Environmental Microbiology Technician - Plant and Soil Sciences, Davis College

West Virginia University Research Corporation Human Resources
Morgantown, West Virginia, US
Jul 29, 2021
Jul 31, 2021
Biology, Ecology
Employment Type
Full time
Salary Type
The Division of Plant and Soil Sciences at the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design (ANRD) is seeking applications for a Environmental Microbiology Technician position. This position assists the Morrissey Lab in data collection and analysis, and laboratory management for research related to soil carbon cycling. This research will determine if related microorganisms behave similarly, as describing whole groups, or families, will permit efficient description of microorganisms in nature. This work sets the stage for effective characterization of microbial diversity to accurately predict the cycling of carbon in soil. This is a 12-month position with the potential for extension depending upon performance and the availability of funding. Responds to inquiries and independently resolves matters of low to moderate complexity. Responsibilities require some judgment, resourcefulness, and originality, but diverse guides and precedents are usually available to apply or adapt to the circumstances.

In order to be successful in this position, the ideal candidate will perform the following:

Duties & Responsibilities

Responsibilities are functional in nature and performed under general supervision. Specific tasks include, but are not limited to:
  • Processing and analysis of research samples by performing tasks such as DNA extraction, ultracentrifugation, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
  • Assisting with data analysis and interpretation through performing statistical tests and aiding in scientific manuscript preparation.
  • General laboratory maintenance, including keeping tracking of inventory, ordering supplies, and keeping samples and supplies organized.
  • Assisting graduate and undergraduate students with laboratory research.

Supervisory/Lead Role

This position reports to the Principal Investigator (PI). Normally receives minimal instructions on routine work, and general instructions on new assignments. Supervision of others is not required; however, sharing of knowledge with others and team participation is expected in the role. Program, project or activity lead responsibilities will occur or be assigned in this position.

Physical Demands

Activities require manual skill to perform accurate sampling, operate computer, equipment and measuring devices; lifting and carrying objects up to 30 lbs; standing/sitting by the bench, walking back and forth from laboratory to office and in the field for transporting samples, which can be a medium distance, traversing field, stairs and/or using elevators. Good hand-eye-coordination, precision of movements, and attention to detail is required.

Work Environment

Work will be performed predominantly indoors in a standard laboratory environment including using computers and laboratory equipment with electrical connections; and minimally outdoors with exposure to varied temperature and atmospheric conditions (fumes, odors, mists, dusts, dirt) and animals. Protective measures will be provided.
  • Bachelor's Degree or equivalent combination of educaiton and experience. in biology, microbiology, environmental sciences, or a related discipline.
  • One (1) year of laboratory experience related to biological research.
  • Demonstrated ability to perform genetic laboratory techniques, such as DNA extraction and PCR.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of genetic principles and concepts
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze data, write effectively, and present results of scientific studies.
  • Ability to read and interpret documents such as scientific literature, safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals.
  • Demonstrated ability to operate a personal computer utilizing Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and Power Point) and other software applications for reports, graphs, mailings and presentation development.
  • Ability to write routine reports and correspondence.
  • Demonstrated ability in scientific writing.
  • Skilled at analyzing biological samples.
  • Ability to prepare biological samples for testing or analysis.
  • Ability to prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
  • Thorough knowledge of proper English, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure.
  • Ability to speak effectively before groups of employees of the organization.
  • Demonstrated ability to perform statistical analysis.
  • Ability to apply common sense understanding to carry out instructions furnished in written, oral, or diagram form. Ability to deal with problems involving several concrete variables in standardized situations.
  • Excellent organizational skills and a thorough knowledge of general office methods, procedures, and practices.
  • Ability to set, coordinate, and plan schedules, work independently, and collect, organize, and analyze information. Must have the ability to independently set priorities in a logical and efficient manner.
  • Ability to coordinate different tasks, determine relative importance of each, set deadlines, and complete projects in a timely manner and within set guidelines.

Behavioral Competencies
  • Technical skills - Strives to continuously build knowledge and skills; pursues training and development opportunities; assess strengths, weaknesses, and shares expertise with others.
  • Problem solving - Gathers and analyzes information, identifies problems, develops alternatives, uses reason even when dealing with emotional topics and works well in groups and resolves matters timely.
  • Communications - Demonstrates group presentation skills, participates in meetings, listens and gets clarification, is responsive and speaks clearly and persuasively in positive and negative situations. Writes and edits clearly and informatively, varies style to meet needs, presents numerical data effectively, and able to read and interpret written information.
  • Organizational Support - Aligns work and develops strategies to meet organizational goals; seeks to improve and promote quality; demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness; and upholds organizational expectations and values.
  • Self-Management - Responds to management direction; resourcefully adapts to changes in work environment and circumstances; responds well under pressure and manages competing demands; takes calculated risks, asks for and offers help when needed; exercise discretion and sound judgment; is tactful and responsible for own actions. Adheres to work schedule and complies with leave management responsibilities.

Preferred Qualifications
  • Education or experience in biology, microbiology, environmental sciences, ecology, biogeochemistry, or a related discipline.
  • Experience with bioinformatics.