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USDA-ARS Metabolite Analysis in the Dairy Agroecosystem Internship

*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis and this opportunity will remain open until filled.

ARS Office/Lab and LocationA research opportunity is available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS) located in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency with a mission to find solutions to agricultural problems that affect Americans every day from field to table. ARS will deliver cutting-edge, scientific tools and innovative solutions for American farmers, producers, industry, and communities to support the nourishment and well-being of all people; sustain our nation’s agroecosystems and natural resources; and ensure the economic competitiveness and excellence of our agriculture. The vision of the agency is to provide global leadership in agricultural discoveries through scientific excellence.

Research Project: Our research unit is focused on improving the nutritional value of forages and efficiency of dairy cows for enhanced production leading to more environmentally and economically sustainable dairy forage production systems. This project will support the overarching goal to understand how alterations in agricultural systems (for example, altering dairy cattle diets or altering forage plant growth and development) impact those systems. This will be accomplished by developing and employing analytical methods to measure metabolite levels in both animals and plants.

Learning ObjectivesThe project will provide the selected candidate with experience and training in biochemistry, analytic chemistry, method development, and data analysis.

The candidate will gain hands-on experience using sophisticated analytical approaches such as spectrophotometry, LC, GC, and mass spectrometry. Side projects involving enzymology, molecular biology, and bioinformatics are also available for the participant to round out her or his knowledge and skill set. The US Dairy Forage Research Center is a unique multidisciplinary research center examining the intersection of crops, cows, and environment, and so will provide the participant not only with experience in biochemistry, but also a broad perspective on the dairy agroecosystem and whole farm agricultural.

Mentor(s)The mentor for this opportunity is Michael Sullivan ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s).

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: May 2022.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for one year, but may be renewed an additional year upon recommendation of ARS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience.

Citizenship RequirementsThis opportunity is available to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), and foreign nationals. Non-U.S. citizen applicants should refer to the Guidelines for Non-U.S. Citizens Details page of the program website for information about the valid immigration statuses that are acceptable for program participation.

ORISE InformationThis 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 ARS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, ARS, 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 visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.