Chief, Mechanistic Toxicology Branch, NIEHS

Deadline: November 6, 2021

NIEHS is seeking a dynamic, highly motivated scientist to serve as Chief of the Mechanistic Toxicology Branch (MTB) in the Division of the National Toxicology Program (DNTP) at NIEHS. The mission of the DNTP is to evaluate environmental substances of public health concern by developing and applying tools of modern toxicology and molecular biology.  The DNTP provides critical data for regulatory and non-regulatory stakeholder decision making to protect human health using rodent studies, alternative in vivo model systems, in vitro high-throughput screens and/or computational approaches to gauge the potential of thousands of substances to perturb biological targets and pathways.

The scientific goals of the DNTP are achieved through a distinct and highly cooperative and integrated team science operational model whereby scientific staff across multiple branches in the DNTP assemble into project teams and utilize centrally-managed shared resources, in contrast to the traditional NIH principal investigator-led research group model.  The majority of research is carried out through use of external research and development contracts together with a limited amount of onsite intramural laboratory research capability.  The research conducted is aligned to the strategic needs of the Division.  The governance of projects that use DNTP resources are centrally approved by management.

The MTB Chief is responsible for oversight of one of the organizational units of the DNTP that provides in-house laboratory capabilities in support of DNTP scientific initiatives. The mission of the MTB is to provide research support for and conduct investigative toxicology for the DNTP.  Laboratory work is project-driven and supports members of DNTP interdisciplinary project teams to advance the program mission. 
The MTB has several goals:

  • To design and execute human-relevant mechanistic studies and research programs in direct support of DNTP strategic areas of focus
  • To provide on-site, program-responsive, laboratory support to DNTP project teams for screening, prioritization and mechanistic understanding of xenobiotic effects on human health
  • To deliver high-quality and responsive laboratory data in a timely manner
  • To develop novel and innovative capabilities that contribute to DNTP’s mission to further our mechanistic understanding of human responses to environmental exposures
  • To collaborate with researchers and stakeholders for program-responsive applied and translational research outcomes for DNTP

The MTB Chief also leads and otherwise contributes to DNTP multidisciplinary teams conceiving, developing, designing, interpreting, and reporting toxicology, carcinogenicity, and other applied and basic science research activities. These activities are highly diverse including in vitro and in vivo evaluations of the potential health impacts of consumer products, medicinal herbs, pharmaceuticals, occupational chemical exposures, biologic agents and ever-evolving novel substances such as nanoscale materials.  In DNTP multidisciplinary teams, the senior leaders partner with fellow toxicologists, chemists, pathologists, specialists in metabolism and kinetics, as well as experts in genetic toxicity, in vitro screening and molecular modeling to design research programs tailored to the issues presented by individual substances under study.

The MTB Chief will contribute to leadership of the DNTP by partnering with the Scientific Director and other Branch and Office leadership to provide strategic direction, manage fiscal and workforce resources and to ensure deliberate and timely advancement of the scientific portfolio.  The successful candidate will demonstrate a strong commitment to strategic planning, leadership and workforce development. Our preference would be for the branch chief to reside in the Research Triangle Park to be available for personally engaging and mentoring staff and for building relationships with the DNTP leadership and others in the DNTP/NIEHS, with the option to telework as needed.

The successful applicant will be an innovative thinker, possess a strong foundational scientific knowledge in an area of toxicology including extensive experience directing laboratory research, and demonstrate a working knowledge of carcinogenesis, genomics, molecular biology, molecular genetics, cellular biology, systems biology, pathology, and statistics. The applicant should be recognized for his/her scientific expertise within the national and international scientific community. The applicant will have demonstrated a commitment to applied and translational research with unique insights into how to build trust in decision-making stakeholders. The successful applicant will have demonstrated experience leading diverse scientific research programs, including participation in multi-institutional programs and national and international consortia. 

The ideal candidate will have a research-based professional degree (Ph.D., M.D., Pharm.D., or D.V.M.) in the life sciences, with extensive experience in in vivo and in vitro toxicology studies. The successful candidate must demonstrate strategic and visionary leadership for identifying and matching new scientific technologies with the needs of the DNTP, while also understanding the limitations of data generated through these approaches for public health decision-making.

Salary/benefits: This is a federal full-time equivalent position, and a comprehensive benefits package is available. Salary will be commensurate with experience, qualifications and accomplishments.  

How to apply: Applications for this position will be accepted from October 7, 2021 through November 6, 2021. To submit a complete application package, interested candidates must submit their full curriculum vitae including bibliography and a 3- to 4-page statement of research experience and interests as ONE (1) combined PDF to Ms. Bonnie Earnhardt at Please include Vacancy Number AC1455 and your name in the subject line of your email submission. Please include in your CV a description of mentoring and outreach activities, especially those involving women or other underrepresented groups in biomedical research. In addition, applicants must arrange to have three (3) letters of recommendation sent to Please be sure that referees include your name and Vacancy Number AC1455 in the subject line of their email. For further information about the position, please contact Dr. Robert Sills at Incomplete applications or paper applications will not be accepted. 

Commitment to Diversity and Equal Employment Opportunity: The NIH NIEHS encourages the application and nomination of traditionally underrepresented groups in the sciences, including   women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities. The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factors. NIH NIEHS will provide reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities as appropriate. If you require reasonable accommodation during any part of the application and hiring process, please notify us. 

Foreign Education: Applicants who have completed part or all of their education outside of the United States must provide an evaluation by an accredited organization to ensure its equivalence to education received in accredited educational institutions in the United States. For more information on foreign education verification, visit the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) website at Verification must be received prior to the effective date of the appointment.

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