Molecular Biologist III in Texas Health and Human Services Austin, TX

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Job Description

Under limited supervision of the Bacteriology Branch Manager and Molecular Biology Team Lead, following standard or developmental protocols, performing highly complex and advanced molecular testing and typing using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Performs DNA/RNA extractions for Whole Genome Sequencing. Assists with antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Assists with the development and implementation of additional molecular and epidemiological techniques. Ensures standard protocols and proper quality controls are followed for all the tests performed in the lab. Assists in evaluating the quality of reagents and in managing material resources. Consults with medical personnel regarding test application and interpretation. Trains individuals on molecular techniques. Serves as senior Molecular Biologist within the laboratory; assumes additional duties as assigned. Duties are performed with considerable latitude to interpret standard protocol, with significant use of scientific knowledge and judgment.

Safe operation of either a state owned vehicle or personal vehicle is required to conduct state business and an acceptable driving record must be maintained in accordance with DSHS Policy OS-3901, Fleet Operations and Management & Procedures and standards developed by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Essential Job Functions

Attends work on a regular and predictable schedule in accordance with agency leave policy and performs other duties as assigned.

EJF 1. Under the technical guidance of the Branch Supervisor/ Team Lead, develops and performs highly complex (senior-level) molecular biology work. Performs DNA/RNA extractions for Whole Genome Sequencing. Helps Team Lead with coordinating laboratory workflow within the team and with other teams/groups. (20%)

EJF 2. Plans and conducts analysis of specimens using advanced molecular techniques such as Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) for detection of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and/or genetic characteristics in clinical samples, foods and food products, and environmental samples by processing specimens in accordance with current protocols and regulations. (25%)

EJF 3. Assists with antimicrobial susceptibility test and bacterial culture and identification procedures. (20%)

EJF 4. Investigates quality assurance/quality control problems, recommends and implements approved corrective actions. Initiates troubleshooting of diagnostic tests and instruments and completes routine adjustments as directed by Team Lead/Branch Manager. Proposes solutions to problems, implements approved changes according to direction from Team Lead/Branch Manager. Evaluates daily quality control records, performs preventive maintenance on laboratory equipment, and ensures all records are updated daily. Prepares solutions, reagents, gels, and other components as needed/assigned. Ensures an accurate and updated inventory of team’s unique supplies and reagents is available. (15%)

EJF 5. Analyzes specimen and test data to identify unusual patterns of either specimen submission or test results. Evaluates test results, reviews and releases outgoing reports. Assesses atypical test results, consults with Team Lead/Manager and orders re-test as directed. Assists Team Lead/Manager with the determination of circumstances surrounding an incorrect report and with the initiation of a corrective action to ensure accurate and consistent results are reported to customers. (10%)

EJF 6. Researches current scientific literature, selects, interprets, and shares information for adaptation in the lab. Performs evaluation/validation studies and presents data to Team Lead/Manager. Assists in providing consultation and services to internal and external customers regarding specimen requirements, test results, and interpretation. Answers questions regarding laboratory testing methods. Serves as one of the primary liaisons between the State Public health Laboratory and the partnering network laboratories. Assists Team Lead/Manager in drafting and reviewing standard operating procedures (SOPs). Updates computer data files, software programs, and SOPs as directed by Team Lead/Manager. Participates in a cross-training program as both a student and an instructor by teaching and/or demonstrating molecular techniques to other laboratory personnel, volunteers or students and documenting training for staff. (5%)

EJF7. Performs other duties as assigned by the Team Leader/Manager. Other duties as assigned include but are not limited to actively participating and/or serving in a supporting role to meet the agency’s obligations for disaster response and/or recovery or continuity of operations (COOP) activation. Such participation may require an alternate shift pattern assignment and/or location. Based on your work area, consistently comply with DSHS Laboratory, local, state and federal guidelines to ensure a safe functioning laboratory. (5%)

Knowledge Skills Abilities

Strong background and working knowledge of molecular biology principles and techniques.

Skill in the operation of molecular as well as general laboratory equipment and in the use of a computer and applicable software.

Ability to interpret written protocols and to follow procedures

Ability to conduct advanced molecular analyses and tests, to interpret molecular biology test results, and to prepare reports.

Ability to plan and prioritize assignments

Ability to detect malfunctions in test protocols and errors in transcribed results; make recommendations /implementations for corrective action

Knowledge of quality assurance and quality control functions and CLIA/CAP regulations. Knowledge of validation process as required by CLIA/CAP.

Knowledge of unidirectional workflow and aseptic techniques to reduce the potential for contamination

Ability to teach molecular biology concepts and procedures.

Ability to perform and teach antimicrobial susceptibility test concept and procedure

Ability to communicate technical instructions and interact effectively with staff.

Ability to maintain positive customer relations.

Ability to work independently and make technical decisions based on professional knowledge and experience.

Registration Or Licensure Requirements

Initial Selection Criteria:

Have an earned bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in a chemical, physical, biological or clinical laboratory science or medical technology from an accredited institution.

Comprehensive knowledge of molecular biology and microbiology principles and techniques, is preferred but not required.

Knowledge of quality assurance, quality control, and CLIA/CAP regulations in a laboratory and experience in evaluating data, interpreting test results is preferred but not required.

Ability to use various items of laboratory equipment, including use of a computer for word processing, spreadsheet and database analysis and results reporting, is preferred but not required.

Additional Information

Must be legally authorized to work in the U.S. without sponsorship. HHS agencies use E-Verify.

Applicants selected for an interview may be required to complete an in-basket exercise. Full salary range may not be offered due to budget limitation.

Work hours and laboratory assignments may vary. Must be able to work on weekends and holidays when needed.

Compliance with DSHS Laboratory Exposure Control Plan required: vaccine requirements are consistent with current Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations and other national guidelines for employee groups based upon job duties and tasks.

Education and degree must be from a U.S. accredited college or university or from a foreign degree determined to be equivalent by an acceptable education evaluator. A list of foreign credential evaluators can be found here: or

Note: Military occupation(s) that relate to the initial selection criteria and registration or licensure requirements for this position may include, but not limited to: 67B, 71A, 230X, 43TX. All active duty military, reservists, guardsmen, and veterans are encouraged to apply if qualified to fill this position. For more information see the Texas State Auditor’s Military Crosswalk at

MOS Code

71A, 230X, MED10, 43TX

Top 10 Tips for Success when Applying to Jobs at HHSC and DSHS

HHS agencies use E-Verify. You must bring your I-9 documentation with you on your first day of work.

I-9 Form – Click here to download the I-9 form.

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), HHS agencies will provide reasonable accommodation during the hiring and selection process for qualified individuals with a disability. If you need assistance completing the on-line application, contact the HHS Employee Service Center at 1-888-894-4747. If you are contacted for an interview and need accommodation to participate in the interview process, please notify the person scheduling the interview.

Vacancy Type: 
Full Time 
Job Location:
Austin, TX
Application Deadline:

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