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NCCIH Research Blog

Job Opportunity: Program Director for Research on the Gut Microbiome and Its Implications for Health

June 21, 2016

John S. Williamson, Ph.D.

Branch Chief

Basic and Mechanistic Research in Complementary and Integrative Health Branch

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Over the past few years there has been an amazing increase in our knowledge of the gut microbiome (intestinal bacteria) and the implications it has for human health. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) has a long history in the field of probiotics and is looking toward moving to the next level of microbiome research.

The open questions include a need for deeper understanding of the effects of probiotic use, how the microbiota transmits neurological signals to the brain and influences host behavior, and how the gut microbiome affects pathways involved in pain, depression, anxiety, and drug addiction. There is a need to disentangle the many components of microbiome-host interactions, including with neurobiological, genomic, proteomic, and metabolomic technologies. New biomedical technologies are rapidly driving this area of research forward. NCCIH is helping to spur that effort through continued programmatic interest and hiring new scientific staff to direct our efforts.

We are seeking an experienced researcher to join the Division of Extramural Research’s Basic and Mechanistic Research in Complementary and Integrative Health Branch as a Program Director. The individual will be responsible for providing scientific leadership, guidance, and development of a research program in complementary and integrative health focused on the microbiome, and on the impact of prebiotics and probiotics in modulating gut microbiota to prevent and treat a variety of diseases and disorders. The Program Director will have overall responsibility for this program area, and will serve as the primary liaison and contact point on it, both inside and outside NCCIH. Diseases and disorders of interest may include those associated with the brain-gut axis, such as pain and/or anxiety. Examples of relevant complementary approaches may include natural products (like probiotics and dietary supplements) and mind and body approaches.

Other duties will include planning, advising, directing, and evaluating program activities for a portfolio of research projects, research program and other grants/awards, cooperative agreements, and/or contracts in research and methods development. These awards and mechanisms are intended to (1) characterize and determine the diversity, bioactivity, and interactions among prebiotics, probiotics, and gut microbiota; and (2) develop and evaluate research and clinical applications aimed at the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases and disorders.

The position description details these and other responsibilities in program planning and development, program management, information dissemination, and communication/consultation/liaison work. Applicants should have a substantial record of published, peer-review research in this topic area.

There are two listings in USAJobs, one for current federal employees or status candidates and one for all US citizens. The deadline to apply is June 30, 2016.


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