Post-Doctoral Fellow - Diagnostics and Countermeasures Branch - Silver Spring, MD

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Updated: April 17, 2020
Job ID: 215723
Status: Full-Time
Regular/Temporary: Regular
Location: Silver Spring, MD, United States

Join the HJF Team!

HJF is seeking a Post-Doctoral Fellow to support the Diagnostics and Countermeasures Branch (DCB) located at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) in Silver Spring and Rockville, MD. HJF provides scientific, technical and programmatic support services to the DCB. 

The incumbent will be responsible for the development, validation, evaluation, and implementation of molecular assays for use in the detection and quantification of pathogens of US Military and National interest. The incumbent will be a part of a dynamic scientific team to develop and improve diagnostic assays exploring novel ideas and approaches to detect infectious agents. Adapt existing assays improving performance, specificity/sensitivity and detection and quantification of pathogens of clinical and clinical research significance. The incumbent will be expected to apply molecular biology techniques and scientific principles and concepts to support clinical research initiatives and develop improved diagnostic assays. The incumbent will work within a multidisciplinary environment consisting of US Military, US Government, academic, and international collaborators. 


  1. Design, develop, evaluate and implement molecular diagnostic assays to include Real-Time, Digital Droplet PCR, next generation systems for detection and/or quantification of infectious pathogens in a variety of specimen matrices.  
  2. Establish documentation for, e.g., Standard Operation Procedures, work instructions, etc. for laboratory developed and optimized assays.  
  3. Assist in validation and verification performance of developed assays to meet regulatory compliance for testing of human biological specimens that are used to inform patient management or end point analyses for clinical research studies.
  4. Optimize nucleic acid extraction from various samples, amplification and detection procedures as required to achieve desired sensitivity, specificity and reproducibility of assay performance.  
  5. Perform nucleic acid characterization and troubleshoot performance issues.
  6. Investigate diverse specimen matrices for screening/confirmation assays; investigate specimen preservation methods for sample integrity.
  7. Coordinate and conduct technology assistance for DCB collaborators as required.    
  8. Train personnel in execution of new/novel test systems.
  9. Coordinate implementation of new initiatives with senior leadership and technical staff within DCB. 
  10. Assist with intramural and extramural applications for programmatic funding.
  11. Prepare written reports, abstracts for submission to scientific conferences, manuscripts for submission to scientific journals, and patent applications.  
  12. Participate in DCB and WRAIR meetings and seminars.
  13. Maintains a safe work environment.
  14. Completes all WRAIR safety, HIPPA, CITI and other required training within specified time frames.  
  15. Provides collaborative assistance to other Research Scientists that require the incumbent's expertise.
  16. Completes other projects as assigned. 

Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities: Knowledge of molecular biology techniques, tissue culture, handling of infectious agents, nucleic acid and protein extractions, purification and characterization. Use of relevant software for alignments, design of primers and DNA constructs. Use of relevant equipment to asses performance of assays and bridging studies to evaluate improvements. Excellent oral and communication skills; ability to troubleshoot technical procedures; ability to work independently, and as a member of a multidisciplinary team. 

Minimum Education: Doctoral degree in molecular biology, virology, immunology or related scientific discipline to include principles of development/execution of quantitative molecular assays and clinical applications.

Minimum Experience:  1 to 2 years related research experience in virology, immunology and molecular biology. 

Physical Capabilities:  Job performance requires ability to move around and between several laboratory areas located at 9100 Brookville Road, building 503 and 508, Silver Spring, MD  20910 and 13 Taft Rockville MD 20850. The individual must be able to work in a Biological Safety Cabinet for handling of infectious agents and performance of various assays and techniques. Fine motor coordination in manipulation of laboratory materials and attention to detail is essential. The individual must be able to sit for lengthy periods to include, but not limited to performing technical analysis at instrumentation, and data analysis at the computer terminal.

Supervisory Responsibilities:  Will be assigned to research assistant personnel and be a part of a scientific team supporting collaborating efforts. Must be a team player and work optimally in a group setting. Reports to Senior Scientist and team leaders. 

Work Environment:  Laboratory environment; may require working extended hours involving biohazardous materials. Note the laboratory will move and relocate to Ft. Detrick in 18 months.

Background/Security: Must have lived in the US 3 out of the past 5 years; eligible to pass a NACI background.

Employment with HJF is contingent upon successful completion of a background check, which may include, but is not limited to, contacting your professional references, verification of previous employment, addresses, education, and credentials, a criminal background check, drug screening, and a department of motor vehicle (DMV) check.

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 Chief Human Resources Officer.