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EPA Toxicity Assessment of Wildland Fire Air Pollution Internship

*Applications may be reviewed on a rolling-basis and this posting could close before the deadline. Click here for information about the selection process.
EPA Office/Lab and Location: A research opportunity is available at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Research and Development (ORD), Center for Public Health Environmental Assessment (CPHEA), Public Health and Integrated Toxicology Division (PHITD) located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. PHITD research focuses on the characterization and biological mechanisms of adverse health effects of environmental pollutants.
Research Project: This research project addresses the growing need to assess the relative toxicity of regional wildland fire-related particulate matter air pollution. The aims of the project are to: 1) assess the ecotoxicology, cardiotoxicity, and irritant potential of wildland fire PMs from various regional burns in zebrafish, 2) assess the respiratory toxicity of the same wildland fire PMs in human respiratory epithelial cells, and 3) elucidate key PM chemical characteristics and biological mechanisms that drive adverse responses.
Learning Objectives:
  • think critically regarding environmental air pollution and health concerns and design and conduct hypothesis-driven research that addresses these issues
  • use state-of-the-art equipment to perform toxicity assessments in zebrafish, including use of video imaging techniques to measure locomotor responses, heart rate, and malformations
  • use in vitro assays to assess responses in human respiratory epithelial cells
  • use mechanistic studies to examine specific modes of action
  • learn to prepare and submit manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals
  • learn to give platform presentations and if possible, present at local/national scientific meetings
Mentor(s): The mentor for this opportunity is Aimen Farraj ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s).
Anticipated Appointment Start Date: September 2020. All start dates are flexible and vary depending on numerous factors. Click here for detailed information about start dates.
Appointment Length: The appointment will initially be for one year and may be renewed up to three additional years upon EPA recommendation and subject to availability of funding.
Level of Participation: The appointment is full-time.
Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. Click here for detailed information about full-time stipends.
EPA Security Clearance: Completion of a successful background investigation by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is required for an applicant to be on-boarded at EPA.
ORISE Information: This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and EPA. Participants do not become employees of EPA, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.
Questions: Please see the FAQ section of our website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity (EPA-ORD-CPHEA-PHITD-2020-03).