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Research Project Description

Field Screening Method Development Fellowship
Winchester Engineering Analytical Center
Office of Regulatory Affairs
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Winchester, MA


Project Description:

A fellowship opportunity is currently available at the Winchester Engineering Analytical Center (WEAC) in the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA) of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Currently, FDA’s analytical repertoire is concentrated in laboratories, whereby investigators collect and send samples for analysis. Synergistically merging advances in risk-based triage and field screening would enable FDA to proactively monitor the U.S. food and drug supply. Traditionally, Raman spectroscopy was overlooked compared to other spectroscopic methods (e.g., MS, NMR and/or IR) due to lack of sensitivity. However, advances in plasmonics and lithography have yielded uniform, low-cost gold nanoparticle sensors allowing rapid, sensitive analyte detection using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS).

Under the guidance of a mentor, the selected participant will join WEAC efforts in developing methods to enable non-experts to quickly and efficiently assay food, excipients and drugs for contaminants in the field. Elegant and detailed analyses may be accomplished in dedicated laboratories, however, for field screening, speed and sample throughput are paramount. WEAC’s initial method development will focus on milk, milk products, lactose and bulk protein products in order to detect the presence of compounds potentially used in economic adulteration.

Through this opportunity, the participant will learn about analytical method development and validation, gain expertise using analytical chemistry equipment, and learn how to communicate scientific operations to a nonscientist audience. 

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 education level and experience. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. The appointment is full-time at WEAC in the Winchester, Massachusetts, area. Participants do not become employees of FDA or the program administrator, and there are no fringe benefits paid.


  • A Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctoral degree in chemistry or engineering received within the last five years.

How to Apply:

To be considered, please send a current CV/resume to the attention of Please reference FDA-ORA-2014-0058 in all communications.