Associate Scientist, Sample Preparation Laboratory Team Lead, CGR

Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research
Montgomery County, MD
Closing date
Sep 26, 2023

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Science, Pharmaceutical, Laboratory
Organization Type
Associate Scientist, Sample Preparation Laboratory Team Lead, CGR

Job ID: req3722
Employee Type: exempt full-time
Division: Clinical Research Program
Facility: Rockville: 9615 MedCtrDr
Location: 9615 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD 20850 USA

The Frederick National Laboratory is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and operated by Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc. The lab addresses some of the most urgent and intractable problems in the biomedical sciences in cancer and AIDS, drug development and first-in-human clinical trials, applications of nanotechnology in medicine, and rapid response to emerging threats of infectious diseases.

Accountability, Compassion, Collaboration, Dedication, Integrity and Versatility; it's the FNL way.


The Cancer Genomics Research Laboratory (CGR) investigates the contribution of germline and somatic genetic variation to cancer susceptibility and outcomes in support of the NCI's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), the world's most comprehensive cancer epidemiology research group. CGR is located at the NCI-Shady Grove campus in Gaithersburg, MD and operated by Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc. We care deeply about discovering the genetic and environmental determinants of cancer, and new approaches to cancer prevention, through our contributions to the molecular, genetic, and epidemiologic research of the 70+ investigators in DCEG. Working in concert with epidemiologists, biostatisticians and basic research scientists in DCEG's intramural research program, CGR provides the capacity to conduct genome-wide discovery studies and targeted regional approaches to identify the heritable determinants of various forms of cancer. This includes the design and analysis of high throughput studies using various types of "-omics" technologies such as array- and sequence-based genome-wide association studies, studies of tumor characteristics using integrated genomic data analysis, and molecular epidemiologic studies based on novel assays focused on the metabolome and microbiome.


CGR is a fast-paced, high throughput organization that supports histology, molecular and digital pathology, nucleic acid extraction, sample QC, genotyping, sequencing, and analysis for genetic and epidemiologic studies for the investigators within DCEG. CGR is recruiting an Associate Scientist I/Team Lead position within the Extraction and Sample Preparation laboratory that supports sample quantitation, QC and normalization of extracted nucleic acid, high throughput aliquoting of biospecimens for downstream assays and extraction of HPV samples for sequencing and genotyping efforts. The Team Lead position will work within our high throughput, highly automated laboratory to support biospecimen, reagent and materials management activities. The successful candidate will be responsible for supervision and management of the day-to day execution of laboratory processes and applications including:
  • Coordinate the preparation of sample collection kits for distribution to collaborators, receipt and organization of incoming sample shipments and reconciliation/organization for downstream activities.
  • Organization of samples, including sorting by tube type and relabeling as needed for automation workflows.
  • Support for sample inventory efforts, including freezer consolidation activities and preparation of samples for return to external collaborators and/or NCI Central Repository
  • Responsible for QC practices including nucleic acid quantitation and qualification, normalization, volume checking, and residual creation.
  • Preparation of standard curves and controls for sample QC on automated platforms
  • Coordinate plating of DNA and RNA on automation platforms for downstream genomic assays
  • Supervise the use of automated liquid handling robotics and/or manual methods in BSL-2+ controlled laboratory space to support biospecimen aliquoting tasks for both in house and outsourced assays.
  • Ensure accurate use of LIMS for sample management and other laboratory activities.
  • Draft, revise and ensure SOPs are reflective of best current practices.
  • Responsible for documenting and reporting results and deviations for a variety of procedures in the laboratory, governed by SOPs. Ensure proper documentation of all laboratory processes are performed by lab personnel.
  • React to any non-conformances or opportunities for improvement, by taking appropriate corrective actions in consultation with management, quality, development and automation teams and other relevant staff.
  • Coordinate performance of routine maintenance of laboratory equipment, including scheduling repairs and performance of preventative maintenance activities in coordination with quality management and automation teams
  • Work seamlessly and collaboratively with multiple teams across CGR including molecular and digital pathology, extraction, genomics, project management, technology development/optimization and quality management to successfully complete assigned projects and identify opportunities for continual improvement.
  • Working with CGR senior staff, extraction experts and technology development personnel, contribute to the establishment of new QC assays (e.g., QC for ct/cfDNA and UHMW DNA) and other new protocols that may be needed to support the DCEG research portfolio.
  • Responsible for mentorship, management and performance reviews for direct reports. Responsible for recruitment of laboratory staff.
  • Model, practice and ensure safe work habits, including complying with all safety, health and environmental rules and regulations and maintain a clean and organized laboratory.
  • Other duties as assigned and available


To be considered for this position, you must minimally meet the knowledge, skills, and abilities listed below:
  • Possession of a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university according to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation in a field related to biomedical research. (Additional qualifying experience may be substituted for the required education). Foreign degrees must be evaluated for U.S. equivalency.
  • In additional to educational requirement, a minimum of eight (8) years of experience
  • Excellent laboratory skills and good knowledge of molecular biology with demonstrated ability to troubleshoot with minimal supervision.
  • Experience with DNA and RNA extraction from a variety of biospecimen types
  • Experience with DNA and RNA assessment for quantity and quality utilizing various instruments and methods
  • Demonstrated experience in staff and laboratory management
  • Experience with prioritization of workload in a high-pressure environment. Ability to multitask
  • Ability to obtain and maintain a security clearance
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Computer literacy (Microsoft Office products, general computer proficiency)


Candidates with these desired skills will be given preferential consideration:
  • Experience in development of user requirements and utilization of LIMS for sample and process tracking
  • Familiarity with liquid handling robotics (use and maintenance, including but not limited to Tecan, Biomek platforms)
  • Experience with data analysis and visualization tools such as Excel, Spotfire, Tableau
  • Demonstrated attention to detail

  • This position is subject to working with or have potential for exposure to infectious material, requiring medical clearance and immunizations
  • This position may require continuous or intermittent exposure to and exertion in environmental conditions such as working outdoors, temperature extremes, humidity extremes. etc. as part of the job

Commitment to Diversity
All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, race, ethnicity, age, national origin, citizenship, religion, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, pregnancy, family structure, marital status, ancestry, domestic partner status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran or military status, or any other basis prohibited by law. Leidos will also consider for employment qualified applicants with criminal histories consistent with relevant laws.


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