*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 Computational Toxicology and Exposure (CCTE), Chemical Characterization & Exposure Division (CCED) located in Durham, North Carolina.
Research Project: With the thousands of chemicals in commerce and the environment, EPA is tasked with providing human and environmental safety and risk information rapidly. A major challenge of this task is traditional toxicity tests take years and occur on a per chemical basis when most exposures occur in complex mixtures. A better way to measure the risk of complex mixtures, especially for those with high exposure potential like per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, is needed to protect human and environmental health. The goals of this project will help address the problem by using a combination of high throughput cell-based and embryo-larval zebrafish-based assays to quickly test several real-world chemical mixtures.
The research participant will relate phenotype and gene expression response from exposed cells and zebrafish to mixture potency while learning and applying EPA benchmark dose/concentration (BMD) response modeling. The research participant will employ several methods of quantifying mixture concentration, including in-silico predictions, during BMD analysis. The results of these studies will inform select mixture tests in the rats with the overall objective of developing predictive models for toxicity and margins of exposure that can be applied to realistic mixture risk prioritization and management. The research participant will collaborate with analytical chemists to prepare defined mixtures to test along with environmentally collected samples. The research participant will be become familiar with risk assessment principles while learning, designing, and implementing high throughput phenotypic and transcriptomic assays. The research participant will learn how to analyze large gene expression and imaging datasets while employing BMD analysis approaches to put that information into context across biological organization and species to translate chemical mixture hazard and risk to humans.
- Learning to work with embryo-larval zebrafish
- Learning the zebrafish developmental toxicity assay
- Learning cell culture
- Learn several cellular phenotypic and cytotoxicity assays
As part of a multi-disciplinary and multi-center team within EPA, the research participant will have numerous opportunities to present and network with the research team and outside EPA through participation at local and national scientific conferences.
Mentor(s): The mentor for this opportunity is Leah Wehmas (email@example.com). If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s).
Anticipated Appointment Start Date: Summer/Fall 2021. 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 to 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.