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Job Posting

Research Scientist, Mass Spectrometry

Location:Fort Detrick, MD
Position:Research Scientist, Mass Spectrometry



The National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) is a one-of-a-kind facility dedicated to defending the nation against biological threats. Its work supports DHS and National biodefense preparedness planning, response, emerging threat characterization and bioforensic analyses. It is the first national laboratory created by DHS in response to biodefense gaps identified following the Amerithrax attacks of 2001 and has been operated by the Battelle National Biodefense Institute (BNBI) since 2006. Since its inception, NBACC and its staff have filled critical shortfalls in our scientific knowledge of biological agents needed to protect the public and defend the Nation from biological threats, whether naturally occurring, accidental, or deliberate and provided federal law enforcement with scientific data to support the investigation and attribution of biocrimes and protection of the US bioeconomy.

NBACC includes two centers: the National Bioforensic Analysis Center (NBFAC), which conducts the technical analyses in support of federal law enforcement investigations, and the National Biological Threat Characterization Center (NBTCC), which conducts experiments and studies to obtain data required for a better understand biological vulnerabilities and hazards. Together these centers offer a unique national resource for understanding the risks posed by biological agents and emerging technologies to inform biodefense policy and response planning and the operational capability to support the investigation, prosecution, and prevention of biocrimes and bioterrorism.


Provides technical and laboratory expertise in the conduct of mass spectrometry using MALDI-TOF and LC-MS/MS instruments to identify and characterize protein and biological toxins in samples for the NBFAC. Supports the development, evaluation, validation, and execution of mass spectrometry methods under the ISO 17025 Standard to characterize forensic samples. Conducts analysis and reporting of mass spectrometry data.


• Bachelor of Science (or equivalent) in a scientific discipline or engineering, and a minimum of 9 years related experience or a Master’s degree and a minimum of 7 years experience.
• Experience using a variety of mass spectrometry instrumentation including maintenance and troubleshooting as well as participation in method development and evaluation.
• Highly skilled scientific proficiency in laboratory functions. Possesses the ability to identify issues and recommend solutions to institutional science protocols, procedures, and experimental plans.
• Proficiency and clarity of oral and written communications are essential.
• Exemplary organizational skills with a proven track record of working effectively both independently and as a team player.
• Knowledge or experience with biocontainment facilities and procedures, laboratory safety, biosurety, and decontamination desirable.
• Skills and experience to support laboratory activities and work in accordance with NBACC’s management system (e.g., ISO).
• Must be a citizen of the United States, able to obtain and maintain an interim secret clearance leading to a top-secret clearance, suitability for DHS, and a favorable adjudication of the Department of Justice (DoJ) for select agent access. Current clearance(s) desirable.
• Participation in the Immunization Program, Medical Surveillance Program, and enrollment in the Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) is required.
• May be required to participate in NBACC’s alternative work and/or on-call schedule, dependent upon business needs.


• Participates in and assists in leading development, validation, and conduct of mass spectrometry to detect and characterize proteins and biological toxins, including small-molecular weight toxins using MALDI-TOF and LC-MS/MS instruments.
• Independently operates, maintains, and troubleshoots lab equipment such as MALDI-TOF, UPLC, nanoLC, triple quadrupole, and high-resolution mass spectrometers.
• Executes casework by conducting analyses of forensic samples using ISO 17025-accredited mass spectrometry techniques for the identification of proteins and biological toxins.
• Maintains accurate records of the processing and analysis in a computerized Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS).
• Assists in the compilation of data, data analysis, and preparation of analytical and discovery reports. Presents assay results in written and oral formats.
• Develops high quality draft protocols, task-specific procedures and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on new assignments, while supporting Principle Investigators with the writing of technical reports and manuscripts for publication in open source and classified literature.
• Possesses the ability to work on multiple science tasks simultaneously, while performing tasks outside the area of expertise.
• Receives little instruction on daily work, general instructions on newly introduced assignments, and has the ability to mentor personnel within the group while identifying and communicating promptly and with recommended solutions.
• May act as the Mass Spectrometry Laboratory Manager Designee in the absence of the Mass Spectrometry Laboratory Manager. Provides direction and support in the development, modification, verification, validation, performance, management, and evaluation of results and the significance of deviations of all NBFAC test methods in the field of Mass Spectrometry.
• May act as Laboratory Space Manager, ensuring laboratories meet regulatory requirements, are accessed only by qualified personnel, and that laboratory equipment in mass spectrometry laboratory spaces are maintained to support safe, accurate analyses and produce quality results.
• Performs analysis of results, issues statements of conformity, and provides interpretation, review, and reporting of results.
• Authorized to use equipment, perform methods, evaluate data, and release results for casework using all mass spectrometry methods and associated equipment.
• Consistently performs work on complex scientific projects requiring independent action and high degree of initiative, while developing scientific experimental plans to produce a consistent high quality science product.
• Determines methods and procedures on new assignments.
• May be an informal team leader who makes institutional-level contributions, anticipates issues and opportunities to improve, and builds group consensus approaches.
• Maintains a safe work environment by participating in specialized training and review of safety manuals and SOPs.
• Identifies departures from the Quality Management System (QMS) and initiates actions to investigate and prevent such occurrences.
• Directs, prioritizes, schedules, and provides technical expertise to staff to conduct work.
• With minimal supervision, operates, maintains, and characterizes the performance of the equipment ensuring the reagents and supplies are maintained and used properly.
• Develops techniques, prepares samples and performs tests according to appropriate SOPs.
• Serves as a member of a team in developing, validating, and maintaining methods for identifying and characterizing biological threat agents.
• Must be a team player, communicate clearly, be open to hearing ideas and suggestions from others, diffuse situations, and exercise empathy and patience with colleagues.
• Must have the ability to multi-task, maintain composure under pressure, and utilize effective time management skills to prioritize tasks.
• Must be a self-starter driven by an eagerness to succeed, maintain flexibility, adapt to change in a productive and positive manner, learn new concepts, and utilize critical thinking to resolve complex problems.
• Maintains appropriate records.
• Performs other assigned duties.

BNBI is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.

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