Careers at Virginia Tech

Molecular Genetics, Bioinformatics, and Counter Wildlife Trafficking

Apply now Back to search results Job no: 529318
Work type: Research Faculty
Senior management: Natural Resources
Department: Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Location: Blacksburg, Virginia
Categories: Research / Scientific, Natural Resources

Job Description

Embark on a transformative journey alongside Professor K. Alexander at Virginia Tech spearheading a pioneering partnership between Virginia Tech, the Botswana government, and the not-for-profit NGO CARACAL (Centre for African Resources: Animals, Communities and Land Use). Together, these agencies are creating a ground-breaking initiative to establish a state-of-the-art Wildlife Forensic Science Laboratory (WFSL) in the wildlife-dense region of northern Botswana in Kasane. This cutting-edge facility will empower researchers and law enforcement professionals to swiftly leverage DNA evidence in the fight against wildlife trafficking in northern Botswana and create new knowledge and tools to counter wildlife trafficking in this region and beyond.

The successful candidate will play a lead role in establishing the forensic molecular laboratory alongside partners in Botswana in particular development of next generation sequencing applications, microsatellite genotyping, and associated bioinformatics.

The candidate will coordinate project administration including purchasing project monitoring, reporting, communications, scheduling of meetings and workshops, and training among other responsibilities.

The candidate will be expected to publish key findings in high level peer-reviewed journals with team members from VT, CARACAL, and the Botswana Government.

Other Key Responsibilities:
• Coordinate vendor-provided equipment training and maintain necessary records.
• Develop, implement, and ensure compliance with Virginia Tech and Botswana Government biosafety and environmental health requirements for laboratory safety.
• Laboratory and staff management and training (US and Botswana).
• Data management and quality control.
• Provide statistical and bioinformatics molecular analytical workflows.

Project activities and time differences between Botswana and USA may require the applicant to work longer hours, evenings, or on the weekend. Position offers the opportunity to travel to Bostwana to execute project requirements as needed. The position is primarily located in Blacksburg, VA.

Required Qualifications

• Advanced degree or less degree with related significant experience in a relevant field.
• Demonstrated experience in genomics, next generation sequencing applications, microsatellite investigations, and associated bioinformatics.
• Strong organizational skills and attention to detail.
• Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
• Ability to work collaboratively in a diverse team environment.

Preferred Qualifications

• Experience in the field of wildlife forensics will be considered an advantage.

Appointment Type


Salary Information

Salary commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Review Date


Additional Information

To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume/CV, and contact information for three professional references. Review of applications will begin on May 2, 2024.

The successful candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check.

About Virginia Tech

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive community dedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges, a school of medicine, a veterinary medicine college, Graduate School, and Honors College. The university has a significant presence across Virginia, including the Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia; the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke; sites in Newport News and Richmond; and numerous Extension offices and research centers. A leading global research institution, Virginia Tech conducts more than $500 million in research annually.

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or military status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Jennifer Phillips at during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

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