Biologist Technician III (Biotech)
Work Where it Matters
Akima Systems Engineering (ASE), an Akima company, is not just another federal systems support contractor. As an Alaska Native Corporation (ANC), our mission and purpose extend beyond our exciting federal projects as we support our shareholder communities in Alaska.
At ASE, the work you do every day makes a difference in the lives of our 15,000 Iñupiat shareholders, a group of Alaska natives from one of the most remote and harshest environments in the United States.
For our shareholders, ASE provides support and employment opportunities and contributes to the survival of a culture that has thrived above the Arctic Circle for more than 10,000 years.
For our government customers, ASE delivers solutions in maritime IT, systems engineering, and integration across the Department of Defense and stands ready to help improve operational performance at a reasonable and sustainable cost.
As an ASE employee, you will be surrounded by a challenging, yet supportive work environment that is committed to innovation and diversity, two of our most important values. You will also have access to our comprehensive benefits and competitive pay in addition to growth opportunities and excellent retirement options.
The National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) is a science center of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) with specialized laboratories dedicated to wildlife disease detection, control, and prevention. Their mission is to advance wildlife health science for the benefit of animals, humans, and the environment.
Akima is hiring a Biology Technician III to collaborate with government scientists to assist with surveillance and research of these diseases.
The work involves the performance of molecular techniques and scientific research to better understand the biology and disease ecology of fungal pathogens, including those that are associated with emerging diseases of conservation significance such as bat white-nose syndrome (WNS) and snake fungal disease (SFD).
WNS is an often-fatal disease of hibernating bats caused by Pseudogymnoascus destructans, a fungus introduced to North America from Eurasia. The disease was first documented in 2006 near Albany, New York and has since spread across most of the U.S. and Canada, killing millions of bats. Several bat species in the eastern U.S. are now threatened with extinction due to the disease, while many more bat species in the western part of the country are at risk as the fungus continues to spread. The work involves conducting surveillance for white-nose syndrome to track the spread of the disease and its impacts on bats by screening samples for the fungal pathogen, assessing species susceptibility, documenting disease impacts, and conducting research to understand the biology and virulence of P. destructans. SFD is an emerging disease of snakes caused by Ophidiomyces ophidiicola. The fungus is believed to have been introduced to the U.S. in the early 1900s but did not start causing significant disease in wild snake populations until the early 2000s. The requested work involves testing diagnostic samples for the presence of O. ophidiicola and conducting research on the fungus to better understand why the disease is emerging.
Design and perform scientific experiments, generate scientific data, and conduct appropriate analysis in support of experimental conclusions. Experimental design, hypotheses, results, and conclusions shall be documented, and records shall be submitted documenting progress towards task accomplishment.
Collaborate with USGS staff and scientists to collect data, perform analyses, write and publish USGS report products, in accordance with fundamental science practices and quality assurance standards.
The Biology Technician will rely on experience and judgement along with instructions and pre-established guidelines to perform laboratory studies and accomplish the following:
Prepare sampling kits for collaborators collecting samples in the field and coordinate submission of those kits.
Enter data in Excel spreadsheets and Access databases.
Create, edit, and follow standard operating procedures (SOPs), maintain a detailed laboratory notebook, and adhere to guidelines of a Quality Management System (QMS).
Collect, curate, and prepare biological and environmental samples for nucleic acid extraction.
Perform conventional PCR, cloning, and DNA sequencing to identify fungal strains and bat specimens to the species level.
Perform real-time PCR to detect and quantify fungal pathogens in samples.
Troubleshoot various molecular biology techniques such as PCR.
Assist with necropsies of bats to diagnosis WNS and assess disease severity.
Assist with experimental design.
Operate laboratory equipment (balances, centrifuges, microscopes, incubators, shakers, pipettes, thermal cyclers, spectrophotometers).
Isolate, culture, maintain, and cryopreserve live fungus from clinical samples.
Harvest and enumerate fungal spores for various experiments.
Extract nucleic acid in pursuit of whole genome sequencing.
Provide preliminary analysis of data to support the conclusions of the experiments.
Assist to assemble, evaluate, and analyze data for presentation in a scientifically appropriate manner.
Assist to assemble, evaluate, and analyze data for inclusion in reports and publications describing results.
Maintain laboratory supplies and equipment and ensure all laboratory safety standards are met.
Some travel may be required to support program tasks, such as occasional attendance at professional society meetings, workshops, or to travel to pick up or drop off samples.
1-2 years of experience in laboratory setting.
Able to bend, walk and tolerate moderate amounts of physical exertion in a laboratory environment.
Experience with the use of hazardous chemicals and manipulation of biological hazards (prions). Participation in the Center occupational health program is required and includes medical clearance to wear a respirator and vaccinations necessary to work with wildlife.
Possible travel may be required to support program tasks, such as occasional attendance at professional society meetings, workshops, or to travel to pick up or drop off samples.
We are an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will receive consideration for employment, without regard to race, color, religion, creed, national origin, gender or gender-identity, age, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran status, disability, pregnancy or parental status, or any other basis prohibited by law. If you are an individual with a disability, and would like to request a reasonable accommodation for any part of the employment process, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 571-353-7053 (information about job applications status is not available at this contact information).