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Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration Research Health Science Specialist in Salem, Virginia


This position is located in the Research & Development Service at the VA Medical Center in Salem, VA. The Research Health Science Specialist exists as a member of the research enterprise. The primary purpose of the position is to serve as a postdoctoral research scientist and study coordinator and is responsible for carrying out the experiments supporting an investigation in the pathobiology of kidney injury as well as the administrative needs necessary to run the study.


Overseeing the management and quality of study operations, including subject recruitment, screening, enrollment, follow-up, and communications; Working under the direction of the Principle Investigator (PI) to coordinate treatment interventions and follow-up procedures while ensuring compliance with study protocol and Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) rules, policies and procedures; Ensuring that all studies are conducted in accordance with rules, policies, and regulations applicable to study oversight; Carrying out experiments using rat models of immune-mediated kidney injury; Performing in vivo and ex vivo experiments designed to assess changes in whole kidney structure/function and in specific cultured kidney cell structure/function; Experimenting using immunohistochemistry and related techniques to characterize the extent of kidney injury and cell types involved, flow cytometric analysis of dispersed kidney cells, extraction of RNA and protein with RNA and protein analysis techniques to assess outcomes of strategies manipulating activity of specific enzymes in kidney tissue/ cultured kidney cells, and complete and maintain protocols in line with VA regulations; Recording all experiments in study notebook to include protocols, measurements, observations, and comments; Keeping a METHODS notebook and a personal literature file, along with computer backup files of protocols on the Service's public drive; Retrieving and interpreting data from notebooks when requested by the PI; Providing administrative support consisting of monitoring how research resources are acquired and expended, facilitating the requisition of equipment and services as needed by the PI in order to carry out the VA-funded research and ensuring proper utilization of those resources, conducting literature reviews on research that results from the current studies, preparing manuscripts for publication based on findings in the laboratory, and preparing submissions for current and new grant proposals; Serving as a research mentor for all research assistants on the assigned study; Establishing and implementing best practices for managing data in accordance to any required policies and procedures within the local study site; Assisting the PI in writing new proposals and publications; Performing related duties as required. Work Schedule: Monday through Friday, 7:45am - 4:30pm. NOTE: This is a TERM appointment (not-to-exceed 1 year and 1 day). Term appointments are non-status, nonpermanent appointments of limited duration (more than 1 year but not more than 4). Term employees are eligible to earn leave and generally have the same benefits as permanent employees including health and life insurance, within-grade increases and Federal Employees Retirement System and Thrift Savings Plan coverage. Term appointments may be extended without further competition (up to the 4 year maximum). The appointment to a Term position does not confer eligibility for promotion or reassignment to other positions or the ability to be non-competitively converted to permanent employment. Recruitment & Relocation Incentives: Not authorized.

Financial Disclosure Report: Not required.


Conditions of Employment


In accordance with 38 U.S.C. 7402(d), No person shall serve in direct patient care positions unless they are proficient in basic written and spoken English. You must be proficient in basic written and spoken English in order to meet the requirements of this position. A Quality Ranking Factor* has been requested by the facility to help determine which of the basically qualified applicants are likely to be better qualified for a position. The quality ranking factor for this position is: "Do you possess a PhD?" *Quality Ranking Factors are skills, knowledge, abilities, or other worker characteristics which could be expected to result in superior performance on the job. Quality ranking factors will not be used for screening, but may be used as ranking criteria. Applicants with higher proficiency levels may rank above those with lower proficiency levels on a quality ranking factor. BASIC EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENT: A bachelor's or higher-level degree from an accredited institution with a major study in an academic field related to the medical field, health sciences or allied sciences that is appropriate to the work of this position. Transcripts required. AND MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: One year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-09 grade level in Federal service that has equipped you with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of this position. Specialized experience is research experience in medical/health care research facility; performing experiments on animals (rodents) maintained for medical research; recruiting, screening, and enrolling study participants; and managing study operations, reports, files, and communications. This experience must be detailed in your resume to receive credit. - OR - You may substitute education for experience if you master's or equivalent graduate degree that provided the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work of this position. One year of full-time graduate education is considered to be the number of credit hours that the school attended has determined to represent 1 year of full-time study. If that number cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours should be considered an academic year of graduate study. Part-time graduate education is creditable in accordance with its relationship to a year of full-time study at the school attended. Transcripts required. - OR - A combination of specialized experience and graduate education as described above that demonstrates your ability to perform the duties of this position may also be qualifying. Transcripts required, and experience must be detailed in your resume to receive credit. You will be rated on the following Competencies as part of the assessment questionnaire for this position:

Analytical ReasoningComplianceCustomer ServicePlanning and EvaluatingQuality Ranking FactorResearch IMPORTANT: A full year of work is considered to be 35-40 hours of work per week. All experience listed on your resume must include the month and year start/end dates. Part-time experience will be credited on the basis of time actually spent in appropriate activities. Applicants wishing to receive credit for such experience must indicate clearly the nature of their duties and responsibilities in each position and the number of hours a week spent in such employment. Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community; student; social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience. For more information on these qualification standards, please visit the United States Office of Personnel Management's website at


IMPORTANT: A transcript must be submitted with your application if you are basing all or part of your qualifications on education. NOTE: Only education or degrees recognized by the U.S. Department of Education from accredited colleges, universities, schools, or institutions may be used to qualify for Federal employment. You can verify your education here: If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education. For further information, visit:

Additional Information

Physical Requirements: The work is primarily sedentary. The person in this position uses a computer, lab and office equipment to complete tasks. Physical activity involves standing, walking, bending or stooping, and carrying, carrying supplies. Receiving Service Credit for Earning Annual (Vacation) Leave: Federal Employees earn annual leave at a rate (4, 6 or 8 hours per pay period) which is based on the number of years they have served as a Federal employee. VA may offer newly-appointed Federal employee's credit for their job-related non-federal experience or active duty uniformed military service. This credited service can be used in determining the rate at which they earn annual leave. Such credit must be requested and approved prior to the appointment date and is not guaranteed. Special Employment Consideration: VA encourages persons with disabilities to apply, including those eligible for hiring under 5 CFR 213.3102(u), Schedule A, Appointment of persons with disabilities (i.e., intellectual disabilities, severe physical disabilities, or psychiatric disabilities), and/or disabled veterans with a compensable service-connected disability of 30% or more. For more information on how to apply using this appointment authority via the Selective Placement Coordinator within the office, contact the facility Human Resources Department at (540) 982-2463. It is the policy of the VA to not deny employment to those that have faced financial hardships or periods of unemployment. Veterans and Transitioning Service Members: Please visit the VA for Vets site for career-search tools for Veterans seeking employment at VA, career development services for our existing Veterans, and coaching and reintegration support for military service members. The Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) and Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) provide eligible displaced Federal competitive service employees with selection priority over other candidates for competitive service vacancies. To be qualified you must submit appropriate documentation and be found well-qualified (have a final rating of 85 or more before any Veterans preference points) for this vacancy. Information about ICTAP and CTAP eligibility is on OPM's Career Transition Resources website at This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies. If you are unable to apply online view the following link for information regarding an Alternate Application.