Job post: Laboratory Scientist (Bo, Sierra Leone)

We are seeking a highly motivated doctoral level scientist (or one with a master’s training and advanced work experience) to join our inter-disciplinary team of laboratory technologists, epidemiologists, and physicians to lead a multipurpose research laboratory in Sierra Leone,  supporting serosurveillance studies and clinical trials. The laboratory scientist will work under the general direction of the study principal investigators. The incumbent must have a comprehensive working knowledge of the theory, systems, methodologies and equipment in microbiology and immunodiagnostics including serology, bacteriology, molecular diagnostics, as well as specimen and data base management. In addition to managing day-to-day technical operations, the candidate will also be instrumental in expanding our laboratory capabilities.

The position is based out of the Centre for Global Health Research (CGHR www.cghr.org), a well-regarded research organization associated with the University of Toronto and Unity Health Toronto see-https://unityhealth.to/. CGHR’s mission is to lead high quality public health research that advances global health for all, with particular attention to the world’s poorest populations. CGHR works with the School of Community Medicine, Njala University (https://njala.edu.sl/school-community-health-sciences) and the National Public Health Agency (NPHA- https://www.npha.gov.sl/) on large-scale population health projects, including Healthy-Sierra Leone (HEAL-SL; www.healsl.org). HEAL-SL is a multiyear investment that has enabled Sierra Leone to establish a low-cost, sustainable, nationwide mortality recording system that tracks rates of fertility, mortality and causes of death throughout the country, from 2018-28 (planned). HEAL-SL is the platform for large-scale multiplex testing among 8000 adults and children surveyed through dried blood spots to assess infectious disease burdens (malaria, SARS-CoV-2, dengue, typhoid and others). The HEAL-SL findings are now spurring a large scale trial of adult malaria vaccination called AMRI.

The successful candidate for this position enjoys a good benefits package, and collegial, supportive work environment. This position will work very closely with key stakeholders from the Government of Sierra Leone (GOSL), NPHA, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto and others. The position will report to the Dr. Rashid Ansumana, Dean, CHS at Njala University.

As a new position, the laboratory scientist will build laboratory capacity from the limited current capacity and have substantial leadership role in this expansion. S/he is required to work closely with the external clinical microbiologist and other academic partners to organize and direct day-to-day technical operations to ensure timely, accurate and reliable results. They will ensure efficient and effective workflow, make recommendations for process improvement, develop policies and procedures, and assist in implementing change and monitoring effectiveness. The scientist will provide advanced technical and professional guidance to technologists/technicians and provide daily oversight of local laboratory technologists and testing.

JOB RESPONSIBILITIES include but not limited to:

  • On-site supervision of laboratory technologists in Sierra Leone
  • Planning, organizing and coordinating workflow and processes to ensure efficient operations
  • Ensuring daily work is completed by technologists in accordance with the established study schedule
  • Monitoring work and prioritizing workload and responding effectively to changing demands
  • Developing and implementing an ongoing Quality Management System in collaboration with the clinical microbiologist
  • Participating in quality and safety audits
  • Establishing, maintaining, and monitoring daily and weekly quality assurance and quality control for all laboratory tests
  • Participating in real-time troubleshooting for assays, investigating discordant external quality assurance results, resolving issues, implementing corrective actions, and monitoring their effectiveness
  • Developing quality indicators and monitoring trends
  • Ensuring all equipment associated with assigned studies is properly maintained
  • Maintaining and monitoring inventory and ensuring sufficient supplies usage and expense
  • Training laboratory technologists on theory and technical aspects of techniques being utilized
  • Performing bench work as required
  • Leading efforts to expand the laboratory’s capabilities and scope
  • Collaborating with international partners and stakeholders to align laboratory practices with global standards
  • Other duties assigned by the principal investigator and clinical microbiologist

Job Requirements:

  • Doctoral degree in microbiology, biochemistry, immunology or another relevant field or master’s level training with substantial work experience.
  • Previous work experience in global health and low-resource settings is essential
  • Demonstrated expert technical skills in microbiology, especially in the areas of serology and molecular diagnostics
  • At least 3 years of experience in specimen management and developing and maintaining large laboratory databases
  • Experience with regulatory compliance and laboratory accreditation processes
  • Demonstrated oral and written communication skills
  • Demonstrated teaching and mentoring skills with a commitment to lifelong learning
  • Demonstrated organizational skills and ability to prioritize work, multiple tasks, projects and meet deadlines

TERM AND COMPENSATION

Details of the term and compensation will be negotiated. The HEAL-SL investments are currently funded for 2 years. Hence this position will be for 2 years initially, with the possibility of an extension. Compensation will be commensurate with experience.

Please submit by 1700 GMT Friday Aug 2, 2024, a cover letter detailing past laboratory managerial and technical leadership, a CV and the contact details for three referees to: venus.jaraba@unityhealth.to.

Please quote “National Lab Scientist Sierra Leone” in the subject line.


NJALA UNIVERSITY

Njala University Bo Campus, Sierra Leone

https://njala.edu.sl/


CENTRE FOR GLOBAL HEALTH RESEARCH

30 Bond Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5B 1W8

www.cghr.org