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Research Associate NAC Lab

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Job Title: Research Associate NAC Lab
Location: Johnston, IA, Mid-West United States, USA
Company: Corteva
Industry Sector: Agribusiness
Industry Type: Plant & Soil Sciences, Seed and Biotechnology
Career Type: Researcher/Research & Development
Job Type: Full Time
Minimum Years Experience Required: N/A
Salary: 0
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Corteva Agrisciences, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, is the world's leading developer and supplier of advanced plant genetics, agronomic support, and services to farmers in more than 90 countries. Innovative and customer-focused, Corteva seeks to increase farmer productivity and profitability, and to develop sustainable agricultural systems for people everywhere. Increasing populations, changing economies, and limited cultivatable land are significant factors driving Corteva to use the broad application of plant science to improve the value generated from each field.


The NAC laboratory is a centralized analytical laboratory providing qualitative and quantitative PCR analysis to support Corteva scientists as they seek to improve various crops through conventional breeding and genetic engineering.  We are world-class experts in DNA/RNA detection and quantitation.  We provide data in a rapid, cost effective and efficient manner.  We partner with our colleagues to provide agile and flexible analytical solutions to answer their experimental questions.  We produce high quality data that unequivocally fulfills the experimental design and answers the questions being asked.


The focus of this position is the initial design, performance evaluation and optimization of nucleic acid analytical assays so that they perform according to laboratory standards.  This person will coordinate with the various sampling teams to receive the correct sample types in a timely manner and be responsible for timely assay development processes needed to have the assay ready for production evaluation. Primary responsibilities will be to perform experiments to improve laboratory processes to solve data quality issues, to ensure assay performance standards are met and to evaluate new analytical technologies. Another critical responsibility will be to perform experiments to evaluate new detection technologies and equipment that is being considered.  In addition, this person will be involved in validating the performance of newly developed assays such that only robust assays are transferred into production.  Finally, this person may be called upon to assist in specific areas of the production pipeline when laboratory workloads necessitate extra resource deployments.





  • Manage all aspects of the pipeline as it pertains to the NAC Lab and its processes. Organize and coordinate new assay designs across the various AST groups. Process new assay requests and some client communications.
  • Design and validate all new real-time assays coming from clients, trouble-shoot assay performance issues for validated assays. Have working knowledge of BLAST and Phylogenator applications to make sure new assays will be able to detect the target element.
  • Conduct experiments to evaluate new detection strategies that may be needed to solve assay issues.  Evaluate and recommend actions to be taken, based on the experimental data.
  • Evaluate new technologies for potential applications and process improvement within laboratory. Have the ability and working knowledge of Digital Droplet PCR (ddPCR) to assist in assay trouble-shooting. Summarize results to laboratory management.
  • Conducts experiments to monitor and evaluate performance of real-time assays within the laboratorys various high-throughput processes.  Understand the validation procedures so that a new assay meets performance specifications. Move new assays to the larger production environment, with consideration that assay results become available within a larger LIMS process with all timelines being strictly adhered to for all teams involved.
  • Assist in routine laboratory operations when temporary resourcing issues develop.




  • Bachelors Degree in Molecular Biology, Biotechnology, Plant Genetics or related discipline with at least 3 years of industry related experience using real-time PCR is required.
  • Demonstrated critical thinking and problem-solving skills are essential.
  • Strong interpersonal and written communication skills are imperative.
  • Ability to work effectively in a team environment is required.
  • Computer skills and familiarity with statistical methods will be advantageous, complete understanding of BLAST analysis, Vector NTI tools and Primer Express.
  • Demonstrated ability to meet established timelines is required.


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Job Post Date: 04/13/19
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