Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Job posting: Research and Development Chemist, Dow, Marlborough, MA.

From the inbox, a position with Dow Electronic Materials:
DowDupont has an exciting and challenging opportunity within our Electronics and Imaging business for a Research and Development Chemist, located in Marlborough, MA. 
 This position in the Circuits and Industrial Technologies Research and Development group will focus on the development and improvement of chemistries and processes within the metallization research platform and especially concentrate on novel solutions, but will also involve development of new approaches to catalysis and surface modification of printed circuit board laminate materials....   
Basic Qualifications
  • Ph.D. in Chemistry with a broad knowledge of Inorganic Chemistry/Materials Science
  • Strong background in problem solving, using multiple analytical procedures to identify and characterize product development barriers.
  • Experience with a wide range of synthetic and analytical techniques such as synthesis of novel materials, SEM/EDS, HPLC, rheological measurements, and surface analysis methods.
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze prior art and incorporating information and knowledge management tools and systems into work. Proficiently uses patent analysis tools to maintain expert understanding of a technology/market area....
Preferred Requirements
  • Those skilled in the synthesis and characterization of novel metal and metal alloy deposits, application of electrochemical techniques, and fundamentals of corrosion science preferred. Industry or post-doctoral experience
  • Materials or Inorganic chemist with metal electrodeposition experience preferred.  Experience with synthesis and characterization on novel materials preferred.
  • Strong working knowledge of materials synthesis and characterization, colloid chemistry, coordination chemistry, and/or design of novel composite materials would also be considered.
Full listing here. Best wishes to those interested. 

Quote of the week: you think you're busy, try this!

Whenever I think I'm busy, and I have two or three deadlines coming up on the same day, I think about the Royal Navy's Perisher submarine course, which I first read about in Tom Clancy's book "Submarine":
Here the real test of the Perishers begins. Each group of trainees is taken aboard a Royal Navy submarine and begins to do visual approaches on a frigate charging at the submarine. Each trainee gets to do five runs a day for a period of several weeks. As the course progresses, more frigates are added, until the Perisher trainee has three of them simultaneously charging at his periscope. The idea is for him to safely operate the submarine, fire off a shot, and not get run over by one or more of the frigates. All the time that a Perisher student is at the conn of the sub, the teacher is evaluating the trainee's reactions and ability to maintain his awareness of the tactical situation.  
Good luck with your frigates today. (Want to read more about the Perisher course? Try here and here.)

Warning Letter of the Week: insanitary conditions edition

(From the inbox): Via a missive from the Director of Division of Pharmaceutical Quality Operations IV to the owner of BioDiagnostic International, some alarming comments:
Insanitary Conditions Violations
You manufacture [redacted], a drug product intended for vaginal use as a hemostatic solution to stop bleeding after cervical biopsies. During the inspection, our investigator observed filthy conditions in your facility, including dirty equipment and utensils covered with unknown residue. A large metal roll-up door at the entrance to your facility was open to the outdoors, while an open pot you use as a mixing vessel contained in-process material and was not covered. The insanitary conditions observed at your facility failed to protect drug products from contamination with filth.

CGMP Violations 
1.    Your firm failed to have separate or defined areas or such other control systems necessary to prevent contamination or mix-ups (21 CFR 211.42(c)).

Our investigator documented that you have an employee food preparation area within your drug manufacturing area with no separation between open manufacturing equipment, cooking utensils, and personal-use items. The practices observed at your facility, which was observed open to the outdoors, increase the likelihood of your drug products becoming contaminated.
Cooking utensils? That sounds... yucky.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The 2019 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 100 positions

The 2019 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 100 positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

On August 10, 2017, the 2018 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List had 104 positions.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Try the open thread.

Otherwise, all discussions are on the Chemistry Faculty Jobs List webforum.

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 17 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 17 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 13, 2018

Jury awards school groundskeeper $289 million for exposure to Roundup

A California jury on Friday found Monsanto liable in a lawsuit filed by a school groundskeeper who said the company’s weedkillers, including Roundup, caused his cancer. The company was ordered pay $289 million in damages. 
The case of the groundskeeper, Dewayne Johnson, 46, was the first lawsuit to go to trial alleging that Roundup and other glyphosate-based weedkillers cause cancer. Monsanto, a unit of the German conglomerate Bayer following a $62.5 billion acquisition, faces more than 5,000 similar lawsuits across the United States. 
Mr. Johnson’s lawyers said he developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup and Ranger Pro, another Monsanto glyphosate herbicide, as part of his job as a pest control manager for a California county school system. 
The jury in Superior Court of California in San Francisco deliberated for three days before finding that Monsanto had failed to warn Mr. Johnson and other consumers of the cancer risks posed by its weedkillers. 
It awarded $39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages...
As one might imagine, I'm pretty skeptical about the carcinogenicity of glyphosate. Nevertheless, I think that most typical people feel very much otherwise.

A very long time ago, I got into an online argument (always a great use of time) about the toxicity of Roundup. The original post said something like "I cannot believe something as toxic as Roundup is out on the market" - trying to convince the fellow "actually, it's not very toxic" was a tough thing to do. As you might imagine, I had no success.

Here's my theory as to why this is true: if you get out a bottle of Roundup and you spray it on plants, they die in a particularly visible way. Even if people understand the concepts behind amino acid synthesis and enzyme inhibition, they're just never really going to not believe their eyes, and make the conclusion that, if it kills plants, it won't kill people.

All of this to say: I have a feeling that Monsanto/Bayer is going to be in trouble, if these jury trials continue. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

9 cm filter paper

A list of small, useful things (links):
An open invitation to all interested in writing a blog, a hobby that will bring you millions thousands hundreds tens of dollars joy and happiness. Send me a link to your post, and I'd be happy to put it up.

Have a good weekend!

Houston-area DA charges CEO of Arkema and plant manager for release of fumes/fire during Hurricane Harvey

Via Chemical and Engineering News, an article detailing charges against Arkema for the fires at an organic peroxide plant during Hurricane Harvey (article by Randy Lee Loftus): 
A grand jury in Houston indicted Arkema and two of its executives Friday on criminal charges that they “recklessly” failed to prevent fires and releases from a chemical plant near Houston last year during catastrophic flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey. 
Reactive organic peroxides decomposed and caught fire after floodwaters knocked out power and disabled refrigeration at Arkema’s Crosby, Texas, plant. The chemicals must be kept cool to remain stable. 
In addition to the company, the indictment names Richard Rowe, CEO of Arkema’s North America operations, as well as plant manager Leslie Comardelle. If convicted, Arkema could face $1 million in fines and the executives could face five years in prison. 
“Companies don’t make decisions, people do,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, whose office sought the indictment, said in a statement. “Responsibility for pursuing profit over the health of innocent people rests with the leadership of Arkema."...
From the press release from the Harris County DA:
The indictment charges they all had a role in “recklessly” releasing chemicals into the air, placing residents and first responders at risk of serious bodily injury. The charge carries penalties of up to five years in prison for the persons and up to a $1 million fine for the corporation... 
...Chemicals had to be kept frozen to avoid bursting into flames, but temperatures rose after floodwaters knocked out the plant’s power. As a result, the chemicals exploded, causing a fire that burned for day and releasing the cloud. 
Prosecutors allege the disaster could and should have been prevented.
I'm a little stumped as to how they plan to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, but there you are. Via the Houston Chronicle, the actual charges:
And the grand jury charged Arkema, Rowe and Comardelle with reckless emission of an air contaminant under the Texas Water Code. The charge carries a penalty of up to five years in prison for the individuals and a fine of up to $1 million for the corporation.
Plant manager's a tough position in Houston if this becomes a regular thing... 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs List: 165 positions

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs list (curated by Joel Walker and myself)  has 165 positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions, but if you want to do the traditional "leave a link in the comments", that works, too.

Want to chat about medchem positions? Try the open thread.

Positions I'm not including: positions outside the United States, computational positions (this will likely change), academic positions (likely never.)

The Computational Drug Discovery Chemistry Jobs List: 25 positions

The Computational Drug Discovery Chemistry Jobs List has 25 positions. This list is curated by Joel Walker. 

25 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there's 19 new positions posted for August 7 and 6 posted for August 2.

The Process Chemistry Jobs List: 187 positions

The Process Chemistry Jobs List has 187 positions.

Want to help? Here's a form to fill out.

Want to chat process jobs? Try the open thread. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Towards a data-driven definition of the term "non-traditional career"

Also in this week's issue of Chemical and Engineering News, an interesting article by Natalie A. LaFranzo, the chair of the Younger Chemists' Committee:
...So if the scientific workforce, the chemical workforce, and younger members of ACS are predominantly employed outside academia, with many of them in nonlaboratory positions, why are these career paths still referred to as “nontraditional”? I’ll admit, I’m guilty of using this term myself. As an accomplished bench-trained chemist who has actively pursued a career at the interface of science and business, I’ve chosen not to work in a laboratory setting since the completion of my graduate education. I still very much consider myself a chemist, despite having caught myself on occasion telling others that I have followed a “nontraditional path.” 
Some of this mind-set is perpetuated by what seems to be misinterpretation of the data. The ChemCensus data* I cited above were preceded by the following statement: “The increasing rate of doctorate degree holders in the chemistry workforce appears to be fueled by the growth of employment opportunities in the academic sector.” 
In my opinion, that is flat-out wrong. The reality is that few academic positions are available each year, and institutions train more scientists than there are faculty positions and grant funding to support. The more likely explanation for the numbers seen in the ChemCensus is that chemists who pursue these “nontraditional paths” may (incorrectly) see less value in ACS membership. This may be fueled in part by a sense of nonbelonging—the idea that these nonlaboratory chemists are seen as less of a chemist than their academic counterparts through their continued branding as “nontraditional.”
I really liked this piece, in that it struggles with the difficult question of "why does non-academic participation in the American Chemical Society keep dropping?" I'm not sure the 'non-traditional' branding is the reason why, but I think Dr. LaFranzo has a good point, in that ACS feels like an "academia-first" society, especially when ACS has its larg-ish gatherings like National Meetings. But that's just my perception.

But here's my question: if you don't want to call non-academic careers "non-traditional", what would you call them? "Alternative" is similarly pejorative, and most of the rest of the possible terms ('non-bench', 'non-research', careers outside the laboratory, etc) are clunky and expressed in a negative (not this, non-that.) What positive term could be developed? I have no idea, so I'd like to stick to "traditional" and "non-traditional."

So. Here's my pitch. Let's get some data (the ACS Salary Survey should do) for the time period between, say, 1945-1995. We'll categorize the careers that make up 90% of the members as "traditional" and those that are less than 10% of membership "non-traditional."  Then, we can compare that to the 'modern' era (1996 until now), and then we can decide what is 'traditional' and 'non-traditional.'

I don't really know what to do about this, especially since 1) people like to categorize themselves and 2) no one wants to look up the data and 3) if myself or someone like myself totted up all the data, no one would pay attention. But it seems to me to be a logical approach to defining What is Traditional.

Readers?

*"Similarly, results from the 2015 American Chemical Society ChemCensus survey of the chemical workforce showed that 40.4% of respondents reported working in the academic sector." 

This week's C&EN

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

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The 2019 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List: 83 positions

The 2019 Chemistry Faculty Jobs List (curated by Andrew Spaeth and myself) has 83 positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions.

Want to talk anonymously? Have an update on the status of a job search? Try the open thread.

Otherwise, all discussions are on the Chemistry Faculty Jobs List webforum.

The Academic Staff Jobs List: 17 positions

The Academic Staff Jobs list has 17 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 6, 2018

EPA fines DuPont 3.1 million dollars for the death of 4 workers in 2014

DuPont will pay a $3.1 million civil penalty under an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice for violations of EPA’s risk management program (RMP) provisions. The violations led to an accident that killed four workers in Texas in late 2014. 
The accident occurred when nearly 11,000 kg of methyl mercaptan were released at a pesticide manufacturing unit at DuPont’s La Porte plant. Because of a series of maintenance errors, a jerry-rigged piping system transferred the flammable and toxic compound to plant areas where it should not have been. Two unsuspecting workers died when they attempted to clear a vent that they didn’t realize contained methyl mercaptan; two others died when coming to their aid. 
According to EPA’s complaint, DuPont’s actions violated 22 separate provisions of the Clean Air Act’s RMP. The alleged violations include failing to develop and implement written operating procedures, adequately implement management of change procedures, and implement safe work practices. The citations also include alleged violations of mechanical integrity regulations...
A disappointing aspect of these fines is of their relative size - will DuPont really miss 3 million bucks? Probably not. I wonder if there's an argument to be made for changing fines to be a percentage of gross revenue?

(Previous posts on the La Porte incident here and here.)

Friday, August 3, 2018

View From Your Hood: tall buildings edition

Credit: Public domain
Via Vincent Boombatz:
That is the National Library of Medicine and the Lister Hill Center. NLM, the short, mostly subterranean building with the funky roof, is the reference library. LHC, the tall glass-faced building, houses the R&D arm associated with it. Their most famous activities are Medline and the various frontends (currently PubMed for web access, but others have included dial-up through Grateful Med [not making that up]). 
Through Medline, us biologists and our colleagues have had an ever-expanding, ever-more-systematic view of the medical literature since the mid-1960s. I can't imagine how you'd begin to measure the impact this has had on the development of biomedical science in the US (and outside). 
A note about that hill... it's not Lister Hill. (I thought it was, for a long time.) Senator J. Lister Hill (D-AL) was known, among other things, for the Hospital Survey and Construction Act (the source for some of the current rules for hospitals accepting federal support) as well as supporting increased research funding for medical schools and other institutions.
(got a View from Your Hood submission? Send it in (with a caption and preference for name/anonymity, please) at chemjobber@gmail.com; will run every other Friday.) 

Former CSU professor McNaughton charged by Larimer County on July 2

A couple of further details about the Brian McNaughton case at Colorado State (article by Nick Coltrain of the Fort Collins Coloradoan) (note that Anon0831AM had this story on July 13):
In July 2017, Colorado State University chemistry professor Brian McNaughton confessed to forging an offer letter and using it as leverage to secure a $5,000 raise and better investment in his lab from the university. 
After initially pushing for him to resign shortly after discovering the forgery, CSU decided to let him stay on staff for almost another year, enough time to land a job at the University of Delaware. 
The University of Delaware has since rescinded its job offer to McNaughton and scrubbed him from its faculty website, where he had been listed as recently as Wednesday morning, and Larimer County has charged him with attempting to influence a public servant, a Class 4 felony. 
In 2017, CSU received an anonymous letter accusing McNaughton of forging the offer letter. On June 29 of that year, and two years after McNaughton delivered the forged offer letter, CSU Vice Provost Dan Bush sought to establish its veracity.... 
...McNaughton was charged with the felony July 2. Shortly after, media reports emerged. The University of Delaware rescinded its offer to McNaughton on July 9, just a couple weeks before his scheduled start day there.\
I'm more than a little bit flummoxed that the Larimer County DA is following through with this felony charge, but something tells me that his attorney will manage to have Dr. McNaughton avoid jail time. (According to this Colorado criminal defense attorney blogpost, the maximum punishment is 2-6 years, with a $2000-$500000 fine.) I'd love to know who (either the DA or Colorado State University) is the driving force for pressing charges - it just seems so unusual. 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs List: 158 positions

The Medicinal Chemist Jobs list (curated by Joel Walker and myself)  has 158 positions.

Want to help out? Here's a Google Form to enter positions, but if you want to do the traditional "leave a link in the comments", that works, too.

Want to chat about medchem positions? Try the open thread.

Positions I'm not including: positions outside the United States, computational positions (this will likely change), academic positions (likely never.)

The Computational Drug Discovery Chemistry Jobs List: 25 positions

The Computational Drug Discovery Chemistry Jobs List has 25 positions. This list is curated by Joel Walker. 

26 new positions at Organic Chemistry Jobs

Over at Common Organic Chemistry, there's 7 new positions posted for July 30 and 19 posted for July 28.

The Process Chemistry Jobs List: 184 positions

The Process Chemistry Jobs List has 184 positions.

Want to help? Here's a form to fill out.

Want to chat process jobs? Try the open thread. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

[insert left turn joke here]

Your name in 2000 point font might be worth it!
Over the years, I have received many PR pitches on the blog. Finally, I have received one that's worth posting:
Hi, 
Natural Light is about to hook it up yet again for a recent grad that’s deep in the job search. 
The beer brand is going to turn your resume into a NASCAR paint scheme that will appear on Chris Buescher’s #37 racecar at the South Point 400 in Las Vegas on September 16. Work experience, skills, contact info, head shot and all, will be painted on the car. 
Natural Light and Censuswide surveyed 1,000+ employers across America and 4-in-5 agreed applicants need to find new ways to stand out when applying for jobs.  
Is there a better way to get your resume noticed than have it plastered all over a car for a nationally televised race? Guaranteed your inbox and voicemail will be full after catching the eye of millions of recruiters while racing 200 mph around the track. 
To be considered for the paint scheme, any person over the age of 21 can:
  • Send their resume to NattyRaceResume@naturallight.com
  • Entries are open between July 30–August 6.
I don't know how many chemical or pharmaceutical industry hiring managers watch NASCAR, but it never hurts to try... (full press release here) This doesn't commit you to drinking Natural Light, does it? 

Warning Letter of the Week: "trial analysis" edition

A letter from the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research to the President and CEO of Yuki Gosei Kogyo Co., Ltd. of Tokyo: 
1.      Failure to maintain complete data derived from all laboratory tests conducted to ensure your API complies with established specifications and standards. Your firm does not ensure that complete data from testing of your API are included in the official batch record and reviewed by your quality unit. For example, you reported passing results for related substances testing of [redacted] lot #[redacted] analyzed starting at [redacted] on July 28, 2015. However, our investigator found unreported analyses including out-of-specification (OOS) results for the same lot acquired earlier on the same date, and on the next day as the reported results. You failed to include this data to be reviewed by your quality unit prior to the release of the lot. Our investigator documented the same pattern with other products not intended for the U.S. market.

In your response, you explained that this “trial analysis” was performed on the sample solution for conditioning the high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) column. However, your explanation did not address why the “trial analysis” was performed using a sample solution instead of a standard solution, or why you ran this extra analysis in addition to the system suitability test, which verifies that a chromatographic system is adequate as set forth in USP 621.

You also acknowledged that a retrospective review conducted after the inspection found additional instances of unreported electronic data in original batch records. Your review only assessed laboratory data and did not assess all parts of your facility’s operation where CGMP information is generated and maintained. In addition, you failed to provide details of your review criteria and methodology. 
These FDA inspectors, picky-picky!