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Research Project Description

Microarray Research of Pathogenic Bacteria
Internship Program Opportunity
Office of Water
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, DC

EPA Water 2013-262

Project Description:

A postdoctoral internship project is available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Water. This internship will be served at the Microarray Research Laboratory (MRL) in EPA's Environmental Science Center at Fort Meade, Maryland. This project is groundbreaking research in the genotoxicity of antimicrobials used in water treatment.

The intern will be involved in research using the tools of functional genomics to understand the mechanisms of action involved in antimicrobial agents on pathogenic bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, which are also present in raw, untreated water supply system. Activities could also include cell cultivation, nucleic acid isolation and labeling, real-time PCR, and microarray analysis. Publication of results in peer-reviewed journals, as well as research-related outreach and education activities, are highly encouraged.

MRL employs DNA microarray or Gene-chips Â, a newly-developing technology. By using microarrays, the lab produces global gene expression profiles in pathogenic bacteria following exposure to antimicrobial agents. The global gene profiles are then analyzed to help in understanding the mechanisms involved in toxicity and resistance. More specifically, the aims of the laboratory are to:

  • Integrate the recent advances in the field of genomics into current microbiological techniques for testing the effectiveness of antimicrobial agents 
  • Analyze genome-wide changes in pathogenic bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus in response to exposure to antimicrobials and explore how these responses manifest themselves via variations in structural, physiological and metabolic properties.

EPA anticipates that this exciting research will provide useful data for healthcare facilities, patients and scientists as well as a training ground for individuals interested in genomics research.


Applicants must have received a doctoral degree in biochemistry, microbiology, intermediate metabolism, pathogenic bacteria, genomic, biological pathways, bioengineering, chemical engineering or a related field within five years of the desired starting date, or completion of all requirements for the degree should be expected prior to the starting date. Experience in bioengineering, molecular and cell biology, characterization of gene expression is also desired.

The appointment is full-time for a one-year and may be renewed for up to three additional years depending on the availability of funding. The annual stipend will range from $50,000 to $60,000 depending on educational level and experience. Taxes and other federal, state, and local deductions are the responsibility of the intern. Additional funds could be available to cover project-related travel and training. The intern must show proof of health and medical insurance. The intern does not become an EPA employee.

U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident status is required. The program is open to all qualified individuals without regard to race, sex, religion, color, age, physical or mental disability or national origin.

Technical Questions:

The EPA contact person and mentor for this project is Freshteh Toghrol. Her email is

How to Apply:

The Internship Program for EPA’s Office of Water is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE). Please reference Project # EPA Water 2013-262 when calling or writing for information. For additional information and application material contact: Internship Program - EPA Water, Attn: Betty Bowling - MS 36, ORISE, P.O. Box 117, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831 Phone: (865) 576-8503 Fax: (865) 241-5219 email:

An application can be found at