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Molecular Diagnostics Research Asst III / Research Assistant III

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Back to search results Apply now Job no: 802230
Work type: Support Staff
Personnel Sub Area: AP- Professionals
Pay Grade: 13
Major Administrative Unit / College: College Of Veterinary Medicine
Department: Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory 10046059
Salary: Salary Commensurate with Experience
Location: East Lansing
Categories: Health Care Support, Research/Scientific, Veterinary/Animal Care, Administrative Professionals- AP, Full Time (90-100%), Union

Working/Functional Title

Molecular Diagnostics Research Asst III

Position Summary

The MSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) in the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) at Michigan State University (MSU)  is seeking a Research Assistant III to oversee and facilitate the development, optimization, and validation of diagnostic tests utilizing digital PCR and next generation sequencing. This position will also provide technical support for the current tests including operation and maintenance of complex instruments while analyzing related test data for diagnostic quality and instrument performance.

As part of the MSU VDL, the Molecular Diagnostics Research Assistant III will be a part of the team developing digital PCR, Sanger Sequencing and Next Generation Sequencing assays. This work will serve to fill the VDL’s mission to provide our clients with innovative technologies.  Primary tasks are divided into the categories of Assay Deployment (50%), Clinical Diagnostic Support (20%), Quality Assurance (20%) and Client Interactions (10%). The proportion of time devoted to primary tasks will vary according to project requirements and clinical diagnostic needs.

The assay development portion of this appointment will be to collaborate with various sections to develop, optimize, and validate molecular tests including real-time PCR, digital PCR, Sanger sequencing and next-generation sequencing. Assay development will include test design, in-silico analysis, and selection of reagents, controls, and reaction chemistries for optimum assay performance will also be necessary. Assay validation will include the determination of the assay’s sensitivity, specificity, limit of detection and reproducibility. The individual will provide clinical diagnostic support through implementation of the assay for diagnostic purposes, routine maintenance of equipment and training of the various section staff.

As part of the assay development process, the Research Assistant III will be responsible for the development, review, and maintenance of Standard Operating Procedures, Work Instructions, and other Quality Assurance documentation related to the development of diagnostic tests. In addition, participation in internal and external audits and the performance of corrective actions and preventative actions will be assigned as needed. 

This position will provide consultation services related to the development of Molecular Diagnostic laboratory services. The ability to discuss current testing capabilities is an essential part of this position. Familiarity with the principle and limitations of each technology is crucial.  Strong verbal and written communication skills are required.

The College's vision is to be the destination for teaching, innovation, care, and service. Six goals, backed by specific strategies, guide our organization as we move forward. Read more at to learn about the MSU College of Veterinary Medicines goals, strategies, and progress.

The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is a fully accredited diagnostic laboratory for all species offering both routine and specialty diagnostics averaging over one million tests per year. The VDL is an invaluable resource when for identifying tracking and addressing merging animal disease and public health threats. The MSU VDL investigates the cause of disease through our diagnostic expertise and unique test offerings in our Anatomical and Surgical Pathology, Bacteriology, Clinical Pathology, Endocrinology, Immunodiagnostics and Parasitology, Nutrition, Toxicology and Virology sections.  As part of our mission, we serve as a learning center for residents, future veterinarians, veterinary nursing students and even laboratorians. We collaborate with clinicians, State and Federal agencies to provide lifesaving data in a timely manner.  We aim to reflect the diversity of the population we serve as well as support and nurture all people as respected individuals.

The College of Veterinary Medicine is committed to promoting the principles of equal opportunity and multiculturalism where all individuals are valued, respected, provided opportunity to flourish and open doors in their pursuit of excellence. We encourage and welcome our community to share ideas with us surrounding opportunities to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Unit Specific Education/Experience/Skills

Knowledge equivalent to that which normally would be acquired through completion of one or two years of post-bachelor degree work, such as a Master's in molecular diagnostics, genetics, molecular biology or a related field; one to three years of related and progressively more responsible or expansive work experience in research methodologies, writing reports, supervision, software, data interpretation and handling in molecular diagnostic techniques including nucleic acid extraction methods, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), Real-Time PCR, Digital PCR, electrophoresis methods including capillary electrophoresis, and Sanger Sequencing; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Desired Qualifications

  • Familiarity with the principles of Next Generation Sequencing.
  • Proficiency in the utilization and maintenance of complex laboratory equipment including thermal cyclers, RT-PCR instrumentation, capillary electrophoresis instrumentation etc.
  • Experience developing, optimizing, and validating molecular diagnostic tests.
  • Familiarity with basic statistics and analysis of complex data sets.
  • Maintenance of detailed records.
  • Experience with software used to design primers and analyze/align genetic information such as Sequencer, Clone Manager, Mutation Surveyor, Geneious, BioStar etc.
  • Experience authoring standard operating procedures as well as job aids.
  • Participation in a quality assurance program including but not limited to participation in audits, proficiency testing, corrective actions, and  preventative actions.
  • Experience interpreting and reporting the results of diagnostic molecular tests.
  • Ability to utilize standard laboratory equipment including balances, centrifuges, micropipettes, a vortex, biological safety cabinet etc.
  • Ability to adhere to Biosafety Leve 2 safety practices (with the potential to advance to BSL 3 level working conditions)
  • Ability to work in an RNase free environment.
  • Ability to perform complex diagnostic workflows consistently with thoroughness and close attention to detail.
  • Ability to identify diagnostic errors and test discrepancies.
  • Ability to troubleshoot equipment failures and discrepant test results.
  • Utilize various instrument software and laboratory information management systems to analyze, interpret and report patient results.
  • Ability to use Microsoft Office products including Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook.
  • Ability to work effectively with diverse multidisciplinary teams, virtually or in-person, including the ability to serve in both leadership and contributory roles.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects and responsibilities simultaneously.
  • Self-motivated with the ability to work independently and prioritize tasks such that they are completed in a timely manner.
  • Strong interpersonal oral and written communication skills.
  • Participate in a variety of professional development opportunities to retain existing skills, and ability to quickly learn new skills and procedures.
  • Meet challenges with resourcefulness and remain composed under pressure.
  • Asks for and offers help when needed.
  • Ability to lift  and carry materials or equipment up to 25 lbs.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, age, disability or protected veteran status.

Required Application Materials

Please provide the following materials...

  • Current Resume or CV
  • Cover letter
  • at least 3 Professional References

Together-we-will Statement

The university is requiring all MSU students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with limited exceptions. Learn more at:

Special Instructions

Please provide the following materials...

  • Current Resume or CV
  • Cover letter
  • at least 3 Professional References

Work Hours



Summary of Physical Demands

lifting 25 lbs.

Summary of Health Risks

exposure to unfixed animal tissue

Bidding eligibility ends August 16, 2022 at 11:55 P.M.

Advertised: Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close: Eastern Daylight Time

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