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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)
Unit on the Neurobiology of Affective Memory

Position Overview

NIMH is seeking exceptional candidates for a Staff Scientist position in the Division of Intramural Research Programs (IRP), Unit on the Neurobiology of Affective Memory (UNAM). UNAM focuses on investigating the neuronal mechanisms underlying emotional and motivated behaviors and those that mediate the formation and regulation of affective memories. Its mission is to identify the neural circuit mechanisms underlying mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. To fulfill this mission, the laboratory implements a multidisciplinary approach that includes behavioral assays and cutting-edge technologies for monitoring and manipulating the activity of defined neuronal populations.


Candidates must have a Ph.D. in neuroscience or a related discipline. A strong background in behavioral neuroscience, circuit manipulation methods (e.g., optogenetics, chemogenetics), and in vivo electrophysiology in rodent models of affective states is required. Priority will be given to candidates with a strong publication record in research areas relevant to the work conducted by the UNAM (e.g., thalamocortical circuits, emotional and motivated behaviors). Experience in programming languages such as Matlab and Python is desired.

Position Duties

The Staff Scientist’s primary responsibilities include conducting independent research focused on the role of thalamic circuitry in emotional processes and establishing the method of single-unit recordings in freely moving mice in the laboratory. The individual will also develop independent projects aligned with the unit's mission and establish collaborations to broaden the scope of the unit’s research. Lastly, the individual will support and train lab members, collaborate on projects led by other unit members, attend and present at national and international meetings, and assist in writing manuscripts and animal protocols.

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 Mario Penzo, Ph.D., Chief, UNAM, 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.