*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), Biomolecular & Computational Toxicology Division (BCTD) located in Durham, North Carolina.

Research Project: The Center for Computational Toxicology and Exposure (CCTE) within the Office of Research and Development is heavily invested in developing New Approach Methods (NAMs) to better define the potential hazards of thousands of environmental chemicals with unknown impacts on human health. This research project aims to model bioactivity screening data for defined chemical mixtures based on real-world co-exposures, thereby deriving a mathematical relationship between the concentration-response observed for single chemical constituents and the concentration-response observed for mixtures containing these chemical constituents. The hypothesis we will be evaluating is whether mathematical relationships, such as generalized concentration addition, can be applied to high-throughput screening data on single chemical constituents to predict conservative mixture potencies, which is critical to any efforts to operationalize existing in vitro bioactivity screening data for prediction of points of departure for mixtures. The primary question we would like to answer is: if we use a mathematical relationship such as generalized concentration addition, what will be the uncertainty associated with point-of-departure prediction? This research product when completed may provide preliminary data for understanding the feasibility of estimating the potency of mixtures based on single chemical high-throughput screening data; provide an initial roadmap for how to address differential exposures across U.S. demographics in support of work to pursue environmental justice; and, if justified based on the data obtained, may support preliminary estimation of bioactivity-based points-of-departure for prevalent mixtures in the human environment.

The research participant will collaborate with multiple investigators spanning exposure, toxicology, and informatics. The research participant will collaborate in developing a computational approach to analyzing and mathematically modeling mixtures data.

Learning Objectives: The research participant will learn how to:

– Analyze and integrate high-throughput bioactivity data to understand potential toxicity of chemical exposure, giving the participant experience in bioinformatics/toxicology
– Write code (R or Python) to analyze and model chemical mixture effects and utilize version control tools such as Git to track this code, giving the participant experience with chemical mixtures modeling.
– Synthesize results for publication and presentations at meetings.
– Research activities and opportunities will include:

– Leadership and hands-on participation in research and data interpretation
– Active participation in meetings of the project team
– Preparing reports, presentations, and summaries of the data
– Presenting at professional meetings
– Authoring manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

Mentor(s): The mentor for this opportunity is Katie Paul Friedman (paul-friedman.katie@epa.gov). If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor(s).

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: April 3, 2023.  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 three years and may be renewed up to five 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.

ORISE offers all ORISE EPA graduate students and Postdocs a free 5-year membership to the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA).

The successful applicant(s) will be required to comply with Environmental, Safety and Health (ES&H) requirements of the hosting facility, including but not limited to, COVID-19 requirements (e.g., facial covering, physical distancing, testing, vaccination).

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.
The qualified candidate should have received a doctoral degree in one of the relevant disciplines or be currently pursuing the degree with completion before June 30, 2023. Degree must have been received within the past five years.

Preferred Skills:

– Experience in mathematical modeling, computer science, or engineering, including hands-on experience developing modeling code in R and/or Python, are highly preferred.
– Skills or interest in bioinformatics, biology, or toxicology are helpful.
– Preferred areas of specialized training or experience include experience with mathematically modeling, engineering, or chemical mixtures modeling.
– Preferred candidates will express an interest or have some experience working with biological or toxicological data, such as in bioinformatics, environmental health, epidemiology, etc.
– The successful candidate will have the opportunity to collaborate with a team of EPA scientists to pursue unique research at the nexus of cutting-edge exposure and toxicology fields.
– Highly self-motivated individual with excellent writing and oral communication skills.