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Post Doctoral Scholar - Penn State

The Pennsylvania State University
Job Field:
Job Type:
Experienced Professional
Location Detail:
University Park or Remote
Job Description:

We seek a postdoctoral researcher to assist in establishing a national CWD tissue and reagents repository. The significance of this program is multifold. First, a repository of CWD field isolates from a wide-ranging geographic location in North America will allow, for the first time, the means to begin to assess the distribution and frequency of CWD strains in North America. Since prion strains can differ in pathogenicity and host range, this is essential data for the determination for risk of interspecies prion transmission to humans and to domestic livestock and wildlife. Second, this repository can provide uniform standardized CWD-infected and uninfected sources of tissue for diagnostic development, mitigation testing and for basic research purposes. Finally, the implementation of the repository will facilitate cooperation between the various state agencies that could lead to new collaborative efforts.

The Post Doctoral Scholar will be responsible for three specific objectives:

  1. Summarize current state of knowledge of known strain types in various cervid species throughout the world for submission to a peer reviewed journal,
  2. Assist in creating online infrastructure for a virtual tissue and reagents repository for chronic wasting disease along with researchers at the Department of Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and
  3. Assisting ORNL with linking metadata for tissues and reagents to the repository by working with state agencies interested in contributing samples to the online repository.

This project aligns with FY21 EMA annual guidance, and was funded by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) RFP priority: Chronic Wasting Disease. This is also part of a larger collaborative effort with the USDA-APHIS-WS, National Wildlife Research Center and USGS.


Competitive candidates should be highly motivated and possess a PhD in prion biology or disease epidemiology or a related discipline. Specific experience with prion biology is preferred. The ability to work both independently and collaboratively in a team environment is essential. Submission to or publishing in peer-reviewed journals is required and mandatory prior to any potential renewal beyond the one-year appointment.


The successful candidate will be part of an interdisciplinary group that includes ecologists, geneticists, veterinarians, and state agency researchers. This full-time position is located at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania or remotely depending on the candidate’s preference. The selected candidate must agree to follow all Covid-19 safety guidelines and protocols established by the university. This is a one-year appointment, with an additional 6 months possible pending performance and funding availability. Start date is flexible and dependent upon hiring process but ideally within a month or two of offer.

$60,000/year plus excellent benefits.
How to Apply:

Please provide: (1) a cover letter detailing your experiences for the qualifications above and how they have prepared you for this position, (2) a CV, (3) names and contact information of three professional references, and (4) two relevant publications. Please submit these materials to Dr. W. David Walter via email ( as a single pdf. Qualified applicants will need to also submit application materials to Penn State’s employment website at