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FDA Postgraduate Chemist Fellowship

Application Deadline
8/15/2022 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), located in Bedford Park, Illinois.

Arsenic is a poisonous substance that is known to cause cancer and neurodevelopmental effects in infants and children. Long-term dietary exposure to arsenic and other toxic elements (lead, cadmium, etc), poses a health risk to infants and children. Previous work at FDA/DFPST found that some filtering aids contain relatively high levels of arsenic and other toxic metals and that under some conditions, transfer them to beverages such as beer, wine and some juices. Since filter aids are widely used in the food industry for the clarification of beverages, it is necessary to evaluate the transfer of arsenic and other heavy metals from filter aids into juices, particularly those consumed by infants and children.

The participant, under the supervision of the mentor, will assist with studies that will: 1) evaluate transfer of arsenic and other heavy metals into beverages (juice) by the filtering aids and 2) identify key factors contributing to elevated levels of arsenic and other heavy metals in beverages. The participant will also assist with studies that will investigate the effectiveness of treatments for removing heavy metals from filtering aids. This project will also evaluate filtration treatments that do not involve the use of filtering aids and other treatments that may be used to reduce toxic metal content of beverages. Finally, the participant will assist with a project that will investigate other processing methods and their potential impact on toxic metals and other chemical contaminants in infant foods such as those made from cereal grains such as rice, wheat or barley. This study will provide valuable information to FDA and the food industry on ways to minimize toxic metal and other chemical contaminants in foods intended for infants and children.

For this training opportunity, the ORISE Fellow will receive training on use of ICP-MS/MS, ICP-OES, LC-MS/MS, preparation of foods for analysis, and design of controlled experiments to evaluate transfer of toxic elements and other chemical hazards to food during processing. In addition, the participant will be training in the use of lab- and pilot plant-scale processing equipment. The participant will also be given the opportunity to give presentations at scientific conferences and assist with preparation of manuscripts for peer reviewed journals.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: July 1, 2022; 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 one year, 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 Bedford Park, Illinois, 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 doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields (e.g. Food Science/Technology, Chemistry, Biochemistry), or be currently pursuing the degree with completion by the appointment start date. Degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date.

Preferred skills:
  • A strong academic record and hands-on expertise in analytical chemistry, food chemistry or protein chemistry analytical methods 
  • Diverse experience in the areas of basic food and analytical chemistry using complex assays such as ELISA tests, protein-based tests, PCR tests, and LC-MS/MS methods for detecting and quantifying peptides 
  • Familiarity with analytical methods for extracting and purifying food constituents and contaminants and statistical procedures 
  • Familiarity with food processing methods and processing equipment 
  • Experience interpreting and evaluating the results of analysis to determine validity and scientific significance 
  • Experience writing manuscripts with minimal editing which include diagrams, charts, graphs, etc. related to research activities and outcomes
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills

Eligibility Requirements

  • Degree: Doctoral Degree received within the last 60 months or anticipated to be received by 7/1/2022 11:59:00 PM.
  • Discipline(s):
  • Life Health and Medical Sciences (49 )
  • Other Physical Sciences ()


Have you lived in the United States for at least 36 out of the past 60 months? (36 months do not have to be consecutive.)