Opportunities at Silent Spring Institute

We are always seeking applications from exceptional individuals who want to be part of our team.

Positions

Research Assistant
Development Events and Outreach Associate
Data Scientist
Chemistry for Public Health
Molecular or Cellular Biology for Public Health
Postdoctoral Fellow: Environmental Health Scientist for Transdisciplinary Environmental and Social Science Team
Senior Scientist
Internships
Internship in Outreach and Special Events

Research Assistant

Silent Spring Institute seeks a research assistant for projects related to environmental chemical exposures and health effects.  Current research focuses on environmental links to breast cancer and asthma, exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds, high-throughput chemicals toxicity testing, drinking water contamination, and community-engaged research. 

We are a multi-disciplinary team with expertise in epidemiology, toxicology, chemistry, social science, and communications.  We lead National Institutes of Health-funded research, collaborating with investigators at Harvard, UC Berkeley, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Responsibilities:   

This position will focus on data management, analysis, and visualization for novel studies of chemical exposures and toxicity.  Our research positions require great versatility in support of the Institute’s transdisciplinary research.  Staff are also involved in public communications and proposal development.  Specific responsibilities are tailored to the particular qualifications of each individual.  Examples of activities:

  • Conduct data management and quantitative analysis for environmental exposure data in a range of environmental media, including biomonitoring and metabolomics.
  • Compile and analyze results from nationwide drinking water testing and socioeconomic data to evaluate disparities in contaminant exposure related to drinking water quality.
  • Compile and analyze toxicity information from a variety of sources.
  • Develop novel approaches to data exploration and visualization.
  • Provide support for ongoing studies - develop and follow study protocols, operate sampling equipment, develop sample tracking systems, interact with study participants.
  • Provide research support, including literature review, assistance in preparation of presentations and manuscripts, for the Institute’s ongoing research.
  • Opportunities to author peer-reviewed articles.
  • Speak about environmental health issues with community organizations. 
  • Support proposal preparation for federal and foundation grants.
  • Some travel.  Some evening and weekend responsibilities, for example, at public events.

Additional requirements:  Applicants with a bachelor’s degree will be considered.  Excellent academic record; math, statistics, biology, chemistry, and informatics coursework an asset.  R programming an asset.  Relevant work experience an asset.  High energy, creativity, curiosity, attention to accuracy, ability to work independently within a multidisciplinary team.  Commitment to careful and impartial research in a context of partnership between scientists and the public.

To apply, send cover letter describing your interests and experience related to this job, resume, writing sample, and copy of academic transcript (photocopy is fine) to Laurel Schaider, Silent Spring Institute, 320 Nevada Street, Suite 302, Newton, MA 02460 or email careers@silentspring.org with “research assistant” in subject line.

Development Events and Outreach Associate

Silent Spring Institute is seeking an energetic and organized professional to serve as our Development Events and Outreach Associate. The candidate must be highly effective at managing multiple projects simultaneously and at meeting deadlines. The person must also have a proven ability to connect with people and to inspire them to engage with an organization or cause.

Silent Spring is a scientific research institute and the nation’s leading authority on the links between chemicals in our everyday environment and our health, with a focus on breast cancer prevention. We are a small staff of 18, including 11 scientists. In addition to conducting scientific research, we work closely with advocacy groups and other organizations to educate policymakers, funders, and the public, and to translate our research into policy that emphasizes disease prevention.

The Development Events and Outreach Associate will report to the Director of Development and will assist the Director in all fundraising activities, with specific responsibilities for the following:

Manage an annual slate of fundraising and stewardship events: With the Director of Development, board members and volunteers, plan and execute a series of events throughout the year designed to introduce new friends to Silent Spring Institute, connect existing friends more deeply to our mission, and raise funds on behalf of the Institute. These include both cultivation and educational events, as well as the Institute’s annual gala. The person in this role will be responsible not only for logistical arrangements including managing guest lists, vendors, speakers, volunteers, sponsors, and print materials, but will also be expected to be a welcoming and engaging ambassador for Silent Spring at all times.

Make new connections: Seek out and forge new connections for Silent Spring Institute. Contact organizations throughout the region; invite new friends to existing events or, where appropriate, create educational opportunities for the organization; cultivate a volunteer corps to assist in mission-driven activities.

Manage our annual giving program: Working with a development writer, execute four written appeals annually; thank and steward donors with effective and timely communication. Meet individually with donors to solicit their annual gifts, with a goal of increasing membership in the Rachel Carson Society for donors of $1,000 or more.

Qualifications:

  • Outstanding writing, interpersonal, and organizational skills
  • 3-5 years of experience in fundraising or event management
  • Comfort in talking to a wide range of people, effectively soliciting their input and engaging them in our mission
  • Bachelor’s or graduate degree required
  • Experience working directly with donors, board members and volunteers
  • Database experience (we use FileMaker Pro)
  • Ability to work as part of a team and collaborate effectively with staff across departments
  • Willingness to pitch in broadly both within the development team and across departments
  • Ability to listen and learn from our research team through weekly research staff meetings

To apply: Please send your resume and a cover letter describing your experience and interest in this position to Cathy Cotton, Director Development, Silent Spring Institute, 320 Nevada Street, Suite 302, Newton MA 02460 or email careers@silentspring.org with “Development and Outreach Associate” in the subject line. No phone calls.

Data Scientist

Silent Spring Institute seeks a versatile data scientist, machine learning expert, or statistician to tackle big data problems in environmental health and breast cancer prevention. The position can be structured as a permanent position or a postdoctoral fellowship.

Work in a multi-disciplinary mission-driven team with experts in epidemiology, toxicology, chemistry, computer science, and community-based research, all focused on impartial research to identify and reduce environmental hazards to human health.

Collaborate with investigators at Harvard, Northeastern, UC Berkeley, US EPA, US CDC, and other top-tier research institutions, as well as with diverse environmental and health advocacy groups.

Projects may include

  • Analysis of high-throughput toxicity testing and gene expression experiments for insights about the mechanisms of chemical carcinogenesis
  • Mapping the “exposome” and “metabolome” by developing computational methods for new, more comprehensive analyses of chemicals in human tissues
  • Text mining to uncover trends in published research on suspected carcinogens
  • Identifying the unique exposures of workers in high-risk occupations

Other responsibilities

  • Author articles for publication in high profile peer-reviewed journals
  • Present research at conferences and public events
  • Provide occasional statistical support and training to colleagues
  • Lead study design and development
  • Contribute to grant proposals

Requirements

  • Dedication to rigorous science in the public interest
  • Machine learning and big data expertise
  • Programming and data management experience, including familiarity with R
  • Doctorate or Master’s degree in related field (or equivalent experience)

To apply, send a cover letter describing your interests and experience related to this job, resume, writing sample, and copies of academic transcripts to Janet Ackerman at careers@silentspring.org with “data scientist position” in the subject line.

Silent Spring Institute is an independent non-profit research organization dedicated to identifying—and changing—the links between the environment and women's health, especially breast cancer. Our research focuses on breast cancer and environmental pollutants, especially hormone disruptors and animal mammary gland carcinogens. We develop and apply new technologies to differentiate hazardous and safer chemicals, to measure exposures, and to identify effective exposure reduction strategies. We are funded by grants from the NIH, EPA, and other federal and state agencies, as well as private foundations and charitable contributions.

Chemistry for Public Health

Silent Spring Institute seeks a versatile, creative chemist, chemical engineer, or biochemist to develop and apply innovative methods for analysis of exposure to environmental exposures, including human biomonitoring.  The position can be structured as a permanent position or a postdoctoral fellowship.

Work in a multi-disciplinary mission-driven team with experts in epidemiology, toxicology, chemistry, computer science, and community-based research, all focused on impartial research to identify and reduce environmental hazards to human health.

Collaborate with investigators at Harvard, Northeastern, UC Berkeley, US EPA, US CDC, and other top-tier research institutions, as well as with diverse environmental and health advocacy groups.

Projects may include

  • Work with our collaborating analytical laboratories to develop and apply novel exposure assessment tools, including novel sampling technologies and human biomonitoring methods
  • Predict metabolites associated with diverse environmental exposures based on chemical structures, literature review, and other tools
  • Analyze and interpret data from our human biomonitoring studies, including from metabolomics and other semi-targeted or non-targeted methods
  • Help develop approaches to communicate findings to exposure study participants, regulators, media, and the general public

Other responsibilities

  • Author articles for publication in high profile peer-reviewed journals
  • Present research at conferences and public events
  • Lead study design and development
  • Contribute to grant proposals

Requirements

  • Dedication to rigorous science in the public interest
  • Analytical chemistry or biochemistry or chemical engineering background
  • Doctorate or Master’s degree in relevant field (or equivalent experience)

To apply, send a cover letter describing your interests and experience related to this job, resume, writing sample, and copies of academic transcripts to Janet Ackerman at careers@silentspring.org with “chemistry position” in the subject line.

Silent Spring Institute is an independent non-profit research organization dedicated to identifying—and changing—the links between the environment and women's health, especially breast cancer. Our research focuses on breast cancer and environmental pollutants, especially hormone disruptors and animal mammary gland carcinogens. We develop and apply new technologies to differentiate hazardous and safer chemicals, to measure exposures, and to identify effective exposure reduction strategies. We are funded by grants from the NIH, EPA, and other federal and state agencies, as well as private foundations and charitable contributions.

Molecular or Cellular Biology for Public Health

Silent Spring Institute seeks a versatile, creative individual with expertise in molecular biology and endocrinology to study the effects of environmental chemicals on mammary development and the etiology of breast cancer. The position can be structured as a permanent position or a postdoctoral fellowship.

Work in a multi-disciplinary mission-driven team with experts in epidemiology, toxicology, chemistry, computer science, and community-based research, all focused on impartial research to identify and reduce environmental hazards to human health.

Collaborate with investigators at Harvard, Northeastern, UC Berkeley, US EPA, US CDC, and other top-tier research institutions, as well as with diverse environmental and health advocacy groups.

Duties may include

  • Describe adverse outcome pathways leading from carcinogen or hormone exposure to altered breast development or breast cancer by integrating systematic literature review and analysis of our own experimentally-derived data
  • Develop toxicokinetic/pharmacological models to relate biomonitoring results, in vitro potency, and environmental concentrations of chemicals of interest
  • Design experiments to measure changes in gene expression or other molecular endpoints after exposure to environmental chemicals
  • Analyze and interpret results of large-scale gene expression experiments
  • Help develop approaches to communicate findings to regulators, media, and the general public

Other responsibilities

  • Author articles for publication in high profile peer-reviewed journals
  • Present research at conferences and public events
  • Provide occasional statistical support and training to colleagues
  • Lead study design and development
  • Contribute to grant proposals

Requirements

  • Dedication to rigorous science in the public interest
  • Background in molecular or cellular biology. Expertise in endocrinology, carcinogenesis, developmental biology, mammary gland, and/or toxicology preferred
  • Doctorate or Master’s degree in relevant field (or equivalent experience)
  • Experience with large-scale gene expression (RNA-seq, microarray or similar) experiments preferred

To apply, send a cover letter describing your interests and experience related to this job, resume, writing sample, and copies of academic transcripts to Janet Ackerman at careers@silentspring.org with “biologist position” in the subject line.

Silent Spring Institute is an independent non-profit research organization dedicated to identifying—and changing—the links between the environment and women's health, especially breast cancer. Our research focuses on breast cancer and environmental pollutants, especially hormone disruptors and animal mammary gland carcinogens. We develop and apply new technologies to differentiate hazardous and safer chemicals, to measure exposures, and to identify effective exposure reduction strategies. We are funded by grants from the NIH, EPA, and other federal and state agencies, as well as private foundations and charitable contributions.

Postdoctoral Fellow: Environmental Health Scientist for Transdisciplinary Environmental and Social Science Team

We are seeking a candidate with doctoral training in an environmental health-related discipline such as exposure assessment, molecular or computational toxicology and biology, environmental chemistry, statistics, bioinformatics, or epidemiology. In addition, this fellowship is part of a unique environmental science-social science collaboration, and the candidate should have an interest in working in a public health context and receiving training in community-based participatory research and the social context of environmental science. This two-year appointment will be part of the new NIEHS Training Program, “Transdisciplinary Training at the Intersection of Environmental Health Science and Social Science” (EH+SS), co-directed by Silent Spring Institute and Northeastern University’s Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute. This Training Program will prepare environmental health scientists to be future leaders in social science-environmental health science collaborations and community-based research.

The postdoctoral fellow will spend 2/3 of her/his time at Silent Spring Institute and 1/3 at Northeastern. The fellow will collaborate with Silent Spring Institute scientists to contribute to ongoing research in environmental health and engage with social scientists at Northeastern working at the intersection of social science and environmental health. 

The postdoc will collaborate on one or more of several active grants, depending on training and experience. Examples of work include literature review, field work, data analysis, and manuscript development for projects such as these:

  • Our team is leading efforts to develop Adverse Outcome Pathway models for breast cancer. This research is part of an international effort using bioinformatics, computational biology and toxicology approaches to identify biological pathways in cancer etiology.  Data sources include EPA’s ToxCast, NIH’s Tox21, and our own RNA-Seq and high content screening experiments. Results will contribute to chemical safety tests and identify early effect markers for epidemiology.
  • In studies of women firefighters, office workers, and truckers, we are developing novel approaches to biomonitoring and exposure assessment, including collaborations with laboratories conducting metabolomics and non-targeted chemical analysis.
  • We are using exposure studies and intervention studies to develop a knowledge-base for reducing exposures to endocrine disruptors from building renovations, consumer products, institutional purchasing, and fire safety rules. Study settings range from public housing in Boston and New Orleans to college dorms and classrooms. Fellows might develop and follow study protocols, operate sampling equipment, develop sample tracking systems, interact with study participants, and analyze data.
  • We are developing a new technology for home exposure assessment using passive air sampling and seek to develop and field test a variety of new tools for exposure tracking and citizen science.
  • To develop ethical practices for the big data era, we are analyzing privacy risks associated with online data sharing of environmental health data.
  • What should researchers tell study participants about their own results biomonitoring and personal exposure studies when the links between exposure and health are uncertain? The Silent Spring – Northeastern team has pioneered the development and evaluation of methods for reporting personal chemical exposures. Our ongoing efforts include 1) report-back in a study of preterm birth in the PROTECT Superfund center in Puerto Rico, 2) a study of women’s workplace exposures among office workers and firefighters, and 3) a study of puberty in girls in Chile.
  • Our research team collaborates with environmental and health advocacy groups to integrate the best science into environmental public health strategies. For example, we catalyzed a recent change in the California foam flammability standard and are working to extend that policy nationwide, already with success in Massachusetts.

Our positions require great versatility and transdisciplinary thinking. Researchers work in teams and are also involved in public communications and proposal development.  This training program will integrate environmental health and social science and prepare trainees for careers at the intersections of environmental health science, social science, and science studies.

Trainees will be equipped to improve environmental health, particularly among underserved populations, by being introduced to: 1) coursework, 2) a dedicated seminar series, and 3) community-based organizations that use participatory research and novel tools for exposure. The fellow will have ample opportunity to be part of publications.

Silent Spring Institute, with a staff of about 20, celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2014 as the nation’s leading scientific research organization focused on achieving breast cancer prevention through environmental research and outreach programs. Our research focuses on breast cancer and environmental pollutants, especially hormone disruptors and animal mammary gland carcinogens. We develop and apply new technologies to identify safer chemicals and measure exposures. This is an opportunity to be part of a nationally recognized, innovative, mission-driven team.  Our publications list is here.

The Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute, at Northeastern since 2012, continues the legacy of the Contested Illnesses Research Group at Brown University, which began in 2000, trains graduate students and postdocs in community-based participatory research aimed at transforming and improving environmental health.  By linking environmental health science, sociology, science and technology studies, and work with CBOs, SSEHRI develops novel approaches to studying environmental health questions. It currently has 5 faculty members, 1 postdoc, 12 doctoral students, 2 MA students, and 1 MPH student. Both Silent Spring Institute and Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute have extensive collaborations with many breast cancer, environmental health, and environmental justice organizations.

Applicants should demonstrate an excellent academic record; math, statistics, biology, toxicology, chemistry, computer science, and informatics coursework an asset. R programming an asset. Relevant work experience preferred. High energy, creativity, curiosity, attention to accuracy, ability to work independently within a multidisciplinary team.

This position offers a competitive salary and benefits package.

To apply, please do ALL of the following:

  1. Send an application packet containing a cover letter, a curriculum vitae, writing samples (published or unpublished), and graduate and undergraduate transcripts to Professor Phil Brown by email at p.brown@neu.edu AND to careers@silentspring.org (put “T32 postdoc” in subject line).
  2. Send three letters of reference, including one from the dissertation advisor, to Professor Phil Brown by email at p.brown@neu.edu.
  3. ALSO go to https://neu.peopleadmin.com/postings/36352 and complete the application there. Candidates should be prepared to attach a letter of application, a curriculum vitae, and writing samples (published or unpublished).

We are currently seeking applicants for two positions, one to start no later than June 1, 2016, and one to start September 1, 2016. Review of applications will begin immediately, and the search will remain open until the positions are closed or filled.  Questions? Write to Phil Brown at p.brown@neu.edu.

Senior Scientist

Senior scientist applicants should expect to develop and lead an independent research program within our mission. Our scientists publish in high-impact scientific journals, compete for federal grants, and participate in scientific conferences. We collaborate with researchers at Brown, Harvard, and Tufts, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, University of Southern California, USGS, and CDC. Senior scientists are supported by outstanding research assistants and access to funds for pilot studies and proposal development. Click here for publications by Silent Spring Institute researchers.

Internships

We seek applicants with skills and interests in environmental health science and policy and non-profit management. Responsibilities will be tailored to the skills and interests of the applicant. Each intern will work directly as an assistant to a supervising staff member, and interns are encouraged to develop an independent project to be completed during the internship as well. Responsibilities may include literature searches, interviewing, environmental sampling, data management, and writing, among other possibilities. Undergraduate and masters level interns are expected to spend approximately 20% of their time on office support tasks (telephones, etc.). Interns are expected to maintain regular work hours, with some flexibility to accommodate major assignments and exams. Examples of previous and projected intern activities:

  • Identify from chemical engineering references the consumer products that are likely sources of exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds
  • Using GIS, map likely air pollutant exposures on Cape Cod
  • Assist in developing web site capabilities and content
  • Help maintain and expand the Institute’s 6,000-item special library
  • Using interviews and published literature, identify the best models of community based participatory research
  • Interview breast cancer activists about environmental attitudes

We are actively seeking to fill the Farla H. Krentzman Internship in Environmental Health, a summer-long internship designed for an undergraduate or graduate student with a strong science background and interest in public health. The candidate will have the opportunity to assist with variety of projects ranging from reviewing epidemiological literature to upgrading our digital app. The candidate will benefit not only from working closely with Silent Spring's research team, but will also come away with an understanding of how non-profits operate.

Requirements: Excellent academic record. Chemistry, biology, statistics coursework an asset for research interns. Energetic, flexible, constructive outlook. Excellent attention to accuracy, ability to work independently within a multidisciplinary team. Commitment to careful and impartial research in a context of partnership between scientists and the public. To apply, send cover letter describing your interests and experience related to this internship, resume, writing sample, and copy of academic transcript (photocopy is fine) to Diane Czwakiel, Administrative Manager, Silent Spring Institute, 320 Nevada Street, Suite 302, Newton, MA 02460, or email to careers@silentspring.org with 'Internships' in the subject line. Please designate the time period you are interested in.

Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition/Silent Spring Institute Lead Intern in Special Events and Outreach

The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) is different from other breast cancer organizations. We believe that to eradicate breast cancer we must prevent it. MBCC is dedicated to preventing environmental causes of breast cancer through community education, research advocacy, and changes to public policy. Our annual fundraising events and allow us to continue to work towards this goal. Our interns will assist with building and promoting special events and projects for the organization and occasionally for MBCC’s sister organization, Silent Spring Institute (SSI). This internship involves frequent communication with Cheryl Osimo, MBCC Executive Director and SSI Event and Outreach Coordinator.                                           

The flexibility of the position is substantial. Tasks will primarily be completed from school or home (not the MBCC office), as phone and internet will be the primary communication tools for assignments. Interns must commit to a set weekly schedule of at least 15 hours per week but hours can be arranged according to the intern’s schedule. Travel is minimal except for possible on-site assistance required the day before and the day of major 2016/2017 events: Against the Tide in Hopkinton in June, Against the Tide in Brewster in August, and the Gay and Lesbian Dance in January.  This is an unpaid internship with no reimbursement for travel expenses or cell phone costs.

Responsibilities may include: 

  • Media & Communication:
    • Proofing and distributing press releases and calendar listings to news media outlets including print and online newspaper, radio, and television. This includes maintaining communication with media contacts to follow up and provide additional information.
    • Interviewing event participants/supporters and composing feature stories and other articles for media. This may require phone and/or email contact of a sensitive nature, since some contact will be required with those who have been touched by breast cancer. Phone interviews are critical for obtaining information used in press releases and media coverage.
  • Marketing & Outreach:
    • Initiating contact with local community businesses and individuals to encourage community sponsorship and individual or team event participation.
    • Posting event materials in various locations. This responsibility includes targeting high traffic locations that will increase event participation.
    • Assisting with social media event promotion campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and more.
  • Administrative:
    • Database building, management, and maintenance to ensure accurate and thorough records of progress in communications and marketing responsibilities

Qualifications: College Junior or Senior. Graduate students will also be considered. Minimum GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale.

  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills.
  • Detail-oriented, organized, the ability to work independently and manage multiple tasks simultaneously with competing deadlines.
  • Proficiency with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube and other social media outlets. Prior experience with social media campaigns is preferred.
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Office Excel, Photoshop and Wordpress is preferred but not mandatory.

Compensation: All positions are unpaid but we are willing to work with institutions to offer students academic credit.

How to apply: Now accepting applicants for all internships. Interns are needed for the following time periods.

  • Summer 2016: May 2016 to September 2016
  • Fall 2016: September 2016 to December 2016
  • Winter 2016: December 2016 to September 2017
  • Year-Long*: September 2016 to September 2015

*limited space available, please inquire as to the availability of this prestigious internship.

Start dates and durations are negotiable.  Please send a cover letter, resume with GPA details, references, and a writing sample to Cheryl Osimo at: cherylosimo@comcast.net. Contact 508-246-3047 for any questions.

To learn more about Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition visit www.mbcc.org.