Biologist
Department Of Agriculture - Davis, CA

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Find Solutions to Agricultural Problems that Affect Americans Every Day, From Field to Table

The Western Human Nutrition Research Center (WHNRC), Davis, California, is responsible for research to improve the health of all Americans by creating and testing nutrition interventions to improve health; assessing how an individual's environment and genetics affect nutrient metabolism; and providing reliable and reproducible research results for the development of national nutrition policies.

The immunity and Disease Prevention Research Unit is responsible for determining how selected nutrients and other factors with immune regulatory and anti-oxidant properties modulate immune function and prevent or impede pathogenic inflammation.

The incumbent of this position serves as a support scientist (in a trainee capacity) and a team member investigating the effect of specific nutrients, foods and overall diet on nutritional status (including nutrient metabolism), physiology and health.

This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.
    KEY REQUIREMENTS
  • Must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this position
  • Suitable for Federal employment, determined by a background investigation
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service
  • Travel may be required 1-5 days per month

DUTIES:
  • Works as part of a team to develop and utilize physiological and biochemical methods needed to assess carotenoid status and function
  • Focuses on phytochemicals with antioxidant and putative immune regulating activity, particularly the carotenoids
  • Uses biochemical and physiological methods to assess human nutritional status and requirements
  • Performs quantitative and qualitative biochemical and physiological analyses on a variety of human, plant, and animal tissues and fluids
  • Perform tests on unusual and potentially hazardous samples
  • Catalog, sort, and label samples
  • Writes reports describing procedures and results and listing steps to perform assays
  • Adapts and modifies currently used methods and procedures to improve them
  • Manages the supervisor's laboratory facilities and equipment for nutrient and metabolite analysis

QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED: Basic Requirement:

Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree that included a major field of study or specific course requirements in biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines appropriate to the position. The number of semester hours required to constitute a major field of study is the amount specified by the college or university attended. If this number cannot be obtained, 24 semester hours will be considered as equivalent to a major field of study. The nature and quality of this required course work must have been such that it would serve as a prerequisite for more advanced study in the field or subject-matter area. Related course work generally refers to courses that may be accepted as part of the program major. (MUST SUBMIT TRANSCRIPTS)

OR

Combination of education and experience -- Courses equivalent to a major, as shown above, plus appropriate experience or additional education. The quality of the combination of education and experience must be sufficient to demonstrate that the applicant possesses the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform work as a Biologist, and is comparable to that normally acquired through the successful completion of a full 4-year course of study with a major in the appropriate field. In addition to courses in the major and related fields, a typical college degree would have included courses that involved analysis, writing, critical thinking, research, etc. These courses would have provided an applicant with skills and abilities sufficient to perform progressively more responsible work in the occupation. Therefore, creditable experience should have demonstrated similarly appropriate skills or abilities needed to perform the work of the occupation. (MUST SUBMIT TRANSCRIPTS)

In addition to meeting the basic requirement, you must also meet one of the minimum qualifications below.

Minimum Qualifications at the GS-07 Level:

Specialized Experience: At least one full-time year (12-months) of specialized work experience equivalent to the GS-05 grade level in the Federal service. Examples of specialized experience include but are not limited to:
  • Assisting with research in nutrition, metabolism, and function assessment;
  • Assisting with calculations and evaluating nutritional molecular biology, biochemistry, or biology data;
  • Collecting and storing samples such as tissue, blood, urine, fecal, and food samples;
  • Assisting with laboratory reports recording experimental design, principle, procedure, and results; and
  • Performing routine care and maintenance of laboratory instruments.
  • OR Education: Successful completion of 1 year of progressively higher level graduate education in biology, molecular biology, nutrition, bio-chemistry, or other closely related field which demonstrates the knowledge, skills and abilities required by this position. Note: One year of full-time graduate education is considered to be the number of credit hours that the school attended has determined to represent 1 year of full-time study. If that information cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours should be considered as satisfying the 1 year of full-time study. (MUST SUBMIT TRANSCRIPTS)

OR

Superior Academic Achievement (SAA): A Bachelor's degree in one of the above fields of study with SAA. SAA may be met in one of the following three ways:

1. Class Standing-Applicants must be in the upper third of the graduating class in the college, university, or major subdivision, based on completed courses

2. Grade Point Average-Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher out of a possible 4.0 based on 4 years of education, or based on the last 2 years of the curriculum; or a 3.5 or higher out of a possible 4.0 based on the average of the required courses completed in the major field, or the required courses completed in the major during the final 2 years of the curriculum.

3. Election to Membership in a National Scholastic Honor Society-Applicants can be considered eligible for SAA based on membership in a national scholastic honor society that meets the minimum requirements of the Association of College Honor Societies. Membership in a freshman honor society cannot be used to meet the requirements of this provision. (MUST submit copies of TRANSCRIPTS)

OR

Combination: Applicants may qualify based on an appropriate combination of successfully completed graduate education and experience. To determine your combination, first compute your experience as a percentage of the experience listed above; then determine your graduate education as a percentage of the education listed above; then add the two percentages. The total percentages must equal at least 100 percent. (MUST SUBMIT TRANSCRIPTS)

Minimum Qualifications at the GS-09 Level:

Specialized Experience: At least one full-time year (12-months) of specialized work experience equivalent to the GS-07 grade level in the Federal service. Examples of specialized experience include but are not limited to:
  • Performing research in nutrition, metabolism, and function assessment;
  • Performing calculations and evaluating nutritional molecular biology, biochemistry, or biology data;
  • Collecting and storing samples such as tissue, blood, urine, fecal, and food samples;
  • Documenting and updating laboratory notebooks regarding recording methods, procedural modifications, observations, and results;
  • Writing laboratory reports to explain experimental design, principle, procedure, statistical analysis, and results; and
  • Performing computerized data collection and statistical analyses.
  • OR Education: Successful completion of 2 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Master's degree or Master's or equivalent graduate degree in biology, molecular biology, nutrition, bio-chemistry, or other closely related field which demonstrates the knowledge, skills and abilities required by this position. Note: One year of full-time graduate education is considered to be the number of credit hours that the school attended has determined to represent 1 year of full-time study. If that information cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours should be considered as satisfying the 1 year of full-time study. (MUST SUBMIT TRANSCRIPTS)

OR

Combination: Applicants may qualify based on an appropriate combination of successfully completed graduate education and experience. To determine your combination, first compute your experience as a percentage of the experience listed above; then determine your graduate education as a percentage of the education listed above; then add the two percentages. The total percentages must equal at least 100 percent. (MUST SUBMIT TRANSCRIPTS)

All qualification requirements must be met by the closing date of this vacancy announcement.

Applicants must be available to report for duty at the time a selection is made. Selections are typically made within 30 days of the closing date of the announcement.

This position is open to all US Citizens and Nationals, and Noncompetitive and Special Hiring Authority eligibles. You may apply under open-competitive, and noncompetitive procedures, however; you must meet the requirements for one of the following categories to apply as a noncompetitive eligible.

1. A current permanent competitive service employee; former Federal employee who achieved career status in the competitive service; or former Federal employee who served on a career conditional appointment without achieving career status in the competitive service who was separated less than three years ago. This includes applicants who have previously held, or currently hold this position and grade with the same promotion potential as announced for this announcement. You must submit the SF-50 that shows competitive service eligibility to be considered.

2. A Veteran applying for a Veterans' Recruitment Appointment (VRA), must submit a copy of your DD-214 showing an honorable discharge to be considered. Eligibility for VRA appointments includes Disabled veterans; Veterans who served on active duty in the Armed Forces during a war declared by Congress, or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized; Veterans who, while serving on active duty in the Armed Forces, participated in a military operation for which the Armed Forces Service Medal was awarded; and Veterans separated from active duty within the past 3 years. Disabled veterans must provide the SF-15 and supporting documentation from the VA along with DD-214. NOTE: VRA only applies to positions at the GS-11 level and below.

3. A 30% or more Disabled Veteran. You must submit your DD214, a completed SF-15, and letter from the VA dated 1991 or later as proof to be considered.

4. A military spouse. Military spouses are eligible if their active duty military spouse: 1) receives a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move; 2) has a 100% disability rating; or 3) died while on active duty. Please submit supporting documentation as proof to be considered.

5. A Severely Physically Handicapped Schedule 'A' Appointment. Please submit documentation from a State or Federal Vocational Rehabilitation Service as proof to be considered.

6. A Former Peace Corps or VISTA Volunteers Appointment. Please submit documentation as proof to be considered.

7. Interchange Agreements and Miscellaneous Authorities. Please submit documentation as proof to be considered.

HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED: Your application will be evaluated and rated under Category Rating Procedures. Qualified candidates will be placed for selection consideration into three categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified or Qualified. Within these categories, applicants eligible for veterans' preference will receive selection priority over non-veterans. Your resume will be reviewed and compared against your responses to the online questionnaire. We strongly encourage you to answer every question that accompanies this vacancy, as your responses will better highlight your specific qualifications.

Your qualifications will be evaluated on the following competencies:
  • Knowledge of theories and principles of nutrition, biology, molecular biology
  • Ability to conduct experiments and research related to nutrition, metabolism, biology, and biochemistry
  • Ability to analyze and interpret biological and biochemistry implications in research
  • Ability to prepare accurate and precise scientific research and laboratory reports
  • Skill in communicating scientific and technical information orally
Please note that your resume must thoroughly support your responses to the assessment questionnaire. High self-assessment in the applicant questions that is not supported by information in your resume may eliminate you from best-qualified status and subsequent referral to the selecting official.

Displaced/Surplus Employees: Individuals eligible under the USDA Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) must be well qualified for the position to receive consideration for special priority selection. CTAP and ICTAP eligibles within the local commuting area will be considered well qualified if the applicant meets the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors, and is rated in the Well Qualified Category as described in the How You Will Be Evaluated section. Employees seeking CTAP/ICTAP eligibility must submit a copy of the agency notice, a copy of their most recent performance rating and a copy of their most recent SF-50 noting current position, grade level and duty location. Please annotate your application to reflect that you are applying as a CTAP or ICTAP eligible. CLICK HERE for additional information on CTAP and ICTAP.

BENEFITS: The Federal government offers a number of exceptional benefits to its employees. The following link provides an overview of the benefits currently offered to Federal employees: http://www.usajobs.gov/ResourceCenter/Index/Interactive/Benefits#icc .

OTHER INFORMATION: Financial Disclosure Requirement:
The Research, Education and Economics (REE) agencies inspire public confidence in our missions by maintaining high ethical principles. Employees are subject to Federal government-wide regulations and statutes as described on the REE Ethics Webpage. You may be required to submit a financial disclosure report if hired for this position.

False Statements:
If you make a false statement in any part of your application, you may not be hired; may be fired after beginning work; or may be fined or jailed.

Reasonable Accommodation:
Reasonable accommodation is provided to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, or have questions regarding reasonable accommodation and/or accessibility for any part of the application and hiring process, please contact the Disability Program Manager on 202-720-6161 or through the DC Relay Service on (202) 855-1234 (TDD). The decision to grant reasonable accommodation is made on a case-by-case basis.

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