Opportunities at Silent Spring Institute

Organization Overview

“Silent Spring Institute is the leader in producing high-quality scientific evidence on cancer-causing agents in the environment.” 

– Dr. Margaret Kripke, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, member President’s Cancer Panel, 2003-2011

Silent Spring Institute is a scientific research institute and one of the nation’s leading authorities on cancer-causing chemicals in our everyday environments. Our goal is breast cancer prevention. We are a collaborative, high-energy staff of 20, including 13 scientists. In addition to conducting scientific research, we work with advocacy groups and others to educate policymakers, funders, and the public, and to translate research into policy that emphasizes prevention. Silent Spring was founded in 1994.

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


Research Assistant
Software Engineer
Director of Development
Bioinformatics and Data Science for Public Health
NIH T32 Postdoctoral Fellow: Endocrinology, Cancer Biology, Computational Toxicology
Senior Scientist
Internship in Outreach and Special Events


Research Assistant

We seek 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 chemical toxicity testing, drinking water contamination, and community-engaged research. 

We are a collaborative 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. 


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 crowdsourced biomonitoring study and metabolomics.
  • Develop a mass spectra chemical database for non-targeted biomonitoring of potential breast carcinogens.
  • Compile and analyze results from nationwide drinking water data to evaluate environmental justice 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 and develop web applications to communicate findings.
  • Conduct geospatial analysis to identify proximity between pollution sources and drinking water supplies.
  • Perform quantitative and qualitative analyses of the effectiveness of environmental policies (e.g., Proposition 65) in reducing population-level health exposures and industrial releases of endocrine disrupting compounds.
  • 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.
  • 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. Computer science and programming experience (Python, Ruby) a plus (note we are also hiring a software engineer).  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. For more information, visit our web site at www.silentspring.org. 

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.


Software Engineer

Help Silent Spring Institute communicate high-impact science to everyone through interactive web applications.

We’re looking for a web application engineer to lead our efforts to design digital tools to communicate research about harmful chemicals in everyday environments.

We measure chemical levels in people’s environments and in their bodies—even a New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof was tested in one of our studies: http://nyti.ms/2CdcyQ4! We built a web application to help us return individual results in an understandable way to the people who were tested. We need your help turning it into a scalable tool that can be used by more studies to reach tens of thousands of participants. Here’s a description of some of our work so far: https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/EHP702/.

Silent Spring is relentlessly asking tough questions about the chemicals in our homes and in the products we buy. You’ll be there with us, helping us communicate our findings to create conscious consumers and healthier communities.  

You will have opportunities to develop new software tools or lead data science projects, for example, analyzing environmental health data, developing new R packages, or creating novel visualizations of our unique datasets. You will help develop new smartphone tools, like Detox Me (https://silentspring.org/detoxme/) to collect data on the products people are using and track interventions to their reduce exposures.

Your skills

  • web app development: You can implement a design using web technologies (CSS, HTML, and Javascript), ideally both desktop and mobile.
  • data visualization: You can make intelligible custom graphs and charts, using tools like d3.
  • client and server: You can use Ruby on Rails for web applications. Knowledge of other technology options (Rails, Django, node.js, PHP, etc., Bootstrap, etc.) and the ability to make informed decisions about their use is a plus.
  • data management and statistical analyses: You’re familiar with R or a similar tool, or are willing to learn.
  • experience with interaction design
  • good software engineering habits: source control, testing, reusability, documentation, etc.

You’ll work with diverse technical and non-technical colleagues. As the primary software person on our team, you’ll need to demonstrate considerable autonomy and versatility.

More about us
Our 20-person multi-disciplinary team includes experts in toxicology, exposure science, epidemiology, and community-based research.  We collaborate with the Intelligent Interactive Systems Group at Harvard as well as scientists at UC Berkeley, UCLA, Northeastern, US Centers for Disease Control, and elsewhere.  We publish in peer-reviewed journals and our research is covered by major media outlets (http://wapo.st/2qndEUp, http://wbur.fm/2lY3KnI).  We are celebrating our 25th anniversary next year!

Compensation:  This is a full time position.  We offer competitive salaries, 4 weeks vacation plus holidays, health insurance, and other benefits.

To apply: Send a cover letter and resume to careers@silentspring.org with “software engineer” in the subject line. If you don’t have significant work experience yet, please include a copy of your academic transcript (photocopy is fine).


Director of Development

Position Overview

The Director of Development will be responsible for the design and implementation of Silent Spring’s development strategy. As a key member of the senior staff, the Director of Development will lead fundraising initiatives aimed at generating two thirds of the organization’s $2-million annual operating budget and growing our reach, with a focus on major donors. (Remaining funds come from competitive federal grants.)

The Director will play an integral role engaging board members and staff in fundraising efforts as well as coordinating with the Communications Director on the Institute’s efforts to gain awareness, engagement, and support from consumers concerned about the health risks of everyday chemical exposures. This position reports to the Executive Director and supervises the Annual Fund & Events Manager.

Position Responsibilities

The main responsibilities of the Director of Development are to:

  • Develop short- and long-range plans including goal setting, strategy identification, benchmarking, and evaluation.
  • Research funding sources and trends, and help position the organization ahead of major funding changes.
  • Establish performance measures, monitor results, and evaluate the effectiveness of the organization’s development program.
  • Identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward a portfolio of major donors.
  • Develop strategies to build long-term relationships with supporters and deepen their commitment to the organization.
  • Manage the conceptualization and execution of special events.
  • Coordinate the preparation of grant proposals, reports, and donor appeals.
  • Oversee and support all development operations including database management and gift processing.
  • Develop and manage the program budget for development.
  • Assist the staff and board with identification, cultivation, and solicitation of gifts.
  • Coordinate Silent Spring’s Leadership Council.
  • Advance Silent Spring’s Innovation Fund to generate multi-year support for major priorities.
  • Monitor and report on the progress of the development program at board meetings, senior leadership team meetings, etc.


  • At least five years development experience in a leadership role, including work with donors, senior staff, board members, and volunteers.
  • Demonstrated interest in and commitment to Silent Spring’s mission.
  • Outstanding written and interpersonal skills.
  • Comfort in talking to a wide range of people, soliciting their input, and engaging them in our mission.
  • Ability to work as part of a team and collaborate effectively across departments.
  • Ability to learn from our research team through weekly research staff meetings.
  • Strategic, creative, ambitious, passionate, self-motivated, and open to learning.
  • Highly organized with strong attention to detail.
  • Ability to balance competing demands and adhere to timelines.
  • Background in science a plus, but not required.
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher.  

Salary & Benefits: Four weeks of vacation, eleven paid holidays, sick time, 2 days personal time, family medical and life insurance, public transit benefit, free parking, and a 403B retirement plan.

To Apply: Please send your resume, a writing sample, and a cover letter describing your experience and your particular interest in this position to careers@silentspring.org with “Development Director” in the subject line. No phone calls. For more information about Silent Spring Institute, visit our website at www.silentspring.org. Applications will be reviewed as they come in; interviews will begin immediately. Women and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply.


Bioinformatics and Data Science for Public Health

Silent Spring Institute seeks a versatile bioinformatician, data scientist, machine learning expert, or statistician to tackle big data problems in environmental health and cancer prevention. The position can be structured as a permanent position or a postdoctoral fellowship. We will also consider hiring a consultant for short term project-specific work.

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

  • Develop and implement new methods for analyzing gene expression data from high-throughput screening platforms to gain insights about the mechanisms of chemical carcinogenesis
  • Developing predictive models to identify hazardous chemicals from in vitro data
  • Mapping the “exposome” and “metabolome” by developing computational methods for new, more comprehensive analyses of chemicals and effect markers in human tissues
  • Analyses in Veterans Administration Health Care database relating pharmaceutical or environmental chemical exposures and adverse health effects
  • Text mining to uncover trends in published research on suspected carcinogens
  • Identifying the unique exposures of workers in high-risk occupations

Other responsibilities

  • Publish 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


  • Expertise in the analysis of large genomic data sets, esp. with DESeq2, Limma
  • Programming and data management experience, including experience with R
  • Doctorate degree in statistics, mathematics, or related field (or equivalent experience)
  • Dedication to rigorous science in the public interest

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

Benefits include a competitive salary consistent with academic settings, an intellectually stimulating and friendly workplace with a public interest mission, 4 weeks of vacation and 12 days sick leave per year, funding for classes and conferences to support staff development, and reimbursement for T-pass.  Silent Spring pays 75% of health insurance premiums.

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.  Our publications list is here.


NIH T32 Postdoctoral Fellow: Endocrinology, Cancer Biology, Computational Toxicology

We are seeking a candidate with doctoral training in endocrinology, developmental biology, or cancer biology with a focus on environmental health. Applicants should demonstrate an excellent academic and research record and an interest in understanding the roles of chemicals in carcinogenesis and hormonally-mediated toxicity.  Experience with breast cancer biology, computational toxicology, systematic review, or statistics are assets.

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.

Specific projects are to:

This research fellowship represent a unique opportunity to develop new skills in social sciences and community based participatory research in addition to pursuing research on chemical carcinogenesis.  The candidate should have an interest in public health, community-based participatory research and the social context of environmental health. This two-year appointment is part of the 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 (SSEHRI). This training program will prepare scientists for successful research careers at the nexus of environmental health, social science and policy. Fellows will be expected to publish and develop proposals within their scientific area of expertise and will also have opportunities to contribute to interdisciplinary publications and projects related to environmental justice, communications, science policy, and ethics.

The postdoctoral fellow will spend 2/3 of her/his time at Silent Spring Institute and 1/3 at Northeastern University. The fellow will collaborate with Silent Spring Institute scientists on one or more ongoing research projects and will have access to cutting edge resources and technologies at Northeastern University and other collaborating institutions.

Silent Spring Institute

Situated just outside Boston with a staff of about 20, we recently celebrated our 20th anniversary in 2014 as the nation’s leading scientific research organization focused breast cancer prevention through environmental research and outreach programs. Our research focuses on women’s health and environmental pollutants, especially hormone disruptors and 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. This is an opportunity to be part of a nationally recognized, innovative, mission-driven team.  Our publications list is here. Our website is here: silentspring.org.

Northeastern University

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, in training graduate students, undergraduates, 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 4 faculty members, 2 postdocs, 12 doctoral students, 1 MA student, 4 undergraduates, and 1 MPH student. Both the Silent Spring Institute and Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute have extensive collaborations with many breast cancer, environmental health, and environmental justice organizations.  Our website is here: northeastern.edu/environmentalhealth/

This position is appointed through Northeastern University and offers an NIH stipend and benefits package, with a possibility of supplemental stipend.

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@northeastern.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@northeastern.edu.

We are currently seeking applicants for one position to start as soon as possible but before December 2017. Review of applications will begin immediately, and the search will remain open until the position is closed or filled.  Questions? Write to Phil Brown at p.brown@northeastern.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.



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 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 2017: May 2017 to September 2017
  • Fall 2017: September 2017 to December 2017
  • Winter 2018: December 2017 to September 2018
  • Year-Long*: September 2017 to September 2018

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