Research Scholar - Bioinformatician

Jul 29, 2017
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Position Number: 00106193

Primary Function of Organization Unit: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)-Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ)-Science & Technology (S&T)-Center for Plant Health Science and Technology (CPHST) Beltsville Laboratory mission is to provide federal confirmatory diagnostics for regulatory plant pathogens; develop and validate advanced molecular and serological detection methods for pathogens that threaten U.S. agriculture; evaluate applicability of new, state-of-the-art technologies and methodologies in support of the agency efforts. The Plant Germplasm Quarantine Program (PGQP) managed by USDA APHIS PPQ, has the only federal plant quarantine facility in the United States for the importation of certain crop propagules otherwise prohibited from commercial importation. The function of the PGQP is to establish and maintain foreign germplasm and cultivars under appropriate safeguarding conditions, conduct validated tests for pests, implement therapy if necessary, and distribute released plant propagules free of exotic and destructive pathogens that could pose serious consequences to U.S. crop production. These activities prevent the introduction of damaging insects, mites, fungi, bacteria, nematodes, phytoplasmas, viruses, viroids, and undescribed infectious agents so that agricultural scientists and industry personnel can safely obtain valuable foreign germplasm and cultivars for the improvement of U.S. agriculture.

Essential Job Duties: **This position is located in Beltsville, MD.** The Research Scholar - Bioinformatician will work as a member of project "Development and validation of advanced methods for detection and identification of plant quarantine pathogens", under the general supervision of a team/project leader to support the APHIS PPQ PGQP projects on molecular and biochemical methods for the diagnosis of regulatory plant pathogens. The Research Scholar - Bioinformatician will perform bioinformatic analyses on next generation sequencing (NGS) data (DNA-seq, RNA-seq, metagenomics) by developing custom analytical tools/pipelines, adopting recent and new analytical approaches, and using freely accessible open-source software. The identification and characterization of plant pathogens of quarantine and regulatory significance are primary goals of such analyses. The Research Scholar - Bioinformatician will be part of a growing and innovative team that will handle large amounts of data of the area of research.

Minimum Education/Experience: * Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree in Computer/Computational Science, Bioinformatics or related field. * Strong programming and scripting experience. * Experience managing and working with NGS data.

Department Required Skills: * Documented experience in analyzing data derived from NGS. * Proficient in genome and transcriptome assembly, annotation, variant detection and comparative genomic analyses. * Demonstrated programming and scripting skills in several of the following languages: R, Python, Java, Perl, C++. * Comfortable setting up, working and maintaining a Linux/Unix environment. * Attention to details. * Knowledge of GLP and QMS, SOP instructions and excellent technical skills. * Ability to plan and follow planned activities independently. * Good written and oral communication skills. * Basic system administration skills.

Preferred Experience, Skills, Training/Education: * Knowledge, background, or experience in molecular biology and microbiology. * Writing code and developing solutions to computational biology problems, with particular emphasis on the detection of pathogens (viruses, phytoplasmas, viroids, fungi, bacteria, or nematodes).

Necessary Licenses and Certifications: N/A

AA/EOE: NC State University is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as an individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran.

Individuals with disabilities requiring disability-related accommodations in the application and interview process, please call 919-515-3148. Final candidates are subject to criminal & sex offender background checks. Some vacancies also require credit or motor vehicle checks. If highest degree is from an institution outside of the U.S., final candidates are required to have their degree verified at "":http// Degree must be obtained prior to start date.

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