Anatomic Pathology Specialist

Updated: October 31, 2017
Job ID: 213363
Status: Full-Time
Regular/Temporary: Regular
Location: Bethesda, MD, United States

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HJF is seeking an Anatomic Pathology Specialist (Comparative Anatomy) to support the Veterinary Sciences Department (VSD) at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI)/Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS).  HJF provides scientific, technical and programmatic support services to AFRRI.

The incumbent will serve as Anatomic Pathology Specialist (Comparative Anatomy) and perform duties in the capacity detailed in this position description. The incumbent applies advance knowledge of comparative anatomy and pathophysiology to assist the Veterinary Pathologist, Clinical Veterinarians, and Principle Investigators (PIs) conduct research to reduce and manage the medical effects of ionizing radiation and to evaluate the therapeutic drugs tested for prevention, protection, and minimization of acute radiation syndrome damage.

Individuals qualified as an Anatomic Pathology Specialist at AFRRI must have advanced knowledge and skills to perform duties equivalent to a Pathologists’ Assistant (PA).  A PA is a highly trained allied health professional who provides anatomic pathology services under the direction of a pathologist.  The PA interacts with the pathologist in the same manner that Physicians’ Assistants carry out their duties under the direction of Physicians in surgical and medical practices. A PA must have completed training from a National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS) accredited program or an American Association of Pathologists' Assistant (AAPA) Fellowship On-The-Job training program. In addition, a PA is certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathologist (ASCP) and completes the Certification Maintenance Program every three years.

Responsibilities:

The incumbent will serve as the Anatomic Pathology Specialist and perform the following duties:

Laboratory Management                                                                                             

  • Manage the daily operations of the histopathology and necropsy laboratories.
  • Ensure work is conducted in accordance with AFRRI, USUHS, and Department of Defense (DOD) objectives and policies.
  • Provide technical and administrative assistance, oversight, and coordination of all histopathology subsections to accomplish research objectives.
  • Maintain and monitor workload statistics, quality assurance, turn-around times, and other record keeping systems.
  • Optimize the use of laboratory resources to promote high quality, high quantity work.
  • Establish histopathology and necropsy laboratory standard operating procedures (SOPs) to comply with Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), Association of Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC), and other standards/regulations as deemed appropriate by VSD Department Head.
  • Implement safety procedures to guard against exposure to infectious agents, blood-borne pathogens, hazardous chemicals, and to manage related mishaps involving personnel, equipment and facility damages. 
  • Ensure laboratory personnel properly wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and use safety equipment when handling hazardous materials.
  • Ensure the laboratory’s Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are properly cataloged and up-to-date. Ensure laboratory personnel handle hazardous chemicals as outlined in the MSDS.
  • Select appropriate chemical reagents, laboratory supplies, and equipment to ensure workflow continuity for the laboratory.

Anatomic Pathology Specialist                                                                        

  • Serve as the histopathology subject matter expert and advisor to Veterinary Pathologists, Clinical Veterinarians, and PIs at AFFRI, USUHS, and approved outside agencies. 
  • Perform quality control of submitted tissue specimens and processed 2x2 glass slides prior to forwarding to the Veterinary Pathologist for histological evaluation.  
  • Provide consultation to intramural and extramural agencies in order to exchange information regarding improved specialized techniques as deemed appropriate by VSD management.
  • Establish new or modify histopathology and anatomic pathology SOPs to facilitate new research goals.
  • Participate in work-related presentations, workshops, and professional meetings.

Training and Continuing Education                                                                

  • Oversee histopathology and necropsy laboratory training.  Maintain training records for laboratory users. 
  • Provide technical training to Veterinarians, histology technologists, and PI laboratory staff to include written and practical training in all areas of histopathology and in necropsy techniques. 
  • Ensure personnel understand and comply with established histology and necropsy laboratory SOPs.
  • Ensure personnel understand and comply with all aspects of the GLP program.  
  • Provide mentorship to laboratory personnel in support of their educational, technical, and administrative goals.
  • Participate in continuing education with the ASCP.

Technical Duties         

  • Provide hands-on expertise in gross and microscopic anatomy, histopathology, and necropsy.
  • Recognize, troubleshoot, and resolve unforeseen research and laboratory technical problems.
  • Select samples for histological processing and microscopic examination by the pathologist.  Ensure paperwork is properly prepared.
  • Independently conduct post-mortem examinations on animals used for research protocols recognizing normal and abnormal findings, and accurately recording results.
  • Consult with Veterinarians and PIs on special requests, stains, equipment performance, safety protocols, new techniques, and investigate/resolve potential problems with ongoing research.
  • Perform administrative functions in support of AFRRI, USUHS, DOD, and IACUC approved animal research protocols.

Job Specifications:

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

This position requires advanced knowledge of and skill in comparative anatomy, histopathology, and other closely related fields.  The incumbent will have:

  • Knowledge of gross and microscopic pathophysiology to distinguish between normal tissues versus diseased and/or irradiated animal tissues and various pathological states. 
  • Knowledge of histopathology principles, concepts, and methodology such as specimen reception, accessioning, trimming, processing, embedding, microtome. Skill in performing these procedures.
  • Knowledge of and skill in routine and special histochemical and immunohistochemical staining. 
  • Knowledge of and skill to independently perform post-mortem examinations of research animals (non-human primates, mini-pigs, and rodents) to include external examination, evisceration, brain removal, spinal cord removal, dissection of visceral organs, and appropriate sample collection.
  • Knowledge of basic computer programs and information systems to effectively communicate data to Veterinarian Pathologist and PIs. 
  • Knowledge and skill to provide instruction in histopathology and necropsy techniques and procedures to VSD and PI laboratory staff.
  • Knowledge of radiation pathophysiology in animal models, the medical effects of ionizing radiation, and of acute radiation syndrome preferred.

Minimum Education/Training Requirements:

  • BA/BS degree required. Masters preferred.
  • An American Association of Pathologists' Assistant (AAPA) Fellowship On-The-Job training program required
  • Completion of a National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) accredited program preferred.

Minimum Experience:

  • 5 years of Pathology work experience and 2 years of Pathologist Assistant experience required
  • 8 years Pathology work experience and 4 years of Pathologist Assistant experience preferred

Required Licenses, Certification or Registration:

  • Preferred – Certification by the American Society of Clinical Pathologist (ASCP)

Physical Capabilities:  The work requires regular and recurring physical exertion.  The incumbent may be subjected to prolonged sitting or standing and lifting of up to 50 pounds.  The incumbent must comply with the Institute’s occupational health and safety requirements and be able to perform work while wearing PPE.

Supervisory Responsibilities/Controls:  The AFRRI supervisor outlines overall objectives and available resources and discusses timeframes, scope of the assignment, and possible approaches with the employee. The employee determines the most appropriate principles, practices, and methods to apply in all phases of assignments; interprets regulations on his/her own initiative; applies new methods to resolve complex and/or intricate, controversial, or unprecedented issues and problems; resolves most conflicts that arise; and keeps the supervisor informed of progress and of potentially controversial matters. 

Work Environment:  Work is performed primarily in histopathology laboratory and involves exposure to various chemical, biological, and physical hazards.  Chemical exposure includes exposure to known carcinogens and mutagens such as formalin and xylene with daily exposure limited to levels set by occupational safety and health (OSHA).  Additional exposure to chemical hazards include acids, bases, and other noxious and flammable liquids. Exposure to biological hazards include animal blood, body fluids, and other infectious material.  Physical hazards include dangerous electrical and/or mechanical instruments to include bone saw and microtome, sharp instruments such as knives, scalpel blades, glass slides, and coverslips. Extended wear of PPE such as Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR), N-95 mask, gloves, eye protection, ear protection, head protection, and lab coat, and radiation dosimeters is required.

HJF is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status.

Any qualifications to be considered as equivalents, in lieu of stated minimums, require the prior approval of the Director of Human Resources.

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