Microbiology/Molecular Biology/Wildlife Disease Technician: Wisconsin

USGS - National Wildlife Health Center
Madison, Wisconsin
Job Category
Full time Positions
Compensation is $16.93-$20.96 per hour depending on qualifications. The student is responsible for all transportation costs to and from the principal duty station (Madison, WI). Costs related to fieldwork travel and occupational health program requirements (serum banking, respirator evaluation and fitting, etc.) will be covered by the employer. Student contractors are not eligible for paid leave or federal employee health benefits.
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
A detailed-oriented, responsible individual with a strong interest in microbiology, wildlife disease, and ecology is sought to assist with activities associated with Wildlife Disease Diagnostic Laboratories (WDDL) Branch at the USGS-National Wildlife Health Center (Madison, Wisconsin). Activities include: performing laboratory work, data collection/summary, coordination with outside agencies, and participation in special projects. A large portion of the technician’s time will be devoted to assistance with a project to determine how microbial and environmental factors influence susceptibility of different bat species to the disease white-nose syndrome (WNS). The USGS-National Wildlife Health Center is a federal wildlife diagnostic and research laboratory which serves federal, state, and tribal wildlife management agencies in all 50 states and US territories. This is a 1-year student services contract position with an additional 1 year renewal option (pending academic eligibility and available funding); qualified applicants must have a MS degree (or have equivalent laboratory experience) in a relevant field and either be currently enrolled in an academic program or have graduated within the past 12 months from the start date of the performance period. Preferred start date: December 1, 2017 or earlier, but may be negotiable. Hours and Days: approx. 35-40 hours/week; may exceed 40 hours/week during busy times of year (Dec-May). Out-of-state and overnight travel may be required. Responsibilities: Duties specific to the white-nose syndrome project include: coordinating with submitters from other agencies to collect and submit samples; assistance with sample kit preparation and distribution; organization and preparation of submissions for laboratory diagnostics; culturing and isolating fungi; extracting DNA from organisms and environmental samples; performing conventional and real-time PCR and DNA sequencing; performing microcosm experiments; data capture and entry; maintaining a unique database consisting of diagnostic case information and results; generating summary tables and graphs for reports and presentations; and routine laboratory chores. The potential exists for some technical assistance on other wildlife disease-related research projects and mortality investigations pending interests and abilities. Student adheres to established standard operating procedures, Good Laboratory Practices Act, and all field safety regulations. Working Conditions: I. Supporting Information A. Principal Duty Station- USGS, National Wildlife Health Center, 6006 Schroeder Rd., Madison, WI 53711 B. Period of Performance: approx. 12/01/2017 to 11/30/2018; option to extend up to 1 year pending available funding and academic eligibility Work will be approx. 35-40 hours/week, not to exceed 2000 hours per performance period. Office and laboratory work will be performed at the NWHC-Madison campus during regular business hours (Mon-Fri, 7:30a-5:30p) under the general supervision of Dr. Jeff Lorch, USGS-NWHC Microbiologist. Employee must be able to work in a laboratory and at a computer for at least 30 hours/week. The candidate will need access to NWHC offices and government computers and will be required to pass a background security check. The government will provide the necessary training for specific laboratory tasks and data entry. The candidate is expected to adhere to appropriate NWHC guidelines and collaborating agency guidelines, follow established procedures, and work in coordination with NWHC staff and collaborators to complete work assignments. Limited heavy lifting (up to 30 lbs) and moderate physical activity (e.g., standing for 3 hours at a time, continuous use of hands, etc.) may be involved with the laboratory work.
Knowledge and Skills Required: • Good organizational and communication skills • Ability to work on a team and coordinate with outside agencies • MS degree in Zoology, Biology, Ecology, Wildlife; exceptional candidates with only a BS will be considered • Previous laboratory work experience • MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint (experience with MS Access a plus) • Valid US driver’s license Level of Knowledge: 1. Specific Work Requirements The Technician performs laboratory work (e.g., fungus culture, PCR and DNA sequencing, basic laboratory chores, etc.), emails and calls partners regarding sample collection, and enters data into databases. The student is expected to adhere to appropriate NWHC guidelines, follow established procedures, and work in coordination with USGS-NWHC staff to complete work assignments. Knowledge of general laboratory procedures including maintaining a lab notebook. Ability to follow written protocols and guidelines and to adapt procedures to suit the needs of the field. Knowledge of aseptic technique and biosafety procedures. Hand and finger dexterity, which is equal to the exacting use of small tools and equipment, is required. 2. Required expertise/skills: The Technician must have at minimum a BA/BS (preferably MS) degree in a relevant field such as microbiology, wildlife/natural resources management, biology, zoology, ecology or suitable equivalent. The applicant must also be a U.S. Citizen with a valid driver’s license. A familiarity with MS Office Products (Word, Excel, and Powerpoint) is required; knowledge of MS Access and ArcGIS software is a plus. Prior research or job-related laboratory experience is also required. Candidate must demonstrate good organizational and communication skills and be able to enter data accurately and follow standard protocols in the laboratory. 3. Desired expertise/skills: Preferred candidate should demonstrate a strong interest in microbiology, wildlife disease, and/or ecology and have familiarity with basic laboratory techniques. Skills in reviewing current literature and compiling summaries are desirable. Candidates with experience in microbial culturing, PCR, and microscopy are preferred. To apply, please send cover letter, resume, an unofficial copy of college transcript, and contact information for 2 references to jlorch@usgs.gov by October 20, 2017 to ensure consideration. Applications sent after this date will be reviewed if the position has not yet been filled.
Contact Person
Jeff Lorch
Contact eMail
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