FDA Postdoctoral Fellowship in Skin Research

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

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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.OC.Other@orau.org. Please include the reference code for this opportunity in your email.


*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

FDA Office and Location: A postdoctoral fellowship opportunity is currently available in the Division of Biochemical Toxicology at the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) located in Jefferson, AR.  Funding for this opportunity will be provided by the Office of Commissioner (OC), Office of Women's Health (OWH).  

Research Project: The selected candidate will participate in a multi-disciplinary effort to evaluate the potential for alternative models of human skin to help predict the dermal absorption of products of interest to the FDA, including human and animal topical drugs and cosmetic ingredients.  

Learning Objectives: 

  • The fellow will play a primary role in the development and conduct of in vitro skin absorption studies using excised human skin, artificial membranes, and reconstructed human epidermis and skin barrier models. To this end, the fellow will become familiar with relevant scientific literature, learn how to develop suitable study designs and experimental strategies, and conduct laboratory research using a range of techniques, including cell culture, in vitro skin permeation testing, lipid analysis, histology, transepidermal water loss, and trans-epithelial electrical resistance.
  • The fellow will be in close collaboration with researchers at NCTR and from FDA product centers, including CFSAN, CDER, and CVM, and from other federal agencies, including NCATS and NICEATM.
  • The fellow will be actively encouraged to present the study findings at scientific meetings and to publish them in peer-reviewed journals.

Anticipated Start Date: March 1, 2024.

Appointment Length: The appointment will initially be for 18 months, but may be renewed upon recommendation of FDA and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of Participation: The appointment is full time.

Citizenship Requirements: This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), and foreign nationals. Non-U.S. citizen applicants should refer to the Guidelines for Non-U.S. Citizens Details page of the program website for information about the valid immigration statuses that are acceptable for program participation.

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 participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. 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 Ethics Requirements

If an ORISE Fellow, to include their spouse and minor children, reports what is identified as a Significantly Regulated Organization (SRO) or prohibited investment fund financial interest in any amount, or a relationship with an SRO, except for spousal employment with an SRO, and the individual will not voluntarily divest the financial interest or terminate the relationship, then the individual is not placed at FDA.   For additional requirements, see FDA Ethics for Nonemployee Scientists. 

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. toxicology, biology, chemistry, biomedical engineering, or related areas). The doctoral degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date.

Preferred skills:

  • A strong background in planning and conduct of wet lab research, data analysis, and presentation of findings is desired.
  • Experience conducting in vitro skin permeation testing and cell culture is preferred.
  • Demonstrated written and oral communications skills. 
Eligibility Requirements
  • Degree: Doctoral Degree received within the last 60 month(s).
  • Academic Level(s): Postdoctoral.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Chemistry and Materials Sciences (5 )
    • Engineering (4 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (26 )

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.)

I have read the FDA Ethics Requirements.


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