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.

Positions

Research Assistant
Bioinformatics and Data Science for Public Health
Senior Scientist
Internships
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. 

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 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, including computational toxicology datasets.  Help review chemical toxicity predictions and risk assessments to determine if they are comprehensive and health protective.
  • 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. 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.

 

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

Requirements

  • 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.

 

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 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.