Biologist I

Madison, WI
Work Type: On-Site
  • Job Category: Life, Physical & Social Science
  • Travel: No
  • Clearance: Not Applicable
  • Shift: Day Job
  • Req ID: ASE00605

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Job Summary:

The National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) is a science center of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) with specialized laboratories dedicated to wildlife disease detection, control, and prevention. Our mission is to advance wildlife health science for the benefit of animals, humans, and the environment. The center is performing scientific research to better understand the biology of chronic wasting disease (CWD) and the effects of the disease on cervids and other susceptible mammals.

CWD is a fatal neurodegenerative contagious prion disease of cervids. Like other prion diseases, CWD involved interactions between the agent PrPCWD and a host factor PrPC. CWD is spreading across the United States and increasing in prevalence in those areas where it is endemic. CWD is currently affecting white-tailed and mule deer, elk & moose. Research areas being addressed include detection approaches to discriminate different variants of CWD prions, diagnostic techniques for CWD prions, environmental persistence of prions, transmission of CWD, CWD pathobiology and animal host susceptibility.

Akima is recruiting for an individual to design and perform scientific experiments, generate scientific data, and conduct appropriate analysis in support of experimental conclusions. Experimental designs, hypotheses, results, and conclusions shall be documented, and records shall be submitted documenting progress towards task accomplishment. The employee will collaborate with USGS staff and scientists to collect data, perform analyses, and write and publish USGS report products.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Collect, curate, and prepare biological and environmental samples that may contain CWD prions

  • Assist in developing protocols for prion detection from a wide range of biological and environmental samples

  • Prepare preliminary experimental designs to perform laboratory experiments for review

  • Operates laboratory equipment (balances, centrifuges, incubators, shakers, pipettes, thermal cyclers, spectrophotometers)

  • Purify recombinant prion proteins from E. coli suitable for use as substrates in real time quaking induced conversion (RT-QuIC) assaysPerform and troubleshoot RT-QuIC assays7. Examine tissue and environmental samples for the presence of disease-associated prion proteins

  • Quantitate the abundances of relevant proteins from tissue samples

  • Extract nucleic acids from tissue samples

  • Prepare nucleic acids for genotyping and sequencing

  • Provide preliminary analysis of data to support the conclusions of the experiments

  • Assist to assemble, evaluate, and analyze data for presentation in a scientifically appropriate manner

  • Assist to assemble, evaluate, and analyze data for inclusion in reports describing results

  • Maintain laboratory supplies and equipment and ensure all laboratory safety standards are met

  • Some travel will be required to support program tasks to include occasional attendance at professional society meetings, workshops, or to travel to pick up or drop off samples

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in a biological science

  • At least 1 year relevant experience or laboratory coursework in molecular biology, biochemistry or bacteriology

  • Able to obtain and maintain the equivalent of a Public Trust

  • A valid driver's license required for local travel via automobile

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