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Biosample Operations Internship

The Department of Defense (DoD) is offering a bachelor's- or master's-level internship in the Viral Diseases Branch (VDB) at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR).

What will I be doing?

As an ORISE participant, you will join a community of scientists and researchers within the VDB in an effort to detect and eliminate viral threats to Soldiers by supporting disease surveillance around the world to inform force health protection decisions, identify targets for new preventives and treatments, and develop arbovirus and respiratory virus vaccines. VDB quickly identifies and responds to emerging and existing viral threats to keep Soldiers in the fight. This unique infrastructure is organized to monitor viral epidemics and outbreaks throughout the world, provide early warnings, and develop products such as approved vaccines for influenza, Japanese encephalitis, adenovirus and hepatitis A.

Why should I apply?

Under the guidance of a mentor, you will gain hands-on experience to complement your education and support your academic and professional goals. Along the way, you will engage in activities and research in several areas. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Learning the entire lifecycle of clinical and non-clinical samples to include sample collection, receiving, storage, shipping, and final sample disposition, ensuring compliance with all applicable State, Federal, DoD, and WRAIR regulations. 
  • Participating in reviewing clinical and non-clinical study protocols, laboratory standard operating procedures and instructions, and other relevant documents for sample management details. 
  • Gaining experience on maintenance of sample processing, storage, and shipments to include formal training and experience preparing shipments of Category A and B Biological Substances. 
  • Developing a sample tracking system and participate in software acquisition, development, implementation, and maintenance. As well as gaining experience refining processes for storage and retrieval of specimens, in a collection of over 600,000 samples. 
  • Participating in development activities to include generating standard operating procedures for handling, archiving, and monitoring samples and also participate in training other VDB staff members.  
  • Following the oversight process for 100% inventory of over 600,000 samples curated into the system acquired for long term preservation of the VDB repository.
  • Developing training for individuals performing cataloging duties for the VDB Sample Repository.

Where will I be located?

Silver Spring, Maryland

What is the anticipated start date?

The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research is ready to make appointments immediately. Exact start dates will be determined at the time of selection and in coordination with the selected candidate. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis and internships or fellowships will be filled as qualified candidates are identified.

What is the appointment length?

This appointment is a 12-month research appointment, with the possibility to be renewed for additional research periods. Appointments may be extended depending on funding availability, project assignment, program rules, and availability of the participant. 

What are the benefits?

You will receive a stipend to be determined by Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Stipends are typically based on a participant’s academic standing, discipline, experience, and research facility location. Other benefits may include the following:

  • Health Insurance Supplement (Participants are eligible to purchase health insurance through ORISE)
  • Relocation Allowance
  • Training and Travel Allowance


The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) aims to conduct biomedical research that is responsive to U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Army requirements. WRAIR conducts basic science, applied science, and animal and human subjects research to deliver lifesaving products including knowledge, technology and medical material that sustain the combat effectiveness of the Warfighter. Areas of focus include tropical infectious diseases and HIV, medical care on the battlefield and post-traumatic stress disorders. For more information about the WRAIR, please visit


This program, administered by Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and DoD. Participants do not enter into an employee/employer relationship with ORISE, ORAU, DoD or any other office or agency. Instead, you will be affiliated with ORISE for the administration of the appointment through the ORISE appointment letter and Terms of Appointment. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE. For more information, visit the ORISE Research Participation Program at the U.S. Department of Defense.


The qualified candidate will have a Bachelor's or Master's degree in Biology, Biomedical Science, Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biotechnology or related biological science discipline.

Highly competitive applicants will have:

  • Excellent organizational, documentation, record keeping, and communication skills.
  • Experience using Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. 
  • Experience with Freezerworks, Microsoft Access, and/or other database software.
  • Experience working in a biological science laboratory and/or managing sample collection, receiving, storage, and shipping.
  • Demonstrated skills or a formal degree in Information Technology.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Citizenship: LPR or U.S. Citizen
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree or Master's Degree received within the last 60 months