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Zoo Help: Endocrinology Lab

  • scientist pipetting

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Center for Species Survival in Front Royal, Virginia, is seeking a volunteer to assist in the state-of-the-art Wildlife Endocrinology Research Lab. 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; and databases to track cryo-preserved biomaterials. More than 140 mammal, fish, coral, urchin, algal and bird species have benefited from this vast experience.

The Endocrinology Research Lab is currently seeking a volunteer to assist with fecal hormone extractions, cataloging and inventorying supplies, and laboratory management—including cleaning, restocking and preparing reagents, and data entry.

Volunteers must be able to commit to at least one shift per week for a minimum of six months. Shift times are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday (weekend days not available).

Age Range: 
Special qualifications: 
Applicants studying biological sciences, animal science or veterinary medicine with previous lab experience are preferred, but no formal degree or training is required.
Once accepted, the volunteer must complete online orientation training. Additional training will be provided on the job in order to work safely with biological samples, chemicals and radioactivity.
Front Royal
Zoo Support
Contact phone: 
Additional information: 
These positions are highly competitive, and there are limited spaces available. Submission of an application is not a guarantee of placement. Applicants will be interviewed by staff, and those who are provisionally accepted will undergo background checks, including fingerprinting, as a requirement for approval as a volunteer. Once accepted, volunteers must submit proof of required vaccinations, including tetanus and a negative TB test, to the Smithsonian's National Zoo's health unit.