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RAP opportunity at National Institute of Standards and Technology     NIST

Methods to Evaluate Partition Coefficients of Biologically Active Molecules


Material Measurement Laboratory, Applied Chemicals and Materials Division

opportunity location
50.64.72.C0393 Boulder, CO

NIST only participates in the February and August reviews.


name email phone
Kavita M Jeerage 303.497.4968


The partitioning behavior of drug molecules, metabolites, and other biologically active molecules between arterial blood and exhaled breath provides the thermochemical foundation for new noninvasive breath analysis techniques. Law enforcement applications include the development of breath analysis devices for the quantitative measurement of drug levels. Health care applications include screening for disease or exposure to toxins. Headspace analysis is a powerful measurement tool to characterize partitioning between blood and breath. We seek proposals to develop, optimize and deploy a headspace collection method to measure partition coefficients at physiological temperatures. We are especially interested in methods that target molecules that are challenging to measure due to instability, very low volatility, or very low solubility.

Octanol – water partitioning is a frequently measured partitioning equilibrium and can be used to estimate the distribution of drugs in the body and the accumulation of chemicals by organisms in the environment. This approach ignores the difference between storage lipids (triacylglycerides) and membrane lipids (phospholipids), which constitute the cell membrane. Human tissues vary in their proportion of lipids, with fat tissue containing primarily storage lipids and the brain containing relatively more membrane lipids. Partitioning into storage vs. membrane lipids is particularly important for psychoactive molecules. We seek proposals to experimentally evaluate partitioning in storage lipids vs. membrane lipids for molecules of interest such as cannabinoids or other drugs.

Postdoctoral associates will have access to a full analytical chemistry facility, including gas or liquid chromatography with mass spectrometric detection (GC-MS, GC-QToF-MS/MS, and LC-MS), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering (DLS), and BSL-2 facilities for handling human samples.

key words
blood; breath; drugs; fat; forensics; lipids; partitioning


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$82,764.00 $3,000.00
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