Biology Technician III

Madison, WI
Work Type: On-Site
  • Job Category: Life, Physical & Social Science
  • Travel: None
  • Clearance: Able to Obtain Public Trust
  • Req ID: 2024-11324


Job Summary:

Akima Systems Engineering is hiring a Biology Technologist III to support USGS onsite in Madison, WI. The work required is 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. Incumbents will collaborate with USGS staff and scientists to collect data, perform analyses, and write and publish USGS report products, in accordance with fundamentals science practices and quality assurance standards.

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 requested work involves the performance of molecular techniques and scientific research to better understand the biology and disease ecology of fungal pathogens, including those that are associated with emerging diseases of conservation significance such as bat white-nose syndrome (WNS) and snake fungal disease (SFD). The contractor will collaborate with government scientists to assist with surveillance and research of these diseases.

WNS is an often-fatal disease of hibernating bats caused by Pseudogymnoascus destructans , a fungus introduced to North America from Eurasia. The disease was first documented in 2006 near Albany, New York and has since spread across most of the U.S. and Canada, killing millions of bats. Several bat species in the eastern U.S. are now threatened with extinction due to the disease, while many more bat species in the western part of the country are at risk as the fungus continues to spread. The requested work involves conducting surveillance for white-nose syndrome to track the spread of the disease and its impacts on bats by screening samples for the fungal pathogen, assessing species susceptibility, documenting disease impacts, and conducting research to understand the biology and virulence of P. destructans . SFD is an emerging disease of snakes caused by Ophidiomyces ophidiicola . The fungus is believed to have been introduced to the U.S. in the early 1900s but did not start causing significant disease in wild snake populations until the early 2000s. The requested work involves testing diagnostic samples for the presence of O. ophidiicola and conducting research on the fungus to better understand why the disease is emerging.


Job Responsibilities:

  • Perform laboratory studies of fungal pathogens such as those that cause bat white-nose syndrome and snake fungal disease

  • Relies on moderate level of experience and judgement, along with instructions and pre-established guidelines to perform the laboratory studies.

  • Prepare sampling kits for collaborators collecting samples in the field and coordinate submission of those kits.

  • Enter data in Excel spreadsheets and Access databases.

  • Create, edit, and follow standard operating procedures (SOPs), maintain a detailed laboratory notebook, and adhere to guidelines of a Quality Management System (QMS).

  • Collect, curate, and prepare biological and environmental samples for nucleic acid extraction.

  • Perform conventional PCR, cloning, and DNA sequencing to identify fungal strains and bat specimens to the species level.

  • Perform real-time PCR to detect and quantify fungal pathogens in samples.

  • Troubleshoot various molecular biology techniques such as PCR.

  • Assist with necropsies of bats to diagnosis WNS and assess disease severity.

  • Assist with experimental design.

  • Operate laboratory equipment (balances, centrifuges, microscopes, incubators, shakers, pipettes, thermal cyclers, spectrophotometers).

  • Isolate, culture, maintain, and cryopreserve live fungus from clinical samples.

  • Harvest and enumerate fungal spores for various experiments.

  • Extract nucleic acid in pursuit of whole genome 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 and publications describing results.

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


Minimum Qualification:

  • AA or BS in a science discipline

  • 1-3 years of technician or related experience

  • Experience with Microsoft Office Suite-particularly Excel and Access

  • Prefer experience with safety standards in a laboratory

  • Ability to obtain equivalent to Public Trust Clearance.

Job: Life, Physical & Social Science

Travel: None

Organization: ASE - Akima Systems Engineering

Clearance: Able to Obtain Public Trust

Work Type: On-Site

Remote: No

ReqID: 2024-11324