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 a NIDA-funded longitudinal study of social context effects on decision-making at the behavioral and neural levels. This study includes adolescents aged 10-17 years, from two populations: i) a low-SES community sample (N=80, recruitment finishing summer 2015) and ii) the child welfare system (N=100, recruitment beginning summer 2015). At wave one, participants complete a series of fMRI scans and also provide rs-fcMRI data, a series of saliva samples to example cortisol reactivity to social rejection, reports of engagement in health-risking behaviors related to substance use and risky sex, and assessments of individual risk and protective factors. At wave two (18 months following wave one), participants will again report on engagement in health-risking behaviors related to substance use and risky sex. We will use neural and behavioral indices of social contextual effects on decision-making processes to predict concurrent and future engagement in health-risking behaviors across these two populations of adolescents. The study is part of a larger Research Center of Excellence on Translational Drug Abuse Prevention at the Oregon Social Learning Center and Prevention Science Institute ( at the University of Oregon. The postdoctoral research associate will also interact extensively with Dr. Phil Fisher, Co-PI of the Translational Drug Abuse Prevention center and this particular study. He directs the Stress Neurobiology and Prevention lab ( as well as the new Center for Translational Neuroscience at UO. 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 fMRI (and/or resting state functional connectivity MRI) data 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. Familiarity with the child welfare system is particularly valued.

·      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.

·      Topical expertise in early adversity, decision-making, motivation, risk-taking, or social cognition.

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

·      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 another 12 months or more, depending on productivity, fit, and additional funding opportunities. 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.