DNA Analyst

Montana Department of Justice, Missoula , MT, US

Responsibilities

The Forensic Science Division Laboratory is a multi-disciplined service facility that supports the Department of Justice’s mission to pursue activities and programs that seek to ensure and promote the public interest, safety, and well-being. 

As a DNA Analyst, the incumbent will be working in the Biology section of the laboratory which receives items of evidence collected at the scene of crimes such as homicides, rapes, suicides, assaults and burglaries. 

These items typically have suspected biological fluid staining. The Forensic Biologist uses state of the art methods to identify biological staining, develop DNA profiles from evidentiary samples, interpret data, and publish reports on the results of the analyses performed. 

Successful applicants will be tasked with duties that pair with their respective knowledge, skills, and abilities. 

*Pay is based upon placement within the FSD Career Ladder. 
Salary: $ 28.55 - 38.93 Hourly 
Not Telework Eligible (Onsite in Missoula, MT.) 

Physical and Environmental Demands: 

  • Must be able to lift at least 25 lbs. in short intervals. 
  • Must be willing to work with materials considered to be biological hazards. Create and maintain a safe/secure working environment by adhering to DOJ safety, security, and health requirements. 

Knowledge: 

  • Extensive knowledge of theory, practice and use of analytical equipment; biochemical, physical, chemical, and analytical methodologies used in forensic biology; laboratory safety practices including the handling and disposal of hazardous chemicals and potentially infectious biological samples. 
  • Extensive knowledge of policies, procedures, rules, guidelines and regulations governing an accredited forensic biology laboratory. 
  • Extensive knowledge of computer hardware and software used in a forensic biology laboratory. 
  • Knowledge of laboratory quality assurance guidelines and protocols as they pertain to the forensic biology. 
  • Thorough knowledge of evidence handling and the chain of custody procedures of biological and physical evidence; systematic approaches to the analysis of evidence; case law relating to forensic biology. 
  • Knowledge of criminal law and courtroom procedure; human anatomy, physiology; techniques of courtroom presentation; current trends in forensic science research in general. 
  • Knowledge of criminal investigation techniques. 

Skills: 

  • Skill in using stereoscopic and bright field compound microscopes, digital imaging/photographic equipment, forensic alternative light source, micro-pipettors, microbalance, robotic instrumentation and personal computers. 
  • Skill in the methodologies used for preparation of reagents and their respective quality control measures within a forensic laboratory. 

Abilities: 

  • to manage time effectively and be self-motivating; 
  • to establish and maintain effective working relationships with employees, other agencies and the public;
  • to follow written and oral instructions; 
  • to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing; 
  • to write clear, concise, accurate and thorough reports, to organize case workload on a daily basis; 
  • to coordinate responsibilities with colleagues and co-workers; to organize the work place and analytical approach, both for safety, efficiency and maximum use of available sample; to maintain electronic equipment; 
  • to adapt to changing time schedules and working conditions and deal with the associated stress of heavy workloads and varying priorities.

Qualifications

Minimum Qualifications (Education and Experience): The above knowledge, skills and abilities are typically acquired by a Bachelor of Science degree or its equivalent degree in a biological, chemical, or natural science and job-related laboratory experience. Coursework (graduate or undergraduate level) will have been successfully completed covering the subject areas of biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology (molecular genetics, recombinant DNA technology) as well as course work in statistics and/or population genetics as required by FBI Quality Assurance Standards. The required subject areas must consist of nine or more cumulative semester or equivalent hours. 

Preferred Qualifications: At least 2 years of experience working within an accredited forensic laboratory with at least 1 year experience performing DNA casework analysis, Y-STR analytical experience, and use of STRmix probabilistic genotyping software. Additionally, experience with the use Laboratory Information Management software; specifically, Justice Trax LIMS plus. 

Special Instructions: Please include the following REQUIRED documents to be considered for this position: 

  1. Resume
  2. Cover Letter - please include your forensic laboratory experience in your cover letter. 
  3. Academic Transcripts
  4. Questionnaire - complete and attach as additional document (see below). 

Successful applicant(s) will be subject to: 

  • Criminal History Fingerprint Check Driving History Drug Testing

Compensation

Salary: $28.55 - $38.93 per hour 

Benefits: 

  • Dental insurance 
  • Employee assistance program 
  • Employee discount 
  • Flexible spending account 
  • Health insurance 
  • Health savings account 
  • Life insurance 
  • Paid time off 
  • Retirement plan 
  • Vision insurance
  • Sick leave
  • Holidays

How to apply

HOW TO APPLY: To be considered for this position, you must attach a résumé, cover letter, academic transcripts, and questionnaire at the time of application. Tip: When attaching your resume, you must mark the attachment as a “Relevant File”. 

RESUME: Please include all work experience as well as job duties that demonstrate your qualifications for this position. Include dates of employment (month & year- start & end) and the reason you left each job. 

RESUME: Please include your forensic laboratory experience. 

Questionnaire (answer and attach this questionnaire to your document submission) 

  1. Do you have a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited college or university with coursework in biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, statistics and population genetics, or other subjects that provide an advanced knowledge of forensic DNA analysis? 
    ☐ Yes ☐ No 
  2. Do you have three or more years of full-time professional experience in a laboratory performing STR forensic DNA testing for the identification and evaluation of biological evidence in criminal matters? 
    ☐ Yes ☐ No 
  3. Does your experience include successful analysis of a range of samples typically encountered in forensic casework? 
    ☐ Yes ☐ No 
  4. Do you have a graduate degree in related field? 
    ☐ Yes ☐ No 
  5. Do you have knowledge of necessary DNA discipline specific requirements for ISO/IEC 17025:2017 and NDIS participation requirements? 
    ☐ Yes ☐ No 
  6. Do you have experience validating serological testing methods, DNA instrumentation, software, extraction protocols, CODIS software, STRMix, or other ProbGen software? 
    ☐ Yes ☐ No 
  7. Do you have experience with probabilistic genotyping software? 
    ☐ Yes ☐ No 
  8. Have you been trained in RMP and CPI/CPE statistical calculations? 
    ☐ Yes ☐ No 
  9. Have you been trained in likelihood ratios? 
    ☐ Yes ☐ No 
  10. Do you have experience using JusticeTrax LIMS during casework? 
    ☐ Yes ☐ No 
  11. Do you have experience with Short Tandem Repeats (STRs)? 
    ☐ Yes ☐ No 
  12. Do you have experience with YSTRs? 
    ☐ Yes ☐ No 
  13. By answering yes to this question, I acknowledge and understand that the Montana Forensic Science Division has a zero-tolerance drug policy and performs random drug testing of its employees. 
    ☐ Yes ☐ No 

Apply