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USP Summer Internship Program 2013 for graduates in chemistry, biology, biochemistry or pharmacy

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The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) is a non–governmental, official public standards–setting authority for prescription and over–the–counter medicines and other healthcare products manufactured or sold in the United States. USP also sets widely recognized standards for food ingredients and dietary supplements. USP sets standards for the quality, purity, strength, and consistency of these products–critical to the public health. USP's standards are recognized and used in more than 130 countries around the globe. These standards have helped to ensure public health throughout the world for close to 200 years.


The USP Summer Internship Program offers students of chemistry, pharmaceutical sciences, and related science disciplines the fulfilling opportunity to spend 12 weeks at USP working on a defined project that expands and enhances USP's core strategic initiatives focusing on the following areas

  • Healthcare Quality Standards—Assist in updating the Medicare Model Guidelines categories and classes of drug products that may be used by prescription drug plans. Updates will reflect changes in therapeutic uses and the additions of new Medicare Part D drugs. Assist in the development of standards related to patient safety including, but not limited to, revisions to USP pictograms, research related to labeling and physical environments that promote safe medication use e.g., procurement, prescribing, transcribing, order entry, preparation, dispensing, administration, and monitoring of medications.
  • Quality of Manufactured Medicines—Assist in developing and validating monograph procedures in USP’s Applied Research and Development Laboratory. Duties include performing laboratory testing using FTIR, NIR, or Raman instrumentation to analyze the quality of pharmaceutical active ingredients and excipients. The data collected would serve as a basis for the development of a monograph procedure or general information chapter for identification and/or adulteration/contamination detection. This project would help USP in developing their own data for the most frequently used excipients in common medicines. This project will require experience with handling of chemicals and precise documentation of experimental conditions and findings.
  • Quality of Manufactured Medicines—Engage in the structural elucidation of active pharmaceutical impurities. Duties will include the collection of mass spectra and NMR spectra and assistance with interpretation. Degradation impurities associated with medicines having a high health impact risk factor will be targeted. The elucidation of the degradant structure will allow USP to synthesize and develop these into reference standards.
  • USP Reference Standard Testing—Participate in the analytical testing of candidate reference materials in the Reference Standards Laboratory (RSL). Work closely with RSL scientists to perform analytical tests using USP monograph test methods, critically review obtained results and participate in the preparation of analytical reports. Test procedures may include some or all of the following: Loss on Drying, Karl Fischer Titration, UV and Infrared Spectroscopy, and chromatographic techniques. This project would help USP in releasing new lots of USP reference standards which will be used in pharmaceutical testing in the USA and abroad.


  • Reference Standards—This project relates to the assurance of stability of USP reference standards. Although this is not a laboratory-based position, the applicant should have an interest in analytical chemistry and the application of basic statistics.
  • Excipients—Assist in the development of a harmonized, global compendia viscosity standard. Duties include collecting and reviewing current official USP, EP, JP, BP, ChP compendia viscosity standards, associated literature and USP historical revision files relating to official USP viscosity chapters and USP–NF monographs that reference these chapters. The project’s findings will serve as a basis for development of a harmonized chapter/monograph procedure(s) for viscosity determination.

Eligibility and Requirements
Undergraduate sophomores, juniors, or seniors and graduate students majoring in chemistry, biology, biochemistry or pharmacy are eligible. In addition, graduate students in pharmaceutical sciences are also eligible. You must have completed basic chemistry courses, including quantitative chemical analysis. International students must possess the appropriate visa. Applicants must exhibit self-motivation and independent work habits, excellent oral and written communication skills, computer competence, and ability to apply their education and experience.

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General Requirements

  • Applicants must exhibit
  • self-motivation and independent work habits
  • excellent oral and written communication skills
  • computer competence
  • the ability to apply their education and experience

Duration: 12 weeks, 37.5 hour work week
Location: U.S. Pharmacopeia Headquarters
Dates: May 20, 2013–August 9, 2013
Compensation: Participants receive an hourly rate for each hour worked. Interns are responsible for travel, housing, and living expenses.
Application Deadline: March 4, 2013

The program provides interns with the opportunity to

  • enhance appreciation and understanding of USP's activities in standards-setting, core compendial activities, and global public health
  • advance scientific and/or practice knowledge
  • contribute to USP's research and standards knowledge base in a tangible way

Application Procedures and Deadline
Submit 1) resume, 2) transcript, 3) letter of recommendation, and 4) essay (no more than 300 words) describing your interest and aspirations in the pharmaceutical, food, and dietary supplements laboratory sciences to OnaLee Dougherty. Applications must be mailed to USP Headquarters or emailed and received no later than March 4, 2013. USP will contact applicants quickly following the deadline to schedule interviews.


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