PostDoc at US EPA in NC: Genetic tools and toxic mechanisms

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PostDoc at US EPA in NC: Genetic tools and toxic mechanisms

Postby pbushnell » Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:20 am

New posting of this research opportunity in Research Triangle Park, NC. This project will provide training in bioinformatics and toxicology for a creative PhD with experience in Drosophila biology. Now open to J-1 Visa holders.
Details below:

Research Participation Program
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Research and Development
National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory
Research Triangle Park, NC


Drosophila Genetics in the Toxicology Laboratory

Project Description:
A postdoctoral research project training opportunity is currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory. The appointment will be served with the Toxicity Assessment Division (TAD), located Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The division of NHEERL whose mission is to develop data to identify and characterize the toxicity of environmental chemicals

This project is aimed at developing methods for using Drosophila melanogaster to screen airborne chemicals for toxicity and identify toxicity pathways that link molecular targets to adverse outcomes in animals. This goal is to expand the number and kinds of chemicals that can be screened for toxicity using simple tests, and to provide a basic biological approach to generating a mechanistic foundation for the screening methods currently in use.

The participant will have two primary research opportunities which involve experimenting with fruit flies and analyzing bioinformatic data. The participant will develop methods to expose fruit flies to volatile chemicals, and will determine the viability of the Drosophila Genetics Reference Panel (DGRP) as an approach to identifying adverse outcome pathways for linking effects on molecular targets to toxic outcomes in whole animals. Dr. Mackay, of the MacKay Laboratory at NC State University, will make the DGRP available for this project. In addition to the experiments involved in generating the data from the flies, there will be extensive bioinformatic analyses to associate the phenotypic response profiles obtained from the flies with the genes linked to those profiles. These analyses will be facilitated by EPA investigators, and by the Mackay lab at NCSU.

The participant will learn principles of toxicology, including the design of and conduct of controlled experiments with animals, under the mentorship of the principal investigators (PJ Bushnell and WK Boyes). S/he will learn state-of-the-art methods for exposing animals to airborne vapors and gases with support from the NHEERL inhalation engineers (M Higuchi and staff). S/he will learn cutting-edge methods of bioinformatic analysis of large databases, with support from EPA investigators in NHEERL (S Hester) and the National Computational Center for Toxicology (R Judson and D Reif). The participant will also learn current and evolving methods for associating experimentally-derived phenotypic profiles with genes using the thoroughly-sequenced DGRP, with assistance from the Mackay laboratory at NCSU (located in Raleigh, 30 min by car from EPA).

The participant will be exposed to the research activities occurring in the US EPA research laboratories, including experimental toxicology and bioinformatics, as well as more abstract problems of dose-response and risk assessment. S/he will have direct contact with the Department of Genetics at NCSU, where the Mackay lab runs a world-class program in Drosophila genetics. In addition, there will be opportunities to work with Drosophila laboratories at NIEHS, just a short walk from the EPA laboratories. Finally, s/he will have the opportunity to attend a scientific meeting and present the results of the research.

Applicants must have received a doctoral degree in biology 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 with laboratory methods for breeding and maintaining stocks of Drosophila; understanding of modern principles of genetics; facility with bioinformatic methods of data analysis is desired.

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 the applicant can also hold an appropriate visa status; however, an H1B visa is not appropriate). The participant must show proof of health insurance. This can be obtained through ORISE. The participant does not become an EPA employee.

The research participant will be selected based on academic records, recommendations, research interests, and the availability of funds, staff, programs and equipment. Funds may be made available to reimburse participant's travel expenses to present the results of his/her research at scientific conferences and/or to attend training seminars. The appointment is full-time for one year and may be renewed for up to one additional year upon recommendation of EPA and subject to availability of funds. The participant will receive a monthly stipend. No funding will be made available to cover travel costs for pre-appointment visits, relocation costs, tuition or school fees, and participant's health insurance.

Technical Contact:
Philip Bushnell will be the mentor for this project. He can be contacted at

How to Apply:
The Research Participation Program for EPA is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. Please reference Project # EPA-ORD/NHEERL-TAD-2012-02 when calling or writing for information. For additional information and application materials contact: Research Participation Program/EPA-ORD Attn: Betty Bowling, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, P.O. Box 117, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831-0117, Phone: (865) 576-8503 FAX: (865) 241-5219 e-mail:

An application can be found at
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Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:29 pm

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