Post Doctoral Research Associate, Developmental Social Neuroscience (DSN) Lab

Position Summary – Post Doctoral Research Associate, Developmental Social Neuroscience (DSN) Lab


We are seeking a postdoctoral research associate to work with the Developmental Social Neuroscience (DSN) Lab headed by Dr. Jennifer Pfeifer (, on an NIMH-funded prospective longitudinal study of risk for adolescent-emergent mental health problems in girls as they transition through puberty. In a community sample of 170 girls (initial age 11 ± 1 years), the project will assess: i) levels of adrenal and gonadal hormones associated with pubertal development, as well as anthropometric data and secondary sex characteristics; ii) brain structure, anatomical connectivity (diffusion tensor imaging), and resting-state functional connectivity; iii) brain functioning and behavior related to social process (self-evaluation, mentalizing, and affiliation); and iv) mental health symptoms (particularly of depression, anxiety, and deliberate self-harm). These measures will be collected three times over five years (every 18 months). The rich multilevel dataset will be analyzed using advanced statistical modeling techniques to describe the cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships between developmental patterns in each of these domains. The postdoctoral research associate will also interact extensively with Dr. Nick Allen, Co-I on the study and director of the Affective Development and Psychopathology Team (ADAPT). Given the scope of the project, a combination of the following qualities, skills, and interests are highly desirable.


Minimum qualifications:

·      PhD in Psychology, Neuroscience, or a related discipline.

·      Extensive experience with acquiring, analysing, and interpreting MRI research (in at least one of the modalities listed above) as part of candidate’s doctoral training.

·      Significant history of conducting research with adolescent and/or clinical populations as part of candidate’s doctoral training.

·      Excellent organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills, including the ability to function effectively as a team member and team leader. Experience working in a team environment, requiring participatory decision-making and cooperative interactions among employees.

·      Strong computer, statistical, and technical skills (Matlab, Python, R, SPM, FSL, AFNI, or similar platforms).


Preferred qualifications:

·      Experience in collecting biological samples for hormonal assays and analyzing the resultant data.

·      Experience in collecting and analyzing data relevant to pubertal development.

·      Topical expertise in social cognition, self, motivation, depression, and/or anxiety.

·      Strong record of publications (including first-author manuscripts) in peer-reviewed journals.

·      Familiarity and comfort with implementing advanced statistical methodologies for longitudinal and multimethod data.

·      Experience in the planning, implementation, and tracking of a research project comprising multiple assessments.

·      Interest in community outreach (primarily at schools).


The postdoctoral appointment is an initial 12 month contract with potential to renew for up to four additional years, depending on productivity and fit. Applicants intending to stay a minimum of two years are preferred. To apply, please submit a CV and a cover letter describing research interests and expertise, including at least three references, and clearly identifying your interest in this particular position, to Jennifer Pfeifer (


The target start date (flexible) is between September 1, 2015 and January 1, 2016. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.