The Environmental Laboratory (EL) is one of the seven laboratories of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (USACE-ERDC), which is the Army Corps of Engineers' integrated research and development (R&D) organization. EL provides solutions to environmental challenges for the U.S. Army, the Department of Defense and the Nation through environmental science and engineering research and development. Researchers in EL conduct research in ecosystem science and technology, environmental resiliency, environmental sensing, ecological modeling and forecasting, risk and decision science, environmentally sustainable material, systems biology, climate change, computational chemistry, environmental chemistry and environmental security. For more information about the US Army Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) Environmental Laboratory (EL), please visit https://www.erdc.usace.army.mil/.
The incredible diversity in per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) structures and their environmental transformation products (>4500 chemical structures) makes individual testing of a chemical’s biological effect a great challenge. To meet this need, the Department of Defense (DOD) has funded a multi-year effort to model how these chemicals interact with the molecular biology of tissues, and how these cell and tissue effects propagate across biological levels of organization to manifest with whole-organism level effects. As part of this effort, we will be developing a class of physiologically-based toxicokinetic (PBTK) models designed to take into account the unique ways PFAS chemicals interact with living tissue. Traditional PBTK models assume tissues and organs to act as well-mixed chemical reactors, which works when the time required to cross membrane barriers is much shorter than the time exposed to the chemical. Due to their amphiphilic nature, this assumption cannot be applied in modeling PFAS distribution. The participant will come to understand the mathematical framework underpinning the simulation of the adsorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of chemicals throughout the body, optimization techniques to fit model parameters given experimental data, and statistical approaches to highlight key experimentally-derivable parameters that govern PFAS bioaccumulation. The participant will have an opportunity to help guide experimental design to best inform model development, and will leverage DoD supercomputing resources to make substantial contributions to the science of predictive toxicology and computational biology. He or she will have an opportunity to communicate the results of their research to high level sponsors from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (OUSD) through white papers, peer-reviewed journal articles, and oral presentations.
This appointment is a twelve month research appointment, with the possibility to be renewed for additional research periods. Appointments may be extended depending on funding availability, project assignment, program rules, and availability of the participant.
Participants will receive a stipend to be determined by USACE. Stipends are typically based on the participant’s academic standing, discipline, experience, and research facility location. Other benefits may include the following:
- Health Insurance Supplement. Participants are eligible to purchase health insurance through ORISE.
- Relocation Allowance
- Training and Travel Allowance
Nature of Appointment
The participant will not enter into an employee/employer relationship with ORISE, ORAU, DOD, or any other office or agency. Instead, the participant will be affiliated with ORISE for the administration of the appointment through the ORISE appointment letter and Terms of Appointment.