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Research Project Description

High Throughput Chemical Screening
Research Participation Program
Office of Research and Development
National Exposure Research Laboratory
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Research Triangle Park, NC


Project Description:

A postgraduate research project training opportunity is currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL). The appointment will be served with the Human Exposure and Atmospheric Sciences Division (HEASD) in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

HEASD conducts research focused on building a sound scientific understanding of the processes and factors that impact sources of environmental pollutants, environmental concentrations, and human exposure to help protect human health and the environment. The division’s core research activities include: developing sampling and analytical methods for measuring environmental concentrations of organic and inorganic pollutants; conducting measurement studies to understand atmospheric processes and human exposures to environmental pollutants; developing and applying models to link:

    • Sources to atmospheric concentrations;
    • Environmental concentrations to human exposures;
    • Human exposures to dose; and,
    • Human exposures and environmental concentrations back to sources.

In this project, high throughput methods are being developed to determine what compounds humans are exposed to on a regular basis. From select environmental media, this research project will investigate from the multitude of chemicals of commerce, those that appear to have the highest potential for exposure due to presence in environmental media. This research project will extend the current capability for screening environmental samples for chemicals of greatest concern.

Joining an EPA team of investigators who are identifying chemicals of human exposure, the selected intern will focus on identifying classes of chemicals that individuals are exposed to on a daily basis in a high throughput manner. Research will include non-targeted analysis of environmental samples for identification of classes of chemical contaminants to which humans are likely to be exposed. These environmental media may include house-dust, surface wipes and water. Research activities may include:

  1. Developing/interpreting large datasets (e.g. searching for trends, relevancies, patterns, etc.);
  2. Developing extraction strategies for various media that are the most encompassing for the majority of screening chemicals;
  3. Generating reports of screened samples via Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (TOFMS) for screened compounds;
  4. Presenting at professional meetings; and
  5. Preparing manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

The research participant will learn to apply their creativity and intellect toward solving complex problems and generating ideas for further investigation. S/he will also have the opportunity to further develop their technical skills, analytical capability, and communication skills. More specifically, s/he will learn to develop scientific methods that allow for a more intuitive and informative analysis of biomonitoring data in an exposure and/or risk context.

Additionally, the research participant will receive opportunities to be closely involved with other senior scientists who are experts in chemistry, biology, pharmacokinetics, biological modeling, survey statistics, and risk assessment for supporting regulatory decision-making.


Applicants must have received a master’s degree in chemistry, biology, environmental sciences, or a similar 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. Knowledge of data-mining techniques and statistics is desirable.

The program is open to all qualified individuals without regard to race, sex, religion, color, age, physical or mental disability, national origin, or status as a Vietnam era or disabled veteran. U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident status is preferred (but a candidate also may hold an appropriate visa status; an H1B visa is not appropriate). Guidelines for non-U.S. citizens may be found at

The appointment is full time for one year and may be renewed upon recommendation of EPA and contingent on the availability of funds. The participant will receive a monthly stipend. Funding may be made available to reimburse the participant's travel expenses to present the results of his/her research at scientific conferences. No funding will be made available to cover travel costs for pre-appointment visits, relocation costs, tuition and fees, or a participant's health insurance. The participant must show proof of health and medical insurance. The participant does not become an EPA employee.

Technical Questions:

The mentor for this project is Dr. Mark Strynar (      

How to Apply:

An application can be found at Please reference Project # EPA-ORD/NERL-HEASD-2014-08 when calling or writing for information.