Senior Research Associate - Virology, Biological Threat Characterization (#1618)

(Ref#: 1618)

Battelle National Biodefense Institute

  • Lab Technician
  • Research Scientist
  • Other
Job Type/Arrangement:
  • Full Time

BACKGROUND: The National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) federal laboratory sponsored by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate and operated by the Battelle National Biodefense Institute, LLC (BNBI).

PRIMARY FUNCTION:Works with a team of scientists in the National Biological Threat Characterization Center (NBTCC) at the NBACC to develop, manage and analyze research that addresses specific scientific questions of national significance in support of biodefense preparedness, response and recovery. Areas of research include a range of topics related to the physical, biological and/or pathogenic properties of viral agents and aerosols containing viral agents. Work will be performed in select agent-approved state-of-the-art Biosafety Level BSL – 2, 3, & 4 and ABSL – 2, 3, & 4 facilities fully staffed and equipped with a wide range of technologies useful for biodefense and infectious disease research.


• Bachelor’s degree and 5 years of current virology related experience or a Master’s degree and 3 years of practical laboratory experience including experience in at least four of the following methods: mammalian cell culture; virus, pseudovirus, viral vector, or virus-like particle propagation and titration; cell-based assays and laboratory automation; immunostaining of cells; PCR/qPCR/RT-qPCR/ddPCR; next generation sequencing; support of virology-related aerosol studies; support of virology-related animal protocols.

• Advanced scientific proficiency in laboratory functions. Possesses the ability to identify issues and recommend solutions to laboratory protocols, procedures and experimental plans.

• Proficiency and clarity of oral and written communications are essential.

• Exemplary organizational skills with a proven track record of working effectively both independently and as a team player.

• Knowledge or experience with biocontainment facilities and procedures, laboratory safety, biosurety, and decontamination desirable.

• Skills and experience to support laboratory activities and work in accordance with NBACC’s management system (e.g., ISO).

• Must be a citizen of the United States, able to obtain and maintain an interim secret clearance leading to a top secret clearance, suitability for DHS, a favorable adjudication of the Department of Justice (DoJ) for select agent access, and enrollment in the Personnel Reliability Program (PRP). Current clearance(s) desirable.

• Participation in the Immunization Program through Frederick Health Employer Solutions (FHES) is required.

• May be required to participate in NBACC’s alternative work and/or on-call schedule, dependent upon business needs.


• Provides substantial technical and laboratory expertise to perform research projects in BSL-2, 3, & 4 laboratories aimed at addressing current virology threat characterization knowledge gaps, such as evaluation of viral growth, environmental decay, and virulence.

• Contributes in matrixed and cross-functional research teams that may include Aerobiology, Bacteriology, and Comparative Medicine (veterinary) staff.

• Adapts to potentially rapidly changing and high tempo project requirements to address national security issues with flexibility and resiliency. Proactively offers recommendations to modify processes and promote efficiency to achieve mission requirements.

• Safely operates, maintains, and documents the performance of equipment used for virology studies with minimal supervision, and proactively provides recommendations for process improvements or new capabilities when appropriate.

• Maintains accurate and complete records and collects/analyzes technical and programmatic data as part of a project team in support of Project Lead or Principal Investigator. Contributes to establishing data management and data quality control processes for projects.

• May act as a Technical Lead to coordinate day-to-day project logistics and scheduling, perform summary-level analysis of data, and provide drafts of project administrative documents.

• Develops high quality draft protocols, task-specific procedures and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), with minimal supervision. Proactively suggests changes to existing SOPs and development of new SOPs when needed. Cross-trains peers on existing and new SOPs.

• Supports Principal Investigators during the writing of technical reports by providing high quality draft text, figures, and data analyses. Performs peer review of final documents for technical accuracy and quality control.

• Provides technical support to multiple projects simultaneously and applies knowledge and skills to complete a wide range of tasks.

• Presents research results in written and oral formats.

• Provides mentorship to staff dependent on subject matter expertise.

• May support other research areas of NBACC with appropriate training as program demands.

• May serve as a Laboratory Space Manager, and/or Biological Select Agents and Toxins (BSAT) designee.

• Ability to adapt to new work assignments, and perform assignments outside area of expertise, while managing resources efficiently.

• Works on assignments requiring considerable judgment and initiative, while understanding the implications of work and making recommendations for solutions.

• Receives little instruction on daily work, general instructions on newly introduced assignments, and has the ability to mentor personnel within the group, while identifying and communicating promptly and with recommended solutions.

• Maintains a safe work environment by participating in specialized training and review of safety manuals and SOPs.

• Identifies departures from the Quality Management System (QMS) and initiates actions to investigate and prevent such occurrences.

• Operates, maintains, and characterizes the performance of the equipment with minimal supervision.

• Develops techniques, prepares samples and performs test according to appropriate SOPs.

• Serves as a member of a team in developing, validating and maintaining methods for identifying and characterizing biological threat agents.

• Ensures that equipment, reagents and supplies are maintained and used properly.

• Maintains appropriate records.

• Performs other assigned duties.

BNBI is an Affirmative Action/ Equal Opportunity Employer.

Education Requirement:
Bachelor’s degree and 5 years of current virology related experience or a Master’s degree and 3 years of practical laboratory experience
Years of Experience:
BS + 5 yrs; MS + 3 yrs
National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center
National Biological Threat Characterization Center
8300 Research Plaza
Fort Detrick , MD 21702
Louis Altamura, PhD