Interdisciplinary: Research Microbiologist/Research Molecular Biologist
Department Of Agriculture - Orient Point, NY

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The Foreign Animal Disease Research Unit at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center is the primary laboratory at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) responsible for research on foreign animal diseases (FAD) of livestock, such as foot-and-mouth disease, classical swine fever, African swine fever and vesicular stomatitis. The mission of the Foreign Animal Disease Research Unit is to carry out the research needed to understand the pathogenesis of these viruses and the host response to them, and to translate this knowledge into useful interventions to prevent and respond to disease outbreaks. This mission is accomplished by basic and applied research directed toward: 1) understanding the genomic structure, viral factors determining virulence and molecular pathogenesis of FAD agents; 2) understanding mechanisms of host pathogen interactions FAD agents in livestock species; 3) understanding the ecology, evolution and field epidemiology of FAD agents; and 4) developing effective disease control strategies including novel agent detection methods, better vaccines and novel biotherapeutic approaches.

This position requires the selectee to undergo a pre-employment check and a full background investigation. Any offer made is considered a tentative job offer pending the outcome of the pre-employment check. Retention in the position is based upon a favorable adjudication of the background investigation. The incumbent will be subject to periodic reinvestigations.

KEY REQUIREMENTS

You 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 DUTIES:

The incumbent serves as a Research Microbiologist or Research Molecular Biologist participating in research in the implementation of a research program on foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) pathogenesis and immunology. The incumbent will conduct research of virus host interaction both at the molecular, immunological and systemic levels to determine viral host determinants of virulence and disease resistance and mechanisms involved in FMDV pathogenesis. Research objectives are to: 1) develop an understanding of the mechanisms of FMDV host-pathogen interactions at the molecular and in vivo levels. This will aid in the development of improved disease control measures, and 2) develop new and improved current novel vaccines and biotherapeutic countermeasures that will enable rapid an effective prevention of FMDV infection in natural hosts and thereby contribute to global eradication of FMD. Incumbent is expected to analyze, interpret, and report research results in peer-reviewed publications and make presentations at scientific meetings.

Other information:
The work of this position is performed in a biological containment laboratory (BSL3 and BSL3Ag) operating under rigid Agency Safety Rules and Regulations. Risks involve working with or being exposed to radioactive material, possible contagious disease, chemicals, and possible burns form autoclaves and sterilizers, and possible injury working with and around laboratory equipment.

Incumbent is required to pass various US Government security clearances and suitability to work with select agents according to USDA and DHS policies. This position is subject to random drug testing.

Required travel to and from Orient Point, New York or Old Saybrook, CT and Plum Island aboard Government provided marine vessels.

For health and safety of the incumbent and to prevent the spread of disease, immunization against the diseases being studied at PIADC which are transmissible to humans may be required. QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED:

Basic Requirements:
Research Molecular Biologist, GS-0401: A) Degree in biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines appropriate to the position. OR B) Combination of education and experience - courses equivalent to a major, as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

Research Microbiologist, GS-0403 : A) Degree in microbiology; or biology, chemistry, or basic medical science that included at least 20 semester hours in microbiology and other subjects related to the study of microorganisms, 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.

Graduate Education: Microbiology, or specific area of study such as bacteriology, virology, mycology, algology, protozoology, parasitology, immunology, serology, microbial genetics, or soil microbiology; or specific applied fields of microbiology such as clinical and public health microbiology, food technology, production processes, industrial fermentation, pollution, etc. Graduate study in related fields such as experimental pathology, infectious diseases, epidemiology, biochemistry, animal or plant physiology, genetics, plant pathology, and insect disease control, may also be pertinent, provided it has direct application to microbiological work.

GS-13: Applicants must demonstrate at least one full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-12 level in the Federal Service.

GS-14: Applicants must demonstrate at least one full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-13 level in the Federal Service.

GS-15: Applicants must demonstrate at least one full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-14 level in the Federal Service.

Specialized Experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled. The specialized experience requirements for this position are:

1. Knowledge of microbiology, immunology and molecular biology including genetic manipulation of viral agents in order to conduct research on viral host interactions.

2. Knowledge of design and construction of vectors used to deliver vaccines or biotherapeutic molecules.

3. Knowledge of host pathogen interactions and the immune response to infection, relevant especially to viral infections in order to develop vaccine and other countermeasures.

4. Skill in animal virology and cell/molecular biology technigues with application to the study of viral pathogenesis or vaccince research.

5. Ability to plan, conduct and report research in the area of virology, immunology, molecular biology or vaccine development.

Applicants must address the specialized experience requirements in their resume (or application documents). Applications that do not reflect the specialized experience requirements will not be deemed qualified.

To be considered for a research scientist position, you must submit a one-page abstract of your MS thesis and/or Ph.D. dissertation. Also, submit a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers of persons familiar with your stature, contributions, recognition; any honors or awards received; memberships in professional or honor societies; invitations to make presentations at scientific/technical meetings; scientific society office and committee assignments; presentations (other than invitation); and publications.

Vacant research positions may be filled at one of several grade levels depending upon the scientific impact of the person selected. A peer review may be required to determine the appropriate grade level of the position and supplemental materials may be required from the selectee.

R esearch scientists have open-ended promotion potential. Research accomplishments and their impact on the duties and responsibilities of positions are evaluated periodically. The grade level is limited only by the individual's demonstrated ability to perform research of recognized importance to science and technology. *Final grade level may be determined by a peer review panel.

This position has a positive education requirement. You must submit a copy of your academic transcripts OR a list of college courses with credit hours, dates completed, and grade point average or class ranking to verify education when applying for this position. If this information is not provided, your education may not be appropriately evaluated and you may lose consideration for this position. If you are selected for this position, you will have to provide an official copy of your transcripts prior to entering on duty.

Graduate education must be directly related to the work of the position and must have equipped you with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work.

Education completed outside of the United States must be deemed equivalent to that gained in conventional/accredited U.S. education programs to be acceptable for Federal employment. It is your responsibility to provide such evidence when applying. Please visit the Office of Personnel Management's website for additional information on this topic.

Time-in-grade restrictions apply for all candidates considered under Alternative Merit Promotion.

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.

HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED:
You will be evaluated to determine if you meet the basic and any additional requirements. The Agricultural Research Service uses a category rating process. Based on evaluation of all written materials submitted in application for the position, you will be determined to be Ineligible if you do not meet eligibility and/or minimum qualifications criteria; Eligible if you meet all eligibility and minimum qualifications criteria; OR Quality if you meet quality criteria in addition to eligibility and minimum qualifications criteria. 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:
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 they meet basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors, and are rated in the Quality 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. Click here for additional information on CTAP and ICTAP.

If you are a veteran with preference eligibility and you are claiming 5-point veterans' preference , you must attach Member 4 copy of your DD-214. If you are claiming 10-point veterans' preference , you must attach an SF-15, Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference plus the proof required by that form.

Qualified candidates eligible under the Veterans Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA) , a special hiring authority, will be considered. VEOA eligibles are preference eligibles or veterans who have been separated from the armed forces under honorable conditions after 3 years or more of active service. Veterans who are released under honorable conditions shortly before completing a 3-year tour are also eligible.

Status candidates who wish to be considered under both alternative merit promotion and non-status competitive examining must submit two complete applications when the position is open to both status and non-status candidates. When only one application is received, it will be considered under alternative merit promotion procedures.

Financial Disclosure Requirement: Federal employees are subject to prohibitions against officially dealing with outside organizations in which they have a financial interest. If hired for this position, you will be required to submit a financial disclosure report within 30 days of the effective date of your appointment and annually thereafter.

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: 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).

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