This Position Is No Longer Available
  1. Overview
  2. Duties
  3. Qualifications & Evaluations
  4. Benefits & Other Info
  5. How to Apply

Job Title:Biologist

Department:Department Of Agriculture

Agency:Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Job Announcement Number:6WS-2014-0040

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.


$62,228.00 to $80,896.00 / Per Year


Friday, May 23, 2014 to Thursday, May 29, 2014




Full Time - Term (NTE) - not to exceed 2 Years; maybe be extended up to 4 years.




1 vacancy - Fort Collins, CO View Map


This announcement is open to all United States citizens.


Public Trust - Background Investigation




About the Agency

The position is located at the National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) in Fort Collins, CO. The coordination of the employee’s activities will be the responsibility of the Project Leader for the Management of Ungulate Disease and Damage Project (MUDD).

This is an excepted service term appointment not to exceed 2 years. (Appointment may be extended up to 4 years without re-announcing.) For more details click: Term Appointments

APHIS is an emergency response agency. This means that all Agency employees may be asked or assigned to participate in rotating temporary duty assignments to support emergency programs at some time during their careers with APHIS. For details click: APHIS Emergency Response


  • Occasional Travel
  • Travel may be required.


  • No


  • You must be a US Citizen or US National.
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with the Selective Service.
  • Subject to satisfactory completion of one year trial period.
  • Valid state driver's license is required at the time of application.
  • Official transcripts required prior to entrance on duty.


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 The duties may include, but are not limited to:

  • The incumbent will have major involvement with animal studies designed to address: The capability of breath and fecal VOC analysis to allow discrimination between healthy, Mycobacterium bovis (bovine tuberculosis) infected, BCG vaccinated, and M. avium paratuberculosis (MAP) infected cattle; the potential for fecal VOC analysis to detect disease (bovine tuberculosis) in wildlife (white-tailed deer; WTD).
  • Responsibilities will include collaboration with Wildlife Services Operations, National Wildlife Research Center, USDA-APHIS-Animal Research Service, National Animal Disease Center, and university scientists and biologists designing and completing studies, collating and analyzing data sets, and preparing draft reports and manuscripts for presentation and publication
  • Responsibilities will include planning, coordinating, designing, and implementing animal and laboratory studies that address the research areas outlined above.
  • The incumbent will perform a variety of technical procedures on wildlife, including animal capture, restraint, marking, transport; collection of biological data and samples; and chemical immobilization; microbiological isolations and identifications
  • Incumbent will comply with Good Laboratory Practices, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, Animal Welfare Act, Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and applicable state and federal wildlife laws and regulations.
  • The incumbent will be expected to be proficient with a variety of laboratory procedures including basic laboratory safety, work with BSL-2 and BSL-3 pathogens, basic laboratory equipment, ELISAs, PCR, light microscopy, and sample preparation/handling for gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS).
  • Develop and implement animal studies designed to collect data on biological endpoints, including but not restricted to: handling of domestic and wild animals, breath and fecal samples, GCMS analysis, gavage, swab sample collection, blood collection, immobilization, euthanasia, tissue collection and appropriate preservation, and necropsy.
  • Perform a variety of technical laboratory procedures on biological specimens, including but not restricted to: isolation and identification of viral and bacterial pathogens, polymerase chain reactions (PCR), reverse transcriptase-PCR (RT-PCR), Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), pulse field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), cell culture methods, other serological methods.
  • Operate, and maintain basic and advanced laboratory equipment: e.g., pH meters, balances, centrifuges, ELISA plate washers and readers, RNA/DNA tissue processors, spectrophotometers, incubators, CO2 incubators, thermocyclers, real time PCR systems, robotic nucleic acid extraction systems, PFGE systems, light and fluorescent microscopes, GCMS systems.
  • Perform other related duties as assigned.


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To qualify, you MUST meet all qualification requirements by the closing date of the announcement.


  1. Degree: biological sciences, agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry, or related disciplines appropriate to the position OR
  2. Combination of education and experience: Courses equivalent to a major, as shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.
  • FOR THE GS-11 LEVEL (BIOLOGIST): Applicants must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-09 level) that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates: Must be knowledgeable and experienced in public health epidemiology and pathobiology associated with zoonotic and wildlife diseases of agricultural importance. Must be knowledgeable and experienced in handling, restraint, and processing  of a variety of domestic  livestock, and wildlife species, and able to perform procedures such as physical examination and disease diagnosis; drug dosage calculation and administration; chemical restraint and anesthesia; sample collection (blood, tissues, breath, etc…); euthanasia and necropsy; collecting, preserving; and labeling biological and environmental materials. Must have experience in collection of breath samples for GCMS analysis and interpretation of volatile organic compound profiles including: development of breath sampling strategies; familiarity of GCMS analysis; preparation and analysis of data, metabolomics database searches, resulting in quality analytical data, research findings, and reports. Must be knowledgeable regarding the disease epidemiology of bovine tuberculosis in wildlife reservoirs  and domestic  or feral livestock populations within the United States; specifically disease exposure, pathobiology, transmission and prevention strategies; methods of surveillance currently used and under development,  including volatile organic compound analysis of breath, biofluids, and tissues and other novel surveillance or diagnostic strategies. Must be able to interpret laboratory results associated veterinary hematology, clinical pathology, serology, and histopathology relative to diseases of domestic and feral livestock and wildlife; OR Successful completion of three years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. degree or Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree in Biology, Wildlife, Ecology. Equivalent combinations of education and experience are qualifying for this grade level.

    are required for the basic requirement; please submit either unofficial or official transcripts. This education must have been successfully completed and obtained from an accredited school, college, or university. For more information on submitting transcripts, click: Transcripts

    COMBINATION OF EDUCATION & EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-11 GRADE LEVEL: Applicants may have combinations of successfully completed education and specialized experience to meet total qualification requirements. The total percentages must equal at least 100 percent to qualify for that grade level. To learn more about combining education and experience for this series, click the following: Combining Education and Experience for Professional and Scientific Positions

Special Conditions:

  • Satisfactory completion and favorable adjudication of a background investigation and/or fingerprint check.
  • This position is designated a public trust position and is subject to satisfactory completion and favorable adjudication of initial background investigation and reinvestigation as a condition of employment.
  • Conduct of animal and laboratory studies will require standing or sitting for long periods of time and may involve lifting, and or moving of heavy laboratory equipment.
  • Animal handling may require a degree of physical agility and dexterity as well as applied restraint.
  • The incumbent must have the ability to work safely and competently in the laboratory, animal pen, and office environments.
  • The skilled operation of government owned or leased vehicles is essential.
  • At times the incumbent may work for extended periods of time without direct supervision.
  • Strict adherence to safety procedures is mandatory.
  • The incumbent must have the ability to work safely and competently in field, pen laboratory, shop, and office environments.
  • The incumbent will provide a record of a protective antibody titer against rabies virus, annual respiratory fit testing, annual tuberculin skin test results, and is recommended to have a small pox vaccination if working with the vaccinia virus associated with RABORAL V-RG vaccine.


Applications will be evaluated in accordance with Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Delegated Examining Procedures using category rating. Applicants who meet basic minimum qualifications will be placed in one of three categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, or Qualified. Within these categories, applicants eligible for veteran's preference will receive selection priority over non-veterans. Category placement will be determined based on applicants’ quality of experience and the extent they possess the following knowledge, skills, and abilities (or competencies):

  • Knowledge of principles and techniques of animal biology and ecology, research principles and procedures, wildlife disease ecology, choice or field trials assessing behavior, and management of wildlife species
  • Skill in capturing, handling, marking, and processing a variety of animal species, conducting various veterinary procedures such as chemical immobilization, blood tissue collection, euthanasia, and necropsy; collecting, preserving, and labeling biological and environmental materials.
  • Ability to oversee an animal research facility's operation and maintenance (e.g., buildings, fences, animal enclosures, etc.); ability to construct test apparatus (e.g., mazes, choice-apparatus, observational chambers); proper use and maintenance of vehicles and equipment (e.g., telemetry equipment, chain saws) and machinery (e.g., bobcat, tractor).
  • Ability to work safely in laboratory and field situations.
The questionnaire will assess your qualifications for the job, and will be used to identify the best qualified applicants to be referred to the hiring manager for further consideration and possible interviews. Your ratings in this Assessment Questionnaire are subject to evaluation and verification based on the documents and references you submit.

Later steps in the selection process are specifically designed to verify your ratings. Attempts to falsify information; inflate your qualifications or providing inaccurate information on federal documents may be grounds to adjust your rating or to not select you. Errors, omissions or providing inaccurate information on federal documents may affect your eligibility. If selected providing inaccurate information on federal documents could also be grounds for dismissing you from the position/agency. Please follow all instructions carefully.

To preview questions please click here.


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  • Career Transition Assistance Plan(CTAP) or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): If you are claiming CTAP/ICTAP eligibility, provide proof of eligibility to include your most recent performance appraisal, SF-50 showing the full performance level or career ladder of your current or previous position, and proof of eligibility such as a RIF separation notice or letter from OPM/your agency. CTAP/ICTAP eligibles will be considered well-qualified if achieving a rating of 85 or above. Information about CTAP/ICTAP eligibility is at: OPM's Career Transition Resources website.
  • More than one selection may be made if another vacancy occurs within 90 days of the issuance of the certification of eligibles.
  • Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc) should contact: USDA's TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).
  • Direct Deposit – Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to a financial institution of your choosing.
  • E-Verify: Federal law requires agencies to use the E-Verify system to confirm the employment eligibility of all new hires. If you are selected as a newly hired employee, the documentation you present for purposes of completing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Form 1-9 on your entry-on-duty date will be verified through the DHS 'E-VERIFY' system. Under the system, the new hire is required to resolve any identified discrepancies as a condition of continued employment.


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Please read the entire announcement and all the instructions before you begin. The following instructions outline our application process.
  • You must complete this application process and submit all required documents electronically by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the closing date of this announcement.
  • We are available to assist you during business hours (normally 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday - Friday). Applying online is highly encouraged. If applying online poses a hardship, please contact our office during business hours well before the closing date for an alternate method. All hardship application packages with supporting documents must be submitted no later than noon on the closing date of the announcement in order to be entered into the system prior to its closing.
  • This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us if you require this for any part of the application and hiring process.
Step 1: Create a USAJOBS account (if you do not already have one) at It is recommended that as part of your profile you set up automatic email notification to be informed when the status of your application changes. If you choose not to set up this automatic notification, then you will have to log into your USAJOBS account to check on the status of your application.
Step 2: Create a Resume with USAJOBS or upload a Resume into your USAJOBS account. You may want to customize your resume to ensure it documents duties and accomplishments you have gained that are directly related to this position in order to verify that qualifications are met. In addition, your resume must support your responses to the online questionnaire (you may preview the online questionnaire by clicking on the link at the end of the How You Will Be Evaluated section of the job announcement).
Step 3: Click "Apply Online" and follow the prompts to complete the Occupational Questionnaire and attach any additional documents that may be required. You can update your application or documents anytime while the announcement is open. Simply log into your USAJOBS account and click on "Application Status." Click on the position title, and then select "Update Application” to continue.


You must submit a complete Application Package, prior to 11:59, ET, on the closing date of this announcement. The following documents must be submitted for your application package to be considered complete. It is your responsibility to ensure all required documents are received within the required timeframes. Our office cannot be responsible for incompatible software, illegible fax transmissions, delays in the mail service, system failure or downtime, etc. Failure to submit required, legible documents may result in loss of consideration.
  • Resume that includes the following information: 1) job information for which you are applying; 2) personal information; 3) education; 4) work experience including the work schedule and hours worked per week as well as dates of employment; and title, series and grade if applicable; 5) supervisors phone number and e-mail address for each work period listed and whether or not we may contact them for reference checks; and, 6) other qualifications.
  • College Transcripts if education is required for meeting basic qualifications and/or used as a substitute for specialized experience. An unofficial copy is sufficient with the application; however, if selected, an official college transcript will be required prior to entering on duty. All education must have been successfully completed and obtained from an accredited school, college, or university. Foreign education must be evaluated by an approved organization. For additional information, refer to the U.S. Department of Education web site at All transcripts must be in English or include an English translation.
  • DD-214 (Member 4 Copy) if claiming Veterans’ Preference. Veterans claiming 10 point preference must also submit a VA Letter and an SF-15 Application for 10-point Veteran Preference. Current active duty members must submit a certification that they are expected to be discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date the certification is submitted.
  • Other required documents may include:
    • CTAP/ICTAP: Certification of Expected Separation, Reduction-In-Force Separation Notice, Notice of Proposed Removal, or appropriate OPM/Agency certification; AND most recent performance evaluation; AND SF-50 demonstrating your separation or the position from which you will be separated.


Phone: 612-336-3410
Fax: 612-336-3560
Agency Information:
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
100 N 6th Street, Butler Sq Bldg, 510C
Minneapolis, MN
Fax: 612-336-3560


If you set up your USAJOBS account to send automatic email notifications, you will receive an email acknowledging: 1) the submission of your online Occupational Questionnaire and resume was successful, 2) if you were referred to the selecting official for consideration, and 3) if you were selected or not selected. If you choose not to set up automatic email notifications, you must check your USAJOBS account for the latest status of your application. Your application may be reviewed to verify that you meet the qualifications and eligibility requirements for the position prior to issuing lists to a selecting official. If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted. We expect to make a final job offer within 40 days after the closing date of the announcement.

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