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USDA-ARS Postgraduate Research Associate Fellowship

*Applications may be reviewed on a rolling-basis.
ARS Office/Lab and LocationA postgraduate research opportunity is available with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Eastern Regional Research Center (ERRC) located in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania.
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:  The postgraduate candidate will conduct research on non-targeted identification and targeted quantitative analysis of chemical contaminants, including PFAS, in foods and food contact materials using orbital ion trap (Orbitrap) high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) coupled with liquid chromatography.  
Learning ObjectivesThe participant will learn to conduct research in the food safety arena, gain new knowledge on developing novel advanced analytical techniques for food safety monitoring; and evaluate the analytical performance aspects of different types of advanced instrumentation. This research will give the postdoctoral scientist exceptional hands-on knowledge and skills involving the use of advanced analytical tools that will be invaluable to their future career development. 
Mentor(s)The mentor for this opportunity is Yelena Sapozhnikova ( If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor(s).
Anticipated Appointment Start Date: April 1, 2023.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.
Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for six months but may be renewed 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.


The qualified candidate should have received a master's or doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields or be currently pursuing one of the degrees with completion before the appointment start date. Degree must have been received within the past three years.
Preferred Skills:
  • Advanced knowledge of liquid chromatography and high-resolution mass spectrometry
  • Experience with operation and working knowledge of Orbitrap mass spectrometer (MS) instruments and software
  • Knowledge and experience in non-targeted screening and identification of organic chemicals by Orbitrap MS
  • Experience and skills in sample preparation
  • Working knowledge of statistical analysis, data handling and data analysis
  • Publications in peer-reviewed journals are considered evidence of the preferred skills mentioned above.