FDA position available on Dauphin Island

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Office of Food Safety
Division of Seafood Science and Technology
Gulf Coast Seafood Laboratory
Dauphin Island, AL 36528

Duties and Responsibilities
The incumbent works as a research chemist performing laboratory and field research addressing chemical contaminants in seafood at the Gulf Coast Seafood Laboratory (GCSL), Dauphin Island, AL. GCSL is a headquarters division of the Office of Food Safety.
The incumbent will plan, develop, and conduct highly specialized research addressing biotoxins and other chemical contaminants that may impact the safety of seafood and/or harvest locations. In this capacity, the incumbent will perform studies to examine the bioaccumulation, tissue distribution, metabolism, and elimination of natural and anthropogenic chemical contaminants in fish and shellfish, with the ultimate goal of developing and validating efficient methods for their detection in seafood. Isolation and identification of metabolites will focus on those of toxicological significance. Research will identify biomarkers of exposure and toxicity in biological matrices. The incumbent will also conduct studies to identify and characterize novel toxins and their sources. Screening and confirmatory analytical methods will be designed for practical use by field laboratories in monitoring and surveillance programs, and for emergency response. Research will support FDA regulatory activities as they apply to food safety, including new or revised guidance or regulatory limits for chemical contaminants in seafood.

The incumbent must be knowledgeable and skilled in bioanalytical chemistry, biochemistry, and/or environmental chemistry and toxicology, including knowledge of basic chemical principles, theories, and practices relevant to analytical methods development/validation. The incumbent must have extensive experience in advanced separation and analytical instrumentation, including state-of-art chromatography and mass spectrometry systems, as well as proficiency in instrument-specific data acquisition and analysis software.

Scope of Work
The incumbent will perform or assist in research in the following areas relating to seafood safety:
1) Residue depletion and metabolism studies, and/or metabolomic/proteomic studies, to identify biomarkers of exposure, total residues, and toxicity of biotoxins and other chemical contaminants in seafood.
2) Development and assessment of rapid screening (including in vitro toxicity tests) and confirmatory analytical methods (e.g., LC-MS, GC-MS) for identifying and quantifying algal toxins, and other chemical contaminants/toxicants in seafood. Participate in single- and multi-laboratory validation efforts for chemical contaminants in seafood.
3) Structural elucidation and characterization of novel compounds of food safety concern in seafood.
4) Pharmacokinetic/toxicokinetic studies of chemical contaminants in fish and shellfish as they apply to seafood safety.
5) Large scale isolation of toxins from algae and/or aquatic food species for the production of reference standards and study materials.

Minimal qualifications are a Ph.D. degree in analytical chemistry, biochemistry, environmental chemistry and toxicology, or related field. Preference would be given to applicants with experience and skills in
aquatic animal research, pharmacokinetics and metabolism studies, toxicological testing systems, risk assessment, and in methods development/validation for chemical contaminants in seafood or other
biological matrices.

Salary range approximately $70-100k, commensurate with qualifications and experience.

For further information, please contact:
Steven M. Plakas, Ph.D.
Chief, Chemical Hazards Science Branch
Gulf Coast Seafood Laboratory
P.O. Box 158, 1 Iberville Drive
Dauphin Island, AL 36528
Tel: 251-406-8143
Email: Steven.Plakas@fda.hhs.gov