Job: Two doctoral-level epidemiologist positions at the CDC

The Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch in the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is seeking junior and senior doctoral-level epidemiologists to conduct analyses to estimate the number of illnesses transmitted by each major source of human infections caused by Salmonella, Campylobacter, and other major bacterial enteric pathogens. Because these pathogens can contaminate water and many kinds of food and can be transmitted through direct contact with infected animals and people, the source is not apparent in most infections. Yet understanding the number and proportion of infections from various sources is critically important to making and evaluating national policies for prevention. Analyses are needed to create real-world models to track progress in reducing infections, and to identify emerging and persistent sources.

The Branch has prioritized an initiative to analyze large, complex databases to determine the transmission pathways (food, water, animals, and people), specific sources (e.g., types of foods), and changes over time in sources of selected bacterial enteric infections. These analyses, which use data collected from humans, foods, animals, and the environment, inform food safety policy and are used to track progress toward food safety goals. Some of these analyses are conducted with the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC), a tri-agency group that also includes analysts from the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture. IFSAC analysts create models using data gathered by a variety of agencies on detections of pathogens from people, foods, and the environment, and on food consumption patterns.

The epidemiologists will participate in and may help to direct the Branch’s work to develop and apply methods to complex datasets to estimate the numbers of major bacterial enteric illnesses attributable to both food and non-food sources; to estimate changes in sources over time; and to determine temporal trends in incidence of illnesses linked to particular sources. The epidemiologists will use appropriate statistical methods, which may include Bayesian hierarchical modeling, shrinkage regression, multiple imputation, stochastic compartmental modeling and other approaches. Staff statisticians are available to collaborate on this work. The epidemiologists will be part of branch and IFSAC teams developing novel models and analyses that contribute to national priorities and policies to improve the safety of food. They will participate in and may lead analytic workgroups. The epidemiologists will present results in written reports and oral presentations to technical and non-technical audiences and write manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals. They will have opportunities to engage with peers in national and international scientific meetings and to obtain further training in epidemiologic and statistical methods.

About the Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch. The branch is responsible for tracking the incidence and determining risk factors for illnesses caused by Salmonella, Campylobacter, Clostridium botulinum, Escherichia coli O157 and other Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, Listeria, Shigella, Vibrio, Yersinia, and other known and possible bacterial enteric pathogens. Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli O157, and Listeria are a major focus because they cause many illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths, and because they are transmitted commonly by food and are therefore amenable to control by national food safety regulations and policies. CDC collects data on individual illnesses and outbreaks caused by these pathogens, often with detailed information about the person (e.g., demographics, exposures) and the pathogen (e.g., subtype, antibiotic resistance). Congress, regulatory agencies, consumer groups, the food industry, and others rely on CDC data and estimates to target and evaluate control measures, and to track progress toward food safety goals.

Qualifications

The successful candidate will have a doctoral degree (PhD, MD, or DVM) with extensive training in epidemiology and/or biostatistics. Familiarity and experience with analytic approaches to causal inference and modern regression, such as generalized linear mixed models and Bayesian methods, is preferred. Strong quantitative and organizational skills is preferred, as well as experience and proficiency using SAS, R, or similar software; WinBugs, JAGS, or similar software; and special purpose programs such as @Risk or ArcGIS. An understanding of infectious disease processes or experience in analyses of infectious disease data would enhance the application. The junior candidate should have at least 1 year’s post-doctoral experience or work in the application of statistical modeling methods, demonstrated by a relevant scientific publication record. The senior candidate should have similar training and an established body of work. Non-US citizens must demonstrate eligibility for employment.

Candidates must have very good communication skills, including the ability to communicate technical information to non-technical audiences and to document analytic plans and modeling methods. Candidates must be able to critically evaluate epidemiologic data and publish scientific papers. Branch projects are highly collaborative; candidates should have demonstrated the ability to work well on a team in a collaborative and interdisciplinary environment.

Please send curriculum vitae, letters of interest, and questions to Ed Cotton euq8@cdc.gov.