Summary of Duties
Assist with the design, set-up, maintenance, and completion of a diversity of lab, greenhouse, and field research/extension trials for the Berry and Potato Pathology (BPP) program at the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC, both on-station and off-station. Essential responsibilities include: identifying and defining research problems; conduct independent research; collect, analyze, and interpret research data; develop and troubleshoot protocols; assist in preparing journal publications and progress reports; conduct general laboratory maintenance and routine care of scientific instrumentation; order lab supplies and maintain inventory records.
Laboratory Duties (45%)
Effectively carry out molecular plant pathology techniques including preparation of isolates, DNA extraction, PCR assays, preparation of amplified DNA for sequencing, and processing of DNA sequences for genus and species identification. Assist with isolations of plant pathogens from plant samples using appropriate methods. Perform routine laboratory support duties, including: prepare agar media and other reagents or buffers for a diversity of plant pathogens and research projects; help with maintenance of fungal, bacterial, and viral isolates in storage, and preparation of cultures using appropriate sterile lab techniques; assist with ordering lab and other program supplies as needed (complete WSU training for approval to use a WSU purchasing card); monitoring performance and operation of lab equipment such as autoclaves, lab dishwasher and drier, pH meters, centrifuges, laminar flow hood, biological safety equipment, incubators, germinators, growth chambers, and other laboratory equipment; clean and maintain laboratory equipment. Maintain and ensure compliance with regulatory and safety protocols and records. Oversee quality control, make suggestions for improvement in techniques and interpretation.
Research Duties (40%)
Participate in the development and design of research projects, protocols, experiments, techniques, and procedures. Analyze and evaluate current methodologies and modify or adapt to fit research project goals. Independently conduct research by applying established and modified methods. Enter data into spreadsheets for statistical analyses; proofread, sort, and summarize data, accurately and efficiently. Maintain records of experiments; compiling data into graphic, tabular or other formatting and performing statistical analysis and analytical modeling; preparing data for publication; coordinating with other research and support personnel. Assist with set-up, maintenance, and data collection of greenhouse and field experiments; perform inoculations and isolations for a diversity of crops and plant pathogens; clean and maintain greenhouse space and equipment; apply pesticides (e.g., fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides) using appropriate personal protective equipment and procedures; operate and calibrate greenhouse equipment. Willing to work outdoors under a range of weather conditions, conventional and organic agricultural production systems, and with a diversity of plants, crops, and plant pathogens. Willing to travel to field trial sites across WA, and occasionally in the greater Pacific Northwest (ID and OR), with potential overnight stays.
Supervision and Training (10%)
Train, advice and lead, students, interns, part time employees, and other technical personnel with regards to all general laboratory protocols as well as equipment operation, calibration, use-scheduling, and maintenance.
Other Duties (5%)
Other duties as assigned. May include but are not limited to: serving on appropriate committees at the WSU Mount Vernon NWREC; other general service activities expected of employees at the NWREC; assist with scientific literature searches for developing plant pathology research projects; maintain productive, positive working relations with employees, other research and extension programs, the agricultural community and other stakeholders, and the public.
- Bachelor’s Degree in the applied, biological, chemical, physical OR agricultural sciences, AND one year of experience as an Agricultural Research Technologist 1; OR equivalent education/experience.
- Strong molecular biology skills
- Ability and willingness to travel.
- Ability and willingness to work beyond the traditional hours, including evenings and or weekends when circumstances necessitate non-traditional hours, e.g., watering plants in the greenhouse on weekends or holiday, driving to field trial sites in central Washington, completing time-sensitive tasks such as harvesting plots in a field trial before the grower-cooperator harvests the rest of the field or before rains start, etc.
- Master’s degree in plant pathology, agricultural, biological, or experimental sciences, or related field with field, laboratory, and greenhouse research experience.
- Possession of, or ability to obtain a Washington State Department of Agriculture pesticide applicators’ license within 2 months of hire.
Starting at $18.66/hour | Range 40, $3,246.00 – $4,324.00/month (Step A through M) | Successful candidates typically begin at the beginning of the salary range and receive scheduled salary increment increases in accordance with WAC 357-28.
Temporary (with opportunity to expand into permanent)
Full time (M-F 8AM-5PM)
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