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STEM PhD Careers at RTI International: A Panel Discussion with Duke Alumni

Thursday, October 24, 2019
11:30 am to 12:30 pm

What opportunities are available for STEM PhDs at RTI International? Join James Harrington, PhD ’10, Melanie Silinski, PhD ’03, and Ian Stewart, PhD ’16 for a panel discussion of their research careers at RTI International and their paths to their current positions. Lunch will be provided; please bring a beverage to enjoy.

James Harrington, Ph.D.James Harrington, PhD '10 is currently a Research Chemist in RTI International’s Discovery Sciences (DS). In this capacity, he contributes to development of environmental exposure research and other strategic areas of interest to RTI’s Center for Analytical Sciences (AS). He has also contributed to bioanalytical research projects for the National Toxicology Program (NTP) in the area of metallomics and inorganic speciation, and development of the pharmaceutical heavy metals testing program at RTI. Dr. Harrington has previously performed research with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on trace metal bioavailability in contaminated soils and on small molecule–metal interactions during his postdoctoral and doctoral studies. He has several publications in the areas of inorganic analytical methods and biogeochemistry of trace metals in the environment. His research interests include bioinorganic chemistry, environmental health, and analytical method development

Melanie Silinski, Ph.D.Melanie Silinski, PhD '03 is a Senior Research Chemist in the Discovery Sciences group at RTI International. In this capacity, she performs chemical analysis and supervises the daily activities of professional, technical, and clerical staff who work on projects that involve handling of chemicals. She serves as Task Leader for the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Chemistry Services project, which includes chemical characterization, analysis of dosage formulations, and analysis of biological samples from toxicology studies. Dr. Silinski has expertise in mass spectrometry (MS) and chromatography with applications in drug discovery and development, from early exploratory research through Investigational New Drugs (INDs). She specializes in method development and the quantitative analysis of drug substances in biological matrices, as well as structural elucidation and metabolite identification using accurate mass spectrometric and tandem mass spectrometric techniques. She is experienced in writing reports for toxicology; absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME); and chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC) sections of an IND application. Dr. Silinski reviews data and reports and regularly conducts Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) studies for government and industrial clients.

Ian Stewart, Ph.D.Ian Stewart, PhD '16 is currently a Research Chemist 1 in the Engineered Systems group at RTI International. He has a background in materials chemistry, specifically oxidation-resistant metal nanomaterials for electronic applications. In the Engineered Systems group, Dr. Stewart is exploring spray-dried, inhalable drugs for the treatment of tuberculosis and other airway pathogens as well as micro-particle and nanoparticle synthesis for enhanced oil and gas recovery. Previously, he contributed his technical expertise to a variety of projects, including hydrophobic and oleophobic textile coatings, water sanitation in developing areas, degradable epoxy formulation, and polymer nanoparticle synthesis.

RTI International is an independent, nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition with a vision is to address the world's most critical problems with science-based solutions in pursuit of a better future. Clients rely on RTI International to answer questions that demand an objective and multidisciplinary approach—one that integrates expertise across the social and laboratory sciences, engineering, and international development.

RTI International experts hold degrees in more than 250 scientific, technical, and professional disciplines across the social and laboratory sciences, engineering, and international development fields. An internal staff of nearly 5,000 works in more than 75 countries—tackling hundreds of projects each year to address complex social and scientific challenges on behalf of governments, businesses, foundations, universities, and other clients and partners including commercial clients across a wide range of industries around the world.

This event is sponsored by the Chemistry Department, The Graduate School, Duke Career Center, and the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. Questions? Contact The Graduate School's professional development team at

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Event Category

  • Professional Development
  • Professional Adaptability
  • Professionalism and Scholarly Integrity