencing, carry out DNA sequencing on Sanger, and on HTS DNA analyzers, check inventory and replenish consumable sequencing supplies, follow SOPs and guidance of supervisors. The incumbent will record details and results of experiments in an official laboratory notebook; enter data into computer programs; write data summary reports. 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.

Please note that this position is based at the CPHST Beltsville Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland.

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.

Minimum Education/Experience

Master’s degree in plant pathology, microbiology or related field or a relevant Bachelor’s degree with at least 3 years of relevant experience, or relevant independent experience and education.

Departmental Required Skills
  • Knowledge and experience of DNA & RNA isolation techniques, working with cloning kits, library preparation for High Throughput Sequencing (HTS) and Thermo cycler application.
  • Documented experience in molecular biology of microorganisms; computational biology/bioinformatics; conventional and real-time PCR and RT-PCR analysis; gel electrophoresis; Oomycetes, fungi or bacterial culturing techniques.
  • 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
  • At least 2 years of experience (including Master’s degree) of plant pathogen biology and/or detection, diagnostics of pathogens (fungi, bacteria, virus or nematodes).
  • Knowledge of plant pathogen biology and/or detection and/or diagnostics of pathogens (Oomycetes, fungi, bacteria, virus or nematodes) and experience with sequencing and sequence analysis is preferred.
Required License or Certification


Special Instructions

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

Job Open Date 05/07/2019
Anticipated Closing Date
Is this position partially or fully funded on ARRA stimulus monies? No
Proposed Hire Date 06/01/2019

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.

If you have general questions about the application process, you may contact Human Resources at (919) 515-2135 or 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 equivalency verified at or equivalent service. Degree(s) must be obtained prior to start date in order to meet qualifications and receive credit.

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.


Job Summary
Start Date
As soon as possible
Employment Term and Type
Regular, Full Time
Hours per Week
Work Hours (i.e. shift)
Monday - Friday / 8:00 am - 5:
Salary and Benefits
Commensurate with Experience
Required Education
Bachelor's Degree
Required Experience
3+ years
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