This research opportunity is with the Operational Support Branch's Medical Entomology Laboratory, Epidemiology Consult Service at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM). USAFSAM is part of the 711th Human Performance Wing of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH. The participant will support a one year, proof-of-principle project to explore the utility of environmental fecal sampling to update and refine local area public health risk assessments at Air Force (AF) installations. Data derived from animal feces deposited in the environment will inform health threat/hazard priorities for AF Public Health and Pest Management personnel.
Under the guidance of a mentor, the participant will:
develop standard operating procedures (SOPs) for collecting and processing fecal samples collect fecal samples at one to three AF installations perform DNA and RNA extractions of fecal samples submit the nucleic acid extracts for genetic sequencing (WGA, NGS) analyze the sequence data to determine the host animal and identify biota present in feces (may include plants, insects, mammals, birds, reptiles, fungi, bacteria, parasites and viruses) Findings will be reviewed with the mentor for public health importance in supporting local area risk assessments, and the participant may present the results to stakeholders. Under the guidance of a mentor, the participant will also develop and document a streamlined approach to these analyses. DNASTAR Lasergene is available for sequence analysis, though participants with Python, Perl and/or R experience are able to use those approaches as well. The participant will be encouraged to submit novel findings for presentation or publication.
This opportunity has fieldwork, laboratory, and sequence analysis components. Local and out-of-state travel for fecal collections is anticipated, though all travel is dependent on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Defense. Funding for conference attendance and training is also available, though this is dependent on the availability of opportunities with respect to COVID-19 restrictions. A dislocation allowance is included for the opportunity.
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 USAFSAM. 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.