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Department of Reproduction Endocrine Laboratory Technician Internship

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Center for Species Survival (CSS) is offering a laboratory technician and support internship to assist with ongoing research on rare and endangered species through CSS’s Department of Reproduction endocrinology laboratory. Interns will receive training under the supervision of our technicians on laboratory management, materials supply, lab maintenance, and reproductive research.

Project Description

The Department of Reproductive Sciences is a world leader in the study of rare and endangered species. The department faculty is diverse, but specializes in reproductive physiology, endocrinology, cryobiology, embryonic/molecular biology, behavior, and the tools associated with assisted reproduction. Staff scientists have pioneered important concepts in reproductive biology for threatened and endangered species and created new conservation tools, including:

  • New approaches for noninvasive monitoring of hormone profiles
  • Artificial insemination
  • Implementation of a “mobile laboratory research” unit
  • Databases to track cryo-preserved biomaterials.

More than 60 mammal, fish, coral, urchin, algal, and bird species have benefited from this vast experience.

Intern Tasks

Interns will receive training under the supervision of the Department of Reproductive Sciences staff. Activities will entail research in the laboratory, record keeping, laboratory and equipment maintenance, data analyses, and data presentation. Students will gain first-hand experience in the management of a laboratory—from ordering supplies to material preparation as well as on fundamental biological questions while working alongside highly experienced researchers from the National Zoological Park. Research activities may include noninvasive hormone monitoring, gamete biology (sperm and eggs), gonadal tissue cryopreservation, and animal behavior.

Species studied include cheetah, clouded leopard, African lion, Eld’s deer, scimitar-horned oryx, addra gazelle, Przewalski’s horse, Persian onager, Panamanian golden frog, elephant, maned wolf, Asiatic wild dog, and whooping crane.

Project Activities

Assist with:

  • Cataloging research samples
  • Cataloging and inventorying supplies
  • Laboratory management—including cleaning, restocking and preparing materials
  • On-going endocrine and gamete biology research
  • Summarizing data and data analyses

Qualifications and Abilities

Completion of at least three years of undergraduate coursework in a related field of study, including at least two laboratory-based courses

Candidate should be efficient, organized, and possess strong computer skills

Organizational skills that can be applied to supply management and inventory

Must be able to travel to and from internship site, or fly into Dulles International Airport (IAD).

Term of Appointment

Intern should be able to work for five months or longer, starting February 3, 2014.

Application Deadline

December 20, 2013


This unpaid internship is available at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. Credit for participation is dependent upon university’s requirements and approval.


On-site dormitory-style housing will be provided free of charge.

To Apply

Go to https://solaa.si.edu to create an account in the Smithsonian On-Line Academic Appointment System; go to Internship Opportunities section and submit the following application materials to the National Zoological Park Internship Program:

  • A cover letter describing your interest, qualifications, and career plans, including the learning objectives of participation in this internship
  • A resume
  • Transcripts from your current and/or previous institutions (Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.)
  • Two letters of recommendation