*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.
A research opportunity is currently available at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), in the Office of Applied Research and Safety Assessment (OARSA) located in Jamaica, New York.
CFSAN has specific regulatory responsibilities directed at ensuring the safety of food, food additives, dietary supplements, and cosmetic products. CFSAN maintains an active research program focused on developing and applying technologies to detect, identify and evaluate microbial hazards that contaminate foods.
There is a critical need to develop sensitive and specific sampling methods to recover and identify foodborne pathogens utilizing novel multiplex detection systems and molecular technologies. Current pathogen detection methods are culture based, and metagenomic sequencing can characterize microbial communities in food before and after culture. This study will focus on using metagenomic sequencing to identify foodborne pathogens, antimicrobial resistance markers and virulence factors. The long-term goal of this project is to remove contaminated foods from the supply chain quickly by reducing detection times.
The Fellow will be trained on employing whole genome sequencing, specifically metagenomic sequencing, to improve the sensitivity and specificity of sampling methods used to recover pathogens from food and environmental matrices. Training activities will include:
- Processing food and environmental swab samples following FDA culture methods for high priority pathogens such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and Listeria.
- Evaluating FDA culture methods for improved isolation of foodborne pathogens from food and environmental samples.
- DNA extraction and library preparation for metagenomic sequencing on the Illumina MiSeq platform.
- Evaluation of metagenomic sequence data for culture independent detection of foodborne pathogens from food and environmental samples.
- Participation in the FDA GenomeTrakr project for whole genome sequencing of foodborne pathogens.
- Preparation of reports, protocols, manuscripts, and presentations from the results of the above studies.
Anticipated Appointment Start Date: Fall 2021; start date is flexible
This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and FDA. The initial appointment is for nine months, but may be renewed upon recommendation of FDA contingent on the availability of funds. The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. The appointment is full-time at FDA in the Jamaica, New York, area. Participants do not become employees of FDA, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits.
If you have questions, send an email to ORISE.FDA.CFSAN@orau.org. Please include the reference code for this opportunity in your email.