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EPA Biopesticides Ecotoxicology Fellowship

EPA Office/Lab and Location: Two research training opportunities are available at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Research and Development (ORD), Center for Public Health and Environmental Assessment (CPHEA), Pacific Ecological Systems Division (PESD) in Corvallis, Oregon.

Research Project: Biopesticides are regulated by EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and other Acts. Currently, biopesticides are being engineered through genome editing, synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, and other molecular methods for open release into the environment with various intended uses. When these biopesticides have unique properties and uncertain potential for risks to human health and the environment, they pose regulatory challenges for the Agency. The Office of Research & Development (ORD) is leading research to improve the certainty and timeliness of biotechnology risk assessments made by OPP. 

The research project will provide opportunities to collaborate with a team of ORD scientists within the Chemical Safety for Sustainability, National Research Program and external partners on research to inform risk assessments of variously formulated double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) biopesticides. The research participants will have the opportunity to gain experience designing policy-driven research and interacting with shareholders/research partners across sectors. There will be opportunities to develop skills in designing and execution of innovative experiments on the impacts of formulants on exogenously applied dsRNA biopesticides.

Learning Objectives: Under the guidance of a mentor, research activities may include:

  • Developing methods for standardized dsRNA formulation exposures
  • Design and execution of experiments on how formulations change the persistence, uptake, and toxicity of exogenously applied dsRNA biopesticides intended for RNA interference (RNAi) in target pests
  • Design and execution of experiments on how formulations change the persistence, uptake, and toxicity of exogenously applied dsRNA biopesticides through RNAi in nontarget animals and plants
  • Conducting scientific synthesis, data analysis, literature searches and manuscript preparation
  • Publishing and presenting their research to the broader scientific community

Mentor(s): The mentor for this project is Jay Reichman ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: Winter/Spring 2024.  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 upon EPA recommendation and subject to availability of funding.

Level of Participation: The appointment is part-time, 20 hours per week.

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.

ORISE offers all ORISE EPA graduate students and Postdocs a free 5 year membership to the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA).

The successful applicant(s) will be required to comply with Environmental, Safety and Health (ES&H) requirements of the hosting facility, including but not limited to, COVID-19 requirements (e.g. facial covering, physical distancing, testing, vaccination).

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.