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Application Deadline

8/15/2022 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, located in Bedford Park, Illinois.

Undeclared allergens can inadvertently appear in packaged foods through incorrect labeling, improper handling of rework, cross-contact during manufacture and inadequate equipment cleaning procedures. Reliable analytical methods to detect and quantify allergens are necessary in order to control allergens during manufacture, ensure compliance with food labeling, and ultimately ensure consumer protection. Sampling is an essential part of analytical testing for food allergens, yet it is often overlooked in comparison to the detection phase of analysis. Limited information has been published on best practices for sampling foods for the presence of undeclared allergens. In addition, there is a lack of information on best practices to obtain subsamples of foods and to prepare them for analysis.

This project aims to study the factors involved in the development of allergen sampling plans, and to develop best practices for sampling foods for allergens, and for preparing samples/subsamples for analysis. This project will also evaluate the potential for allergen cross-contact associated with a variety of food manufacturing practices such as reuse of frying oil and use of shared equipment involved in the manufacture and storage of low moisture foods. A final goal of this project is to evaluate different cleaning and sanitation procedures for allergen removal from food-contact surfaces/processing equipment.

It is anticipated that through this training opportunity, the selected participant will receive training and become proficient in 1) use of analytical methods (e.g. ELISA, PCR, LC-MS/MS) for detection of allergens in food, 2) designing and performing pilot plant and lab-based processing studies, and 3) presentation and writing of research presentations and papers.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: July 1, 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 for one year, but may be renewed 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 have received a doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields (e.g. Food Science/Technology, Chemistry, Biochemistry), or be currently pursuing the degree with completion by the appointment start date. Degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date.

Preferred skills:

  • A strong academic record and hands-on expertise in analytical chemistry, food chemistry or protein chemistry analytical methods 
  • Diverse experience in the areas of basic food and analytical chemistry using complex assays such as ELISA tests, protein-based tests, PCR tests, and LC-MS/MS methods for detecting and quantifying peptides 
  • Familiarity with analytical methods for extracting and purifying food constituents and contaminants and statistical procedures 
  • Familiarity with food processing methods and processing equipment 
  • Experience interpreting and evaluating the results of analysis to determine validity and scientific significance 
  • Experience writing manuscripts with minimal editing which include diagrams, charts, graphs, etc. related to research activities and outcomes
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills

Eligibility Requirements

  • Degree: Doctoral Degree received within the last 60 months or anticipated to be received by 7/1/2022 11:59:00 PM.
  • Discipline(s):
  • Life Health and Medical Sciences (49 )
  • Other Physical Sciences ()


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