Friday, September 13, 2019

Advice on age discrimination

From the New York Times, some advice:
So what is an older person who still has bills to pay supposed to do? Even seemingly tiny changes can help. Ms. McCann’s advice: Keep up with trends in résumé-writing (for example, opening with a career objective is passé, she says); emphasize your technological skills to the point of overkill; develop a social-media presence. 
Leave graduation dates and other giveaways off your résumé so you’re not making it easy for employers to reject you. Some online hiring platforms won’t allow you to move through the system without including those dates — which AARP has asked the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to address — so avoid them whenever possible. And everyone can take a lesson from New York: Bite back when someone makes prejudicial assumptions or treats you unfairly at work!
I'm not to the point where I have to worry about age discrimination, but I know it's coming sooner rather than later....

This week's C&EN

A few of the articles in this week's issue of Chemical and Engineering News:

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Daily Pump Trap: 9/12/19 edition

Some of the positions posted at C&EN Jobs:

Wilmington, NC: Celanese looking for a process chemist (B.S., 8+ years experience), sulfur, polymer chemistry experience. 

Baltimore, MD: Avidea Technologies looking for a director of chemistry (PhD, 10+ years).

Darien, IL: The Hallstar Company is looking for a MS chemist (5 yrs exp+) for a position working on applied suncare research.

Ledgewood, NJ:  Vertellus seeking a colloid chemist (Ph.D., 5-10 years), Experience working in lubricant, glass sizing or personal care industries.

Grand Forks, ND: USDA postdoc, looks to be applications of mass spectrometry towards biomedical/nutritional assays.

Los Alamos, NM: LANL searching for a postdoc for novel explosive synthesis.

62 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there are 14 new positions for September 9, 18 for September 7, 8 for September 5 and 22 for September 1.

The Analytical Chemistry Jobs List: 26 positions

The Analytical Chemistry Jobs List has 26 positions; this is curated by the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry. Want to help out? Fill out this form. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Warning Letter of the Week: pre-approved batch records

A missive from the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research to the President of Enprani Co., Ltd. in Seoul, South Korea (emphasis mine) 
2. Your firm failed to establish an adequate quality control unit with the responsibility and authority to approve or reject all components, drug product containers, closures, in-process materials, packaging materials, labeling, and drug products (21 CFR 211.22(a)). 
During the inspection, our investigator observed that your quality unit (QU) lacks adequate oversight for the manufacture of your OTC [redacted] drug products. For example:
  • Your QU failed to review entire batch records, including raw data and calculations for accuracy, before making appropriate release determination.
  • Your batch records were pre-printed as “approved” indicating the assay results were in specification, even before these values are recorded.
  • Label review and line clearance were not performed and documented in batch production and control records.
Pre-printing approvals - how come I never thought of that? 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The 2020 Faculty Jobs List: 254 research/teaching positions, 7 teaching faculty

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 254 research/teaching positions and 7 teaching assistant professor positions.

Want to add a position? Here's a Google Form to enter positions. In 2019-2020, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor."

See an error? Please contact us at chemjobber@gmail.com

On September 11, 2018, the 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 242 positions.

Here's the link to the latest open thread.

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 20 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 20 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson). 

Monday, September 9, 2019

Employers being more flexible about hiring the disabled?

ROUND ROCK, Tex. — When Kate Cosway completed her master’s degree in 2014, her résumé drew plenty of interest, but she rarely advanced far in the hiring process. She was pretty sure she knew why: She is on the autism spectrum and struggles in traditional interviews. 
Her luck finally turned this summer when she landed a 12-week internship at Dell Technologies, which this month will turn into a full-time job working on automation in the company’s audit department. 
A year ago, Ms. Cosway probably wouldn’t have been hired at Dell, either. But last year, the Texas company started a program aimed at hiring people with autism.... 
...With the national unemployment rate now flirting with a 50-year low, companies are increasingly looking outside the traditional labor force for workers. They are offering flexible hours and work-from-home options to attract stay-at-home parents, full-time students and recent retirees. They are making new accommodations to open up jobs to people with disabilities. They are dropping educational requirements, waiving criminal background checks and offering training to prospective workers who lack necessary skills. 
Those policies are having an effect. In recent months, nearly three-quarters of people who have become newly employed have come from outside the labor force — meaning they hadn’t even been looking for jobs. The share of adults who are working is now the highest in more than a decade, after adjustments are made for the aging population....
Readers, have you found employers in the chemical and pharmaceutical space to be more flexible, either around disability or other issues? I personally haven't seen a lot of evidence of that, even as I note the number of industrial employers insisting on postdoctoral fellowships seemingly dropping.

What are you seeing? 

Money for psychedelic compound research

Not often you see a microsyringe in the New York Times
credit: Bettmann/Corbis/NYT
Via the New York Times, interesting new philanthropy: 
The announcement on Wednesday that Johns Hopkins Medicine was starting a new center to study psychedelic drugs for mental disorders was the latest chapter in a decades-long push by health nonprofits and wealthy donors to shake up psychiatry from the outside, bypassing the usual channels. 
“Psychiatry is one of the most conservative specialties in medicine,” said David Nichols, a medicinal chemist who founded the Heffter Research Institute in 1993 to fund psychedelic research. “We haven’t really had new drugs for years, and the drug industry has quit the field because they don’t have new targets” in the brain. “The field was basically stagnant, and we needed to try something different.” 
The fund-raising for the new Johns Hopkins center was largely driven by the author and investor Tim Ferriss, who said in a telephone interview that he had put aside most of his other projects to advance psychedelic medicine... 
...Mr. Ferriss provided funds for a similar center at Imperial College London, which was introduced in April, and for individual research projects at the University of San Francisco, California, testing psilocybin as an aide to therapy for distress in long-term AIDS patients....
This is cool, here's hoping something comes of it. (When will antibiotics get a really passionate billionaire? (Yes, I know that Bill Gates does a little bit.)) 

Friday, September 6, 2019

Vitamin E acetate is bad actor in vaping illnesses?

Health officials in New York State said on Thursday that they are investigating a possible cause of a recent surge in severe vaping-related illnesses: a compound called vitamin E acetate. 
The state Department of Health said in a news release that “very high levels” of the compound had been found in 13 samples from eight of 34 patients who have gotten ill in New York. The samples were analyzed as part of an investigation by the Wadsworth Center, a state laboratory. 
This finding by no means ends the search for what is causing the illnesses, particularly given that vitamin E acetate has not been confirmed as a factor in the majority of cases in which patients have gotten sick in New York. 
...“As a result, vitamin E acetate is now a key focus of the Department’s investigation of potential causes of vaping-associated pulmonary illnesses,” New York State said in its release. “Vitamin E acetate is a commonly available nutritional supplement that is not known to cause harm when ingested as a vitamin supplement or applied to the skin. However, the Department continues to investigate its health effects when inhaled because its oil-like properties could be associated with the observed symptoms.”
I'm glad they are getting close to blaming it on one specific chemical... 

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Were you ever asked to pay for broken laboratory equipment?

Credit
An interesting query from Twitter:
A friend post doc-ing in the US told me that they were going to have to fund some replacement glassware that they broke. Is this normal?
I have broken lots of glassware, and I was never once asked to pay for the broken items by a PI. I've never heard of this. Readers, have you ever had:
  • a PI ask you to pay for 
    • a broken piece of a equipment 
    • when you were either an undergraduate, graduate student or a postdoc in an university research lab 
    • in the United States? 
  • If so, what were the circumstances? Did you pay up? 
(Is this illegal? I'm sure there are rules about this sort of thing, albeit poorly enforced ones. Also, there is the classic "is the postdoc an employee" question...)

Readers, please comment.

This week's C&EN

A few of the articles from this week's issue of Chemical and Engineering News:

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The 2020 Faculty Jobs List: 216 research/teaching positions, 7 teaching faculty

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 216 research/teaching positions and 7 teaching assistant professor positions.

Want to add a position? Here's a Google Form to enter positions. In 2019-2020, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate an intention to renew permanently, 3 year terms and a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor."

See an error? Please contact us at chemjobber@gmail.com

On September 4, 2018, the 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 201 positions.

Here's the link to the latest open thread.

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 15 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 15 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson). 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 31 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 31 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Happy Labor Day!



To my American readers, a very happy Labor Day to you and your family. To people in the rest of the world, happy Monday! Back tomorrow.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Chemical Activity Barometer Is Slightly Down In August

WASHINGTON (August 27, 2019) – The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB), a leading economic indicator created by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), fell 0.1 percent in August on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis following a similar drop in July and four months of gains. On a year-over-year (Y/Y) basis, the barometer was flat at 0.0 percent (3MMA). 
The unadjusted measure of the CAB fell 0.5 percent in August after a 0.1 percent gain in July. The diffusion index was 59 percent in August. The diffusion index marks the number of positive contributors relative to the total number of indicators monitored. The CAB reading for July was revised upward by 0.58 points and that for June by 0.62 points. 
“A pattern of fluctuating CAB readings – months up followed by months down – indicates late-cycle activity,” said Kevin Swift, chief economist at ACC. “The barometer signals gains in U.S. commerce into early 2020, but at a slow pace, while rising volatility suggests change may be coming.”
Well, Kevin Swift isn't calling it a bagel, but I feel like he's shopping in the bread aisle.

ACS Boston Career Fair: 81 jobs, 239 job seekers

Numbers reported to ACS Council on Wednesday, August 28 in San Diego, CA:
Participating employers: 31
Number of open positions: 81
Job seeker profiles: 239
So that's a pretty darn good ratio for ACS Career Fairs, as I recall, but the number of available positions seems a little low, but it is more than last year in Boston (a place, one presumes, where there are plenty of chemistry positions.) 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Ask CJ: steel-toed boots?

From the inbox, a good safety question:
Do most industrial labs require some sort of steel-toe or composite toe shoe to do routine synthesis lab work?  
Answer: not that I've seen. If you have a kilo-lab environmental or higher scales, I imagine that steel toed boots become more important. Readers, what have you seen?

(I should take this moment to note that for women readers, this is a nice Twitter thread with recommendations for steel-toed boots/shoes that work well.) 

Warning Letter of the Week: naughty sonicator edition

From a letter to the Director of CTX Lifesciences Private Ltd. from the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research: 
2.    Failure to adequately investigate out-of-specification results and implement appropriate corrective actions. 
You invalidated an out-of-specification (OOS) related substances test result for API [redacted] batch [redacted], listed in a pending drug application, without scientific justification. 
In your response, you stated that you performed an investigational hypothesis study to evaluate the effect of sonication on API [redacted] batch [redacted]. You concluded that [redacted] generated an unknown impurity at the same relative retention time (RRT) and similar percentage peak area as the OOS result. 
Your response is inadequate because you did not adequately investigate all potential causes of the unknown impurity. You attributed the OOS result to degradation caused by [redacted], a sample preparation step performed during your test procedure. You also did not provide adequate scientific justification for your OOS result root cause. We note that three other batches of API [redacted] followed this [redacted] preparation and analysis procedure during the same sequence with no OOS results for these [redacted] batches.
Blaming the sonicator is a new one on me! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The 2020 Faculty Jobs List: 181 research/teaching positions, 3 teaching faculty

The 2020 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 181 research/teaching positions and 3 teaching assistant professor positions.

Want to add a position? Here's a Google Form to enter positions. In 2019-2020, we will be adding teaching professor positions, targeting positions that demonstrate a promotion ladder and/or are titled "assistant teaching professor" or "associate teaching professor."

See an error? Please contact us at chemjobber@gmail.com

On August 28, 2018, the 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 167 positions.

Here's the link to the latest open thread.

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List: 15 positions

The Chemical Engineering Faculty Jobs List has 15 positions. It is curated by Lilian Josephson (@lljosephson). 

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 31 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 31 positions.

This list is curated by Sarah Cady. It targets:
  • Full-time STAFF positions in a Chem/Biochem/ChemE lab/facility at an academic institution/natl lab
  • Lab Coordinator positions for research groups or undergraduate labs 
  • and for an institution in Canada or the United States
Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to chat about staff scientist positions? Try the open thread.

Monday, August 26, 2019

TCE and Brookhaven National Lab

Interesting story in the New York Times on the use of TCE as a degreaser, and its potential effects:
UPTON, N.Y. — As a technician at Brookhaven National Laboratory, one of the nation’s most prestigious science labs, Joseph Marino’s job in the late 1990s and early 2000s was to clean and maintain the supercomputers that have helped researchers unlock some of the world’s biggest scientific and medical mysteries. He polished copper connectors, he said, until “they reminded you of gold.” 
One of the cleaning fluids he used while wiping the machines by hand over the years was trichloroethylene, or TCE, a toxic degreaser that the Trump administration has targeted as part of its broad effort to weaken regulations on chemicals. TCE is still widely used by dry cleaners as a stain remover and by factories as a degreaser. 
Mr. Marino, who later lost a kidney to cancer, is now suing the operators of the Department of Energy lab for $25 million over exposure to TCE, alleging that they negligently supplied the cleaner to him and many other workers there without warnings or protections. He is also suing Dow Chemical and Zep, alleging that they made and sold the chemical without adequate safety warnings.
Here's a hair-raising tidbit (emphasis mine):
...At a recent meeting of a group of Brookhaven retirees, at a classic Long Island diner a 20-minute drive from the lab, the conversation was punctuated with news of former colleagues who were battling disease or who had died.
Around the table was Frank Devito, 84, in a faded Yankees cap, who worked at the lab for three decades, does dialysis three times a week for renal failure and keeps the group’s tally of deceased colleagues — 38 at the latest count. There was also Fred Squires, 67, who remembers scrubbing parts in a tray full of TCE, with rubber gloves and no mask, and who has kidney cancer.
The good ol' days, when PPE was scarce.*

*for the irony-impaired, this is sarcasm

This week's C&EN

A few articles from this week's issue of Chemical and Engineering News: