FDA Postgraduate Research Opportunity in Foodborne Microbial Pathogens

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Reference Code
How to Apply

A complete application consists of:

  • An application
  • Transcripts – Click here for detailed information about acceptable transcripts
  • A current resume/CV, including academic history, employment history, relevant experiences, and publication list
  • One educational or professional recommendation. Your application will be considered incomplete, and will not be reviewed until one recommendation is submitted.

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

If you have questions, send an email to ORISE.FDA.CFSAN@orau.org. Please include the reference code for this opportunity in your email.

Application Deadline
7/1/2022 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), Office of Food Safety (OFS) located in Bedford Park, Illinois.

The participant will be part of a multidisciplinary team involved in studying the survival of foodborne microbial pathogens in ready-to-eat foods such as fresh produce and refrigerated prepared foods to assess potential food safety risks. Under the guidance of a mentor, the participant will receive further training and experience in diverse areas of food microbiology, including:

  • safe handling of foodborne microbial pathogens in the laboratory
  • conventional and rapid assays for detection, identification and enumeration of pathogens in food determinations of microbial growth and inactivation kinetics in foods
  • identification of molecular determinants in foodborne pathogens enabling survival during storage of fresh produce or other ready-to-eat foods

Projects could investigate post-processing practices that will help to improve the safety of ready-to-eat foods in different food commodity categories, for example: fresh produce, dairy foods, multi-commodity foods. The participant will be part of a team that will investigate different approaches to improving food safety, such as: detection, behavior, and survival of bacterial and viral pathogens in ready-to-eat foods, physical and/or chemical interventions to improve food safety, and post-processing controls to mitigate hazards in ready-to-eat foods. The microbial hazards may include: Listeria monocytogenes, pathogenic Escherichia coli, and Salmonella enterica.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: July 15, 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 until the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30, 2022, but may be renewed annually 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 be currently pursuing or have received a bachelor's or master's degree in one of the relevant fields. Degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date.

Preferred skills:

  • Basic level of experience in the areas of general and food microbiology
  • Basic skills in interpretation and evaluation of analytical results to determine validity and scientific significance
  • Ability to generate charts and graphs to illustrate data
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
Eligibility Requirements
  • Citizenship: LPR or U.S. Citizen
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree or Master's Degree received within the last 60 months or currently pursuing.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Engineering (1 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (11 )

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