*Applications may be reviewed on a rolling-basis and this posting could close before the deadline. Click here for information about the selection process.
EPA Office/Lab and Location: A research opportunity is available at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Research and Development (ORD), Center for Public Health Environmental Assessment (CPHEA), Public Health and Integrated Toxicology Division (PHITD) located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Research Project: This research project will focus on various aspects of environmental exposures and their impact on public health and wellbeing. Specifically, the research participant will have the opportunity to participate in research related to identification of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) source signatures to provide regional and national level estimates of the health burden derived from exposure to drinking water contaminated with PFAS. The assessment study will examine the distribution of exposure and health burden with respect to community characteristics and identify high priority area for sampling. If successful, this approach may be used as the framework for evaluating the impact of emerging contaminates at a large scale where direct monitoring data is not available.
Widespread PFAS contamination has been detected in groundwater used for drinking water throughout the U.S. (UCMR 3, EPA, 2015). In some cases the sources of this contamination are known, and intense exposure monitoring campaigns have been deployed. However, in most areas the actual sources of PFAS and levels of PFAS in drinking water are not known. In the proposed research we will leverage large databases and artificial intelligence (AI) to define source profiles of industrial activities and landscape characteristics with higher potentials for PFAS impacts on drinking water supply. Specifically, we will train AI algorithms to identify source profiles where direct measurements of PFAS in drinking water are available and apply the assessment of exposure on the regional and national scales where direct measurements of PFAS are lacking. The spatial distribution of source signatures will be examined with respect to socio-demographic profiles of communities to asses equity of exposure and other measure of environmental justice.
Learning Objectives: The research participant will have the opportunity to be part of a multidisciplinary team of investigators that are developing community-based indicators of vulnerability to a changing environment. Under the guidance of a mentor, research activities may include:
- Conducting data analysis, documenting statistical code and interpretation of results.
- Conducting and documenting quality assurance and review of data analysis and databases.
- Preparing reports, presentations and summaries of the data.
- Presenting results at professional meetings.
- Publication of results.
Mentor(s): The mentor for this opportunity is Dr. Ana Rappold (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s).
Anticipated Appointment Start Date: January 2022. All start dates are flexible and vary depending on numerous factors. Click here for detailed information about start dates.
Appointment Length: The appointment will initially be for one year and may be renewed up to three or four additional years upon EPA recommendation and subject to availability of funding.
Level of Participation: The appointment is full-time.
Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. Click here for detailed information about full-time stipends.
EPA Security Clearance: Completion of a successful background investigation by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is required for an applicant to be on-boarded at EPA.
ORISE Information: This program, administered by 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 EPA. Participants do not become employees of EPA, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.
Questions: Please see the FAQ section of our website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email ORISE.EPA.ORD@orau.org and include the reference code for this opportunity.