Skip to main content

Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

Job Vacancy Announcement – Title 42 Staff Scientist

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Intramural Research Program (IRP)
Section on Synapse Development Plasticity

Position Overview

NIMH is seeking exceptional candidates for a Staff Scientist position in the Division of Intramural Research Programs (IRP). The appointment will be in the Section on Synapse Development Plasticity (SDP).

A principal focus of SDP is to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms for synapse development and plasticity. The current research of SDP studies mitochondria-mediated signaling in long-term synaptic depression (LTD) and gamma oscillations. LTD and gamma oscillations are induced in hippocampal slices and live mice, and the synaptic activities are monitored by using electrophysiology. The morphology and function of mitochondria when neurons undergo LTD and gamma oscillations are examined via in vivo two-photon imaging. To determine the molecular mechanisms involved mitochondria-mediated modulation of synaptic activities, candidate signaling molecules that regulate mitochondria during LTD and gamma oscillations are altered in brain slices and live mice using gene gun and virus-mediated gene delivery. In addition, iPSC-derived neurons are used to screen for pharmacological agents that modulate synaptic functions.


Candidates for this position must have a Ph.D. in neuroscience or a related discipline and at least 10 years of experience in slice electrophysiology, in vivo electrophysiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, and neural differentiation of iPSCs.

Position Duties

The Staff Scientist’s primary responsibility is to conduct independent and collaborative research on the identification and characterization of signaling molecules that regulate mitochondrial and synaptic functions by using ex vivo and in vivo electrophysiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology in hippocampal slices, live mice, and iPSCs. The Staff Scientist will also support electrophysiological, biochemical, and molecular biological experiments within SDP, attend and present at national and international meetings, and write manuscripts. Salary will be commensurate with education and experience.

How to Apply

As a condition of employment, all federal employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If selected, you must provide proof of vaccination during the onboarding process. An official job offer and continued employment are contingent on this requirement. For more information on this requirement, visit the Safer Federal Workforce page on vaccines. If you need a COVID-19 vaccine, please visit

Salary will be commensurate with education and experience. Applicants should send curriculum vitae, a one-page statement of research interests, and three letters of recommendation to Zheng Li, Ph.D., Chief, PNRC, via e-mail at:

The NIH encourages the application and nomination of qualified candidates with diverse perspectives such as underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, those with disabilities, those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and women. HHS and NIH are Equal Opportunity Employers.