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USDA-ARS Postdoctoral Fellowship on Alternatives to Antibiotics in Swine

ARS Office/Lab and LocationA postdoctoral research opportunity is currently available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Animal Biosciences and Biotechnology Laboratory (ABBL) located in Beltsville, Maryland.

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 ARS National Program 101 performs applied and basic research to characterize alternatives to antibiotics that will promote pig growth performance and disease resistance. The participant will collaborate with a multi-disciplinary team (physiology, microbiology, immunology, and bioinformatics) to identify alternatives to antibiotics in pigs. The participant's specific project will involve assessing the effect of potential interventions on porcine immune responses and their role in swine health. The project will focus predominantly on the innate immune response in the gastrointestinal tract with in vivo and in vitro techniques. 

Learning Objectives: 

  • Gain a better overall understanding of porcine research and alternatives to antibiotics through participation in laboratory and departmental meetings where lab members share data and through journal club where agricultural manuscripts are shared and reviewed. 
  • Hone their communication skills through participation in research conferences where they will present oral and poster presentations.
  • Participate in relevant workshops to learn new skills to investigate host-microbe interactions at the luminal interface.
  • Hands on experience in the porcine in vivo and in vitro lab techniques, including but not limited to animal sampling and feeding trials.
  • Utilize tissue culture, ELISAs, RT-PCR, flow cytometry, and/or RNA-seq to assess innate immune responses in the gastrointestinal tract.

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

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: 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 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 and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR).

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 doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields, or be currently pursuing the degree with completion estimated by the end of December 2022.

Preferred skills (not required):

  • Cell culture skills
  • Microbiological culturing
  • Cell isolation techniques
  • qPCR or similar