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FDA Postgraduate Research Opportunity in Microbiology - College Park, MD


U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)



U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Reference Code


How to Apply

A complete application consists of:

  • An application
  • Transcripts –
  • A current resume/CV, including academic history, employment history, relevant experiences, and publication list
  • One educational or professional recommendation

All documents must be in English or include an official English translation.

If you have questions, send an email to Please include the reference code for this opportunity in your email.

Application Deadline

6/19/2020 3:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone


  • 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), Office of Regulatory Science (ORS) located in College Park, Maryland.

The goals of this project are to improve the ability to predict and apply key phenotypic and genotypic characteristics of recurring isolates from food industry and farms to ultimately assist in preventive controls. Initially they will be examined for their levels of tolerance or resistance to quaternary ammonium chloride compounds (Quats), chlorine, heavy metals, antibiotic drugs, heat, salts, and acid. Additional resistance traits may be characterized as needed. Organisms included in the study will include Salmonella, and other foodborne pathogens.

Under the guidance of a mentor, the participant will receive hands-on training in the following research activities:

  • CFSAN and Division of Microbiology (DM) biosafety procedures for handling pathogenic bacterial cultures
  • DM laboratory methods, including:
    • the use of the Biolog Omnilog kinetic cell growth assay reader
    • generation and analysis of DNA sequence data from using Illumina next generation sequencing technologies
    • the use of the Q-Pix Colony Picker and Re-arraying robot
  • Participate in the development of functional assays to characterize the phenotypic changes associated with adaptive genotypic changes identified through whole genome sequence analysis
  • Contribute to environmental sampling efforts of sample collection and analysis for the presence of Salmonella
  • Participate in data management on all above stated projects as well as other research related activities
  • Follow experimental protocols and document findings in a laboratory notebook
  • Communicate with mentors on a daily basis
  • Collaborate with mentors to prepare reports for communicating results to CFSAN, FDA, and the scientific community

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: July 20, 2020

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 two and a half 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 College Park, Maryland, area. Participants do not become employees of FDA, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits.

Completion of a successful background investigation by the Office of Personnel Management is required for an applicant to be on-boarded at FDA. OPM can complete a background investigation only for individuals, including non-US Citizens, who have resided in the US for a total of three of the past five years.

FDA requires ORISE participants to read and sign their FDA Education and Training Agreement within 30 days of his/her start date, setting forth the conditions and expectations for his/her educational appointment at the agency. This agreement covers such topics as the following:

  • Non-employee nature of the ORISE appointment;
  • Prohibition on ORISE Fellows performing inherently governmental functions;
  • Obligation of ORISE Fellows to convey all necessary rights to the FDA regarding intellectual property conceived or first reduced to practice during their fellowship;
  • The fact that research materials and laboratory notebooks are the property of the FDA;
  • ORISE fellow’s obligation to protect and not to further disclose or use non-public information.


The qualified candidate should have received a bachelor's degree in one of the relevant fields, or be currently pursuing the degree and will reach completion by the appointment start date. Degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date.

Preferred skills:

  • Basic aseptic culture technique
  • Basic microbiological culturing techniques
  • Basic understanding of molecular methods such as PCR

Eligibility Requirements

  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen Only
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree received within the last 60 months or anticipated to be received by 7/20/2020 11:59:00 PM.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences




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