Oak Ridge Associated Universities
Research on Food Safety and Shellfish
Enteric Viral Pathogens and Indicator Microorganisms in Shellfish and Water
Project # FDA CFSAN 2007-06
A postdoctoral research project is available in the Research Participation Program at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The appointee will be assigned to the Division of Seafood Science and Technology, Microbial Hazards Science Branch, Gulf Coast Seafood Laboratory in Dauphin Island, Alabama.
Description of Research Project:
Noroviruses are the primary cause of non-bacterial gastroenteritis in shellfish consumers. Shellfish can be vectors of these viruses if their harvest waters are impacted by municipal wastewater or certain non-point wastewater streams. The impact of viruses in these waste streams on estuarine waters and the seafood harvested from these is difficult to assess since traditional indicator microorganisms are unreliable for indexing the possible presence of pathogenic enteric viruses. To insure a safe product for consumers, it is imperative that alternative microorganisms be evaluated to assess their utility to index the presence and level of contamination. Until recently efforts to identify an index organism for virus contamination has been hampered because of poor viral extraction efficiency and detection sensitivity and the lack of suitable quantitative assays.
This project will evaluate the suitability of conventional and alternative indicator microorganisms to assess their applicability to index the presence of pathogenic enteric viruses in shellfish impacted by varying levels of fecal contamination, in estuarine water and wastewater using newly developed molecular techniques. This research will focus on analysis samples collected from the environment and where appropriate laboratory conditions reflective of environmental conditions.
A doctoral degree received within the past five years is required as is US citizenship or lawful permanent resident status. The project requires experience in the areas of virology and molecular biology, using diverse and complex microbiological assays such as quantitative RT-PCR, Southern analysis, molecular cloning, DNA sequence analysis, and virus extraction/concentration from food and water. In addition the appointee must interpret and evaluate the results of analysis to determine validity and scientific significance. Manuscripts which include, diagrams, charts, graphs, etc. related to research activities and outcomes, will be expected to be written with minimal editing.
The appointment is for up to one year and may be renewed for another year upon recommendation of CFSAN and subject to availability of funds. The participant will receive an annual stipend of up to $79,000 depending on background and experience. Limited inbound travel/moving expenses will be reimbursed. Funds are also available for travel to scientific meetings. The participant must show proof of health and medical insurance. The appointment is full time at CFSAN in Dauphin Island, Alabama. Participants do not become employees of CFSAN, FDA, or the program administrator and there are no fringe benefits paid.
The Research Participation Program at CFSAN is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE). To be considered for this project, send a current résumé via e-mail to Melissa.Goodman@orau.org or via fax to (865) 241-5219. Please reference Project # 2007-06 on all correspondence and on the subject line of your e-mail. For additional information, contact Ms. Goodman at (865) 241-1294.
Oak Ridge Associated Universities
P.O. Box 117, MS-36
Oak Ridge, TN 37831
Phone: (865) 576-1089
Fax: (865) 241-5219
Employer's Web Site: http://www.orau.org