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Research Project Description

Postdoctoral Research Associate - Biology/Chemistry
Agriculture Research Service (ARS)
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Peoria, IL

ARS-BFPMRU-2014-0048

Project Description:

A postdoctoral research opportunity is available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Bacterial Foodborne Pathogens & Mycology Research Unit (BFPMRU) in Peoria, IL. The participant will conduct research to improve methods for detecting fungal toxins (mycotoxins). This will be pursued by researching ways to improve the performance characteristics of the materials upon which such methods are based. Specifically, multiplexed assays for mycotoxins can be improved through the development of antibodies with enhanced solvent tolerance. The participant will also evaluate the ability of assays to detect related plant or fungal metabolites commonly known as “masked” mycotoxins.  A combination of techniques including combinatorial nucleic acid synthesis, amplification, in vitro selection, mutagenesis, and evaluation using immunoassay techniques will be used to complete these objectives. The participant is expected to plan and conduct experiments; analyze, evaluate and interpret the results; and prepare reports of the results in the form of manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at scientific meetings.

Qualifications:

This position requires a strong background with work experience at the interface between biology and chemistry. Educational background should include a Ph.D. in a discipline such as genetics, pharmaceutical sciences, biochemistry, or analytical chemistry. Degree must have been received within five years of the desired starting date.

The participant should have practical laboratory-based skills in genetics or related field with emphasis on genetics, recombinant techniques, microbiology, combinatorial chemistry, and immunology, or other related fields. In particular, experience with laboratory techniques including combinatorial nucleic acid synthesis, amplification, in vitro selection, mutagenesis, and evaluation using immunoassay techniques is desired.  Knowledge of current methods and theory in the development of novel binding materials and directed evolution of proteins is highly desirable. The participant is expected to plan and conduct experiments; analyze, evaluate and interpret the results; and prepare reports of the results in the form of manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at scientific meetings, therefore proficiency in such activities is desirable.

The participant will conduct research under the supervision of a Lead Scientist, who is responsible for the scientific and technical aspects of the research project. Guidance will be provided by the Lead Scientist and will consist primarily of defining research problems, guidance in planning experiments, and review and discussion of results within the context of team research goals. Colleagues and collaborators will be consulted as needed. Results and manuscripts will be reviewed by the supervisor. In addition, appropriate colleagues will be chosen with whom to review and discuss results and manuscripts. Manuscripts will be submitted to the Research Leader for administrative review and approval.

While participants will not enter into an employment relationship with ARS, this position requires a pre-employment check and a full background investigation.

This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents and foreign nationals.

This is an equal opportunity program open to all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, age, sex, religion, national origin, mental or physical disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, or covered veteran’s status.

Additional Information:

The appointment is full-time for one year and may be renewed upon recommendation of the ARS and availability of funding. The annual stipend rate for this position is $54,000. An additional stipend supplement is available to offset the cost of an individual health insurance plan. The participant must show proof of health and medical insurance. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE. Relocation expenses up to $4,000 will be reimbursed, with prior approval. A travel allowance of $4,000 per year to reimburse travel-related expenses to scientific and professional development activities is also available. The participant does not become an employee of the ARS or ORISE.

For additional information about the ARS Research Participation Program, please visit http://www.orise.orau.gov/usda-ars.

How to Apply:

An application can be found at http://orise.orau.gov/usda-ars/applicants/application.htm. Please reference Project #ARS-BFPMRU-2014-0048 in your application and when calling or writing for information.