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Research Associate I - Extraction

Job ID: req1959
Employee Type: exempt full-time
Facility: Frederick: Ft Detrick
Location: PO Box B, Frederick, MD 21702 USA

The Frederick National Laboratory is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and operated by Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc.  The lab addresses some of the most urgent and intractable problems in the biomedical sciences in cancer and AIDS, drug development and first-in-human clinical trials, applications of nanotechnology in medicine, and rapid response to emerging threats of infectious diseases.

Accountability, Compassion, Collaboration, Dedication, Integrity and Versatility; it's the FNL way.

 Position Overview:


The Molecular Characterization Laboratory (MoCha) is part of Leidos Biomedical Research’s Clinical Research Directorate (CRD) at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research. The MoCha Laboratory is responsible for providing high-level research in support of the NCI-Cancer Diagnostics Program (CDP) within the Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis (DCTD). MoCha is charged with the development and application of genomic assays for use in medical research and diagnostics for DCTD-sponsored national extramural clinical trials. 

The Molecular Characterization Laboratory (MoCha) focuses on development and application of novel genomic assays for clinical applications


The Research Associate I will perform nucleic acid extraction, nucleic acid QC, specimen accessioning and tracking to facilitate cutting edge genomic research in support of DCTD projects e.g. Patient Derived Xenograft Models (PDM) project, genomic characterization of patient samples enrolled in clinical trials.

  • Performs nucleic acid extractions manually and using automated platforms
  • Performs quality and quantitation assays on extracted nucleic acids in high throughput assay platforms
  • Accessions and tracks biospecimens from multiple projects
  • Performs appropriate dilutions of the extracted nucleic acids for downstream genomic assays using automated platforms
  • Recommends and optimizes new nucleic acid QC assay platforms
  • Recommends and optimizes biospecimen tracking processes
  • Develops new assays and applies the methods/assays utilizing sound scientific judgement 
  • Develops and maintains SOPs for above-mentioned research activities
  • Performs formal reporting of research data, including presentations and/or scientific publications
  • Makes detailed observations, analyzes data and interprets results
  • Investigates, creates and develops new methods and technologies for project advancement
  • Will be key staff member for above-mentioned activities
  • Maintains high level of professional expertise through familiarity with scientific literature and presentations
  • Maintains essential laboratory supplies and monitors equipment for optimum performance
  • May participate in scientific conferences and contribute to scientific journals
  • May train in and perform next generation sequencing assays
  • May participate in assay development projects
  • This position will be located in Frederick, Maryland


To be considered for this position, you must minimally meet the knowledge, skills, and abilities listed below:

  • Possession of Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college/university according to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or four (4) years relevant experience in lieu of degree.  Foreign degrees must be evaluated for U.S. equivalency
  • In addition to the education requirement, a minimum of two (2) years of progressively responsible experience
  • Strong technical skills in molecular assays and/or nucleic acid extraction and understanding of QC metrics of nucleic acids
  • Ability to independently evaluate the suitability and quality control of research or production assays or tests, develop and follow SOPs, and analyze and report data 
  • Ability to track information in a large cohort of samples and monitor progress of multiple projects 
  • Adequate computer skills to document, organize, and present experimental data 
  • Strong critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing
  • Ability to obtain and maintain a security clearance


Candidates with these desired skills will be given preferential consideration:

  • Experience with automated nucleic acid extraction platforms
  • Experience with liquid handling automation platforms (sample dilution robotic platforms)
  • Familiarity with clinical oncology studies and other protocol-driven clinical research 


  • Understanding in molecular biology techniques, oncology and clinical research
  • Excellent communication skills (written and oral)
  • Ability to work effectively in a matrix and team‐oriented environment
  • Ability to identify and solve complex problems
  • Strong organizational and multitasking skills


  • This position is subject to working with or have potential for exposure to animal(s) and/or animal material(s)
  • This position is subject to working with or have potential for exposure to infectious material, requiring medical clearance and immunizations

Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE) | Minority/Female/Disabled/Veteran (M/F/D/V) | Drug Free Workplace (DFW)