Research Assistant I - Parasite Diagnostics Laboratory, Diagnostics and Countermeasures Branch - Silver Spring, MD

Updated: April 10, 2020
Job ID: 215728
Status: Full-Time
Regular/Temporary: Regular
Location: Silver Spring, MD, United States

Join the HJF Team!

HJF is seeking a Research Assistant I to support the Parasite Diagnostics Laboratory (PDL) within the Diagnostics and Countermeasures Branch (DCB) located at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) in Silver Spring, MD. HJF provides scientific, technical and programmatic support services to PDL and DCB.  

The incumbent will work to assist the Associate Laboratory Director in development and execution of new molecular/immunological assays in support of clinical and research operations for the detection, quantification and/or speciation of Leishmania, Plasmodium and other blood-borne pathogens. The incumbent will work in a team environment to assure compliance with internal specifications and/or standards as well as all CAP/CLIA/DoD regulatory agency requirements.


  1. Perform molecular biology techniques that include but are not limited to DNA/RNA extraction, Real time PCR etc.
  2. Perform immunology techniques that include but are not limited to ELISA, Luminex etc.
  3. Perform histological tests to identify parasites in human and animal tissues. 
  4. Participate in project planning (goals, timelines, and resources).
  5. Ensure achievement of the project goals in a timely manner and within budget.
  6. Establish and maintain searchable databank containing salient characteristics of cryopreserved samples including location in the cryobank.
  7. Assists in the preparation of data, as well as perform basic record keeping of protocols and results, and figure presentation.
  8. Maintain laboratory equipment and reagents within CAP/CLIP/CLIA/GLP regulations.
  9. Maintains Proficiency Testing records, receipt of PTs, tracking PT assignments, pre- submission review, review of post evaluation reports.
  10. Maintain a safe workplace ensuring that he/she is aware of and observes appropriate safety and occupational health rules and regulations. Employee is required to attend safety training relative to his/her position and report any infractions of safety procedures to the facility Safety Officer.
  11. Perform light duties and other related duties as required and assigned by the Associate Lab Director. 

Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities: Excellent laboratory and technical skills, ability to work independently once trained, excellent record keeping ability, excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Multi-tasking skills and ability to work in a multi-disciplinary environment. Ability to write and review SOPs, reports, and summaries using Microsoft Word and Excel programs. Knowledge of CAP/CLIP/CLIA/FDA regulatory requirements and experience working in a CAP/CLIA and/or FDA accredited laboratory. Able to identify areas for process improvement for better efficiency. Ability to work independently once trained and maintains excellent records with a keen attention to detail.  Previous experience working with emerging pathogens and automation/ high throughput analyzers a plus.

Minimum Education: Bachelor’s degree in Medical Technology or related field required.

Minimum Experience: 0-2 years of experience in wet-lab working experiences, ideally in nucleic acid (DNA and RNA) and molecular biology, at least 1 year experience preferred. 

Physical Capabilities: Job performance requires ability to move around and between several laboratory areas. The individual must be able to work in a laminar flow hood for handling of infectious agents. Fine motor coordination in manipulation of laboratory materials and in the performance of repetitive tasks is essential. The individual must be able to stand and/or sit for lengthy periods to include, but not limited to, processing of specimens, operation of instrumentation, and data analysis at a computer terminal. The individuals must be able to lift/push/pull up to 50lbs for shipping logistics. Must be able to wear appropriate personal protective equipment.

Supervisory Controls: The incumbent will report to the PDL Team Lead and Associate Laboratory Director

Work Environment: The Incumbent will work in laboratory environments that handle bio-hazardous materials, and infectious human specimens (blood-borne pathogens) to include, but not limited to, Leishmania, Malaria, Chagas disease, HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Herpes, HTLV, and syphilis infected material. This laboratory supports work of investigators of diverse scientific disciplines and nationalities and requires good interpersonal skills for effective job performance.

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.