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Research Opportunity for Recent Graduate – SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies

Posted by on Wednesday, December 14, 2022 in Announcements .

A research opportunity is available in the Office of Tissues and Advanced Therapies (OTAT), Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Silver Spring, Maryland. The selected Applicant will join a research program that studies antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination using both conventional and biosensor techniques. The laboratory has developed several sensitive methods that do not require use of live viruses, to measure neutralizing antibody activity against SARS-CoV-2 in plasma/serum of vaccinated, acutely ill, or convalescent individuals.

The goals of the study are:  

1) To validate rapid and inexpensive options to enable speedy screening and selection of high-titer donor plasma for manufacture of more potent SARS-CoV-2 Immune Globulin therapies.  This effort could decrease manufacturing time and would increase product potency and availability. 

2) To study neutralization cross-reactivity of existing antibodies in Immune Globulins (purified from plasma of thousands of donors), against new SARS-CoV-2 variants.   This would aid in estimating the likelihood of preexisting immunological protection by SARS-CoV Immune Globulins as new variants emerge. Similar studies could be performed using individual plasma units from donors with known history of infection and/or vaccination. 

 The candidate will address research under the mentorship of experienced PhD biologists.   

 Guided by the lead investigator, the selected candidate will be involved in, but not limited to, the following activities: 

 Attaining advanced and current knowledge of antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 and how these may influence responses to infection or vaccination;  

 Learning theory and techniques of Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) and other methods for binding or binding inhibition detection and characterization; analytical methods for determining binding characteristics, and protein interaction kinetics; and making creative modifications to methodology;  

 Using methods for measuring antibody-mediated viral neutralization of SARS-CoV-2, such as pseudotype virus assays, SPR, and other methods (the Participant will not work directly with live SARS-CoV-2 virus); 

 Optimizing SPR-based methods, including experimental conditions, sample treatment, reagent requirements, and expanding evaluation to include antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern;  

 Strategies for development of reference standards, how international standards are developed, and how to test candidate reference SARS-CoV-2 antibody reagents. 

 Anticipated Appointment Start Date: As soon as possible.  Exact starting date is flexible. 

 This fellowship program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and FDA. The initial appointment is for one year but may be renewed annually on recommendation of FDA and contingent on the availability of funds. The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience.

Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program.

The appointment is full-time at FDA in the Silver Spring, Maryland, area. Participants do not become employees of FDA, DOE or the program 

administrator.  A health insurance program is available and can be funded within the ORISE system.  

 Security Requirements  

  1. Completion of a successful background investigation by the Office of Personnel Management is required for an applicant to be on-boarded at FDA.  
  2.  The Office of Personnel Management will complete a background investigation only for individuals, including non-US Citizens who have resided in the US for a total of three of the past five years. 

If you are interested in applying, please contact us by email and send your CV to: and