Department Of Agriculture - Orient Point, NY

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Relocation expenses will not be paid.

This position is located in the Diagnostic Section of the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (FADDL), NVSL, Plum Island. The function of this section is to provide diagnosis for disease of domestic animals which are exotic to the United States; conduct safety tests on biological reagents which are imported into the United States from areas where exotic animal diseases exist; and maintain diagnostic expertise by using state-of-the-art methodology. The purpose of this position is to produce and characterize essential components for a novel competitive ELISA for the detection of swine antibodies against the 3D protein of Foot and Mouth Disease Virus (FMDV), specifically to differentiate infected and vaccinated animals.

You can make a difference! The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Marketing and Regulatory Programs (MRP) needs bright, energetic and committed professionals to facilitate the domestic and international marketing of U.S. agricultural products and to protect the health and care of animals and plants in the United States. MRP offers an array of occupations and is committed to diversity in the workplace. We operate in domestic and global markets. Be part of an organization that protects the health and agriculture of the American people. Join our team!

This is a term appointment not to exceed 13 months. Appointment may be extended up to 4 years without reannouncing. For more details click: Term Appointments

APHIS is an emergency response agency. This means that all Agency employees may be asked or assigned to participate in rotating temporary duty assignments to support emergency programs at some time during their careers with APHIS. For details click: APHIS Emergency Response
  • U.S. Citizenship

DUTIES: The duties may include, but are not limited to:
  • Work independently on leading a developmental project from the design of the assay to the preparation of molecular and serological reagents.
  • Performs diagnostic bench and field validation processes with a large number of select agent samples.
  • Sub-clones chimeric fusion and truncated proteins and identifying reactive epitopes.
  • Works with indirect and competitive antibody ELISAs using peptides as the coating antigen to identify the antigenic regions of the 3D proteins with swine serum.
  • Purifies recombinant proteins using a variety of techniques (ion exchange, affinity chromatography, size exchange) using a FPLC.
  • Inoculates, works with, and takes samples from large animals, specifically from virally infected experimental pigs.
  • Works together with internal and external groups on the production and screening of monoclonal antibodies.
  • Prepares progress reports for internal and external peers.

QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED: To qualify, you MUST meet all qualification requirements by the closing date of the announcement.


A. Degree: microbiology; or biology, chemistry, or basic medical science that includes at least 20 semester hours in microbiology and other subjects related to the study of microorganism, and 20 semester hours in the physical and mathematical sciences combining course work in organic chemistry or biochemistry, physics, and college algebra, or their equivalent. OR

B. Combination of education and experience-courses equivalent to a major in microbiology, biology, chemistry, or basic medical science that included courses as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

TRANSCRIPTS are required if:
  • This position requires specific coursework or a degree in a specific field to be basically qualified.
  • You are qualifying for the position based on education.
  • You are qualifying for this position based on a combination of experience and education.
IN ADDITION TO MEETING THE BASIC REQUIREMENTS, SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-12 GRADE LEVELS: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience equivalent in level of difficulty and responsibility to the next lower level in the Federal Service. This experience may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors.

Examples of qualifying experience include, but are not limited to:
  • The candidate will have extensive experience in the development of diagnostic serologic assays, including direct, blocking, and competitive ELISAs; and will be able to troubleshoot and determine analytical and diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of such assays.
  • The position requires experience with phage display libraries, epitope mapping, and peptide design and handling.
  • The ideal candidate will have excellent scientific written and oral communication skills. Experience delivering presentations at scientific venues and publishing in the scientific peer reviewed literature are desirable.
  • Experience in molecular biology and microbiological techniques including but not limited to DNA subcloning, sequencing, protein engineering, expression and purification.

Special Conditions:
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with the Selective Service.
  • DD214 (Member 4 copy) or other veterans' documents required to receive veterans' preference.
  • As a condition of employment, a background investigation may be required for this position.
  • Required to submit to random drug testing.
  • Transcripts must be submitted for this position.
  • Subject to satisfactory completion of one year trial period.
  • We understand that accepting a position with Veterinary Services may require the need for spousal career placement assistance. To help you and your family make a successful career transition, Veterinary Services is dedicated to providing information on career placement assistance. Please visit the following web links for more information: http://www.job-hunt.org/jobs/states.shtml http://www.jobhunt.org/state_unemployment_offices.shtml
  • This position is subject to unscheduled overnight details of undetermined lengths in the event of animal health emergencies or other conditions requiring immediate response, as required by the Agency. (Extensive periods of time may be designated for overnight details.)

  • Due to the contagious nature to livestock of foot-and-mouth disease, and other diseases under study at PIADC, PIADC Biological Safety Regulations specify a personal quarantine for employees working in PIADC BSL-3 biocontainment. As a condition for employment, all personnel entering the BSL-3 biocontainment facilities at Plum Island shall not be in contact with specific susceptible animals off the Plum Island premises for a period of five (5) days after leaving biocontainment. Currently, restricted species are cattle, sheep, goats, deer & other ruminants, & swine. Horses, birds (agricultural and pet birds) & rabbits are normally permitted but restrictions may be placed on staff working with contagious agents affecting these species. Employees who violate this requirement may be removed from employment or subject to other disciplinary actions. Restricted livestock or other restricted animals should not be housed on the premises where the employee under quarantine restrictions lives.

  • Required to travel daily to and from Orient Point, New York and Plum Island or Saybrook, Connecticut aboard a Government-provided marine vessel.

  • Your application will be rated on the extent and quality of your experience, education and training relevant to the position. Your resume must support that you meet the specialized experience requirements described above and are proficient in the following skills or competencies below. Please note you are not required to provide specific narrative responses to the skills and competencies described in this section.
    • Ability to apply good laboratory practices, Standard Operating Procedures and Lab Safety Procedures ultimately resulting in quality analytical data and reports.
    • Ability to perform, modify and/or develop microbiological, biochemical or molecular analyses for diagnostic bacteriology and/or virology testing.
    • Ability to use equipment, instruments and procedures to perform microbiological, biochemical and/or molecular analyses.
    • Skill in the development of reagents used in laboratory diagnosis of animal disease.
    • Knowledge of biotechnology and its application to protecting animal health.
    • Ability to perform mathematical, algebraic and statistical calculations of data and to design and carry out scientific studies which meet professional standards.
    • Ability to prioritize, lead, supervise and/or coordinate work in a scientific program
    • Communication skills: Written, Oral and Interpersonal
  • Category rating procedures will be used to rank and select eligible candidates. The following quality categories will be used: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, and Qualified. Within each quality category, veterans' preference eligibles will receive selection priority over non-veterans.
  • Your final category placement will be based on your responses to the assessment questionnaire. Please ensure your resume provides enough detail to support your responses.
  • If, after reviewing your resume and / or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your score can / will be adjusted to more accurately reflect your abilities. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Deliberate attempts to falsify information may be grounds for not selecting you.

To preview questions please click here .

BENEFITS: Eligibility for employee benefits depends on your type of appointment and your tour of duty (work schedule). Generally, you must be hired on a permanent basis and have a regular full or part-time work schedule. For more information on potential benefits, go to: Federal Employee Benefits

This salary range does not reflect the general pay increase scheduled for April 2013.

  • For information regarding CTAP eligibility for displaced Federal employees click: Career Transition Assistance Programs
  • More than one selection may be made if another vacancy occurs within 90 days of the issuance of the certification of eligibles.
  • Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc) should contact: USDA's TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).
  • For information on filing a complaint of discrimination, click: Filing a Complaint

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