Job Overview


Find Solutions to Agricultural Problems that Affect Americans Every Day, From Field to Table.

This position is located in the Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit in Fort Detrick, Maryland which is a Biocontainment Facility and the incumbent will work with high consequence pathogens. The mission of the foreign disease program is to develop techniques for the rapid detection and identification of new and exotic plant pathogens and to provide fundamental information on emerging pathogens.  The mission of the biological control program is to collect pathogens from weeds in their native habitat, and to evaluate, characterize and release the pathogens in the U.S. for biological control of weeds, leading to improved, sustainable weed control practices in agricultural systems with reduced dependence of chemical herbicides.
This position requires the selectee to undergo a pre-employment check and a full background investigation. Any offer made is considered a tentative job offer pending the outcome of the pre-employment check. Retention in the position is based upon a favorable adjudication of the background investigation. The incumbent will be subject to periodic reinvestigations.

Vacant research positions may be filled at one of several grade levels depending upon the scientific impact of the person selected. For this reason, you are encouraged to apply at all grade levels. A peer review will be required for selections made at grades GS-13 and above and the selectee will be required to submit supplemental materials.

Research scientists have open-ended promotion potential. Research accomplishments and their impact on the duties and responsibilities of positions are evaluated periodically. The grade level is limited only by the individual's demonstrated ability to perform research of recognized importance to science and technology. *Final grade level may be determined by a peer review panel.



Major Duties:

The primary responsibility of the incumbent is the discovery and acquisition of plant pathogens for weed management, evaluation of candidate pathogen agents, and developing new methods for effective microbially-based weed control strategies. Research goals are to: identify pathogens, characterize the nature and extent of disease in target and non-target plants, and identify the molecular/physiological nature of susceptibility and resistance responses in the tested species. The incumbent will determine pathogen host range using statistically sound experimental analyses that combine knowledge in phylogenetic relatedness, plant physiology, and phenotypic disease response data. Crop plants and native plant species (particularly those that are related to the target weed and/or are rare, endangered, or threatened) are identified and acquired from collecting trips and through cooperators for risk assessment.

Travel Required

  • Occasional Travel
  • For meetings and conferences.

Relocation Authorized

  • Yes
  • May be authorized by management.