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Scientist (contract position) – Laboratory of Neuropsychology

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Division of Intramural Research Programs (IRP)
Laboratory of Neuropsychology (LN)

Program Overview

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a major research component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), is seeking an exceptional candidate to provide services as a Scientist (Contractor) via our Scientific, Operations and Administrative Resources (SOAR) contract mechanism in the Division of Intramural Research Programs (IRP), Laboratory of Neuropsychology (LN). The LN conducts research on the brain mechanisms of perception, attention, learning and memory, emotion and decision making. It is comprised of five research teams: the Section on the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, led by Dr. Elisabeth (Betsy) Murray; the Section on Neural Coding and Computation, headed by Dr. Barry Richmond; the Section on Cognitive Neurophysiology and Imaging, led by Dr. David Leopold; the Section on Learning and Decision Making, led by Dr. Bruno Averbeck; and the Unit on Neurons, Circuits and Behavior, headed by Dr. Arash Afraz.

The five research groups in the laboratory focus on different questions, but they are closely related. In all of the work, there is a strong emphasis on visual processing, reward processing, and the neural bases of learning, memory and decision making. Each team employs different, but complementary methods to answer their questions. As a result, the laboratory’s investigators and their support teams operate in a collaborative and collegial environment, with substantial synergy. In addition to shared interests, laboratory members share scientific resources, such as the equipment required for histology, microscopy and surgery. The laboratory also adheres to a set of core values, which includes placing a high priority on cutting-edge methods, outstanding training and mentorship, and the efficient use of resources.

Position Overview

The contract Scientist’s primary responsibilities include independently providing surgical services, including: head posts and chamber placement, chronic electrode and LED array implantation, stereotaxic and visualized aspiration lesions and injections of virus/tracer. Additionally, the Staff Scientist is responsible for independently directing and conducting special research projects that have a high priority for the laboratory with special emphasis on the development of novel research treatments and surgical techniques as well as evaluates, analyzes, and interprets research data and communicates results and methods in reports, presentations, and manuscripts. The Staff Scientist will also be responsible for maintaining and performing staff training on scientific instrumentation, including operating microscopes (Zeiss, Tivato 700), surgical neuronavigation system (Cortexplore), Stereotaxic and low-profile head holders (Jerry-rig, USA), Surgical instruments, microfluidic virus injection apparatus, and chronic electrode recording array implantation systems (Blackrock, and others). The Staff Scientist will work with all staff to confirm assay results and evaluate new techniques and instruments, search literature, propose, design and test alternative techniques for surgical procedures, confirm assay results, develop secondary assays and prepare and/or revise Animal Study Proposals to support research goals. The Staff Scientist will be expected to present results of experimental research at recognized scientific meetings, produce reports and regularly communicate results to staff and collaborators and mentor and train staff on the proper usage of surgical instruments and advise staff in surgical techniques and approaches.


The following qualifications are required:

  1. A Master’s Degree or higher in physical sciences, histology, neuroscience or a related discipline; A Bachelor’s degree plus 10 years of specialized experience in physical sciences, histology, neuroscience or a related discipline will also be considered. 
  2. We are seeking someone with specific skills, knowledge and experience with nonhuman primate (NHP) surgery (surgical skills and techniques). 
  3. Experience with Animal Handling with Non-Human Primates.

The following qualifications are desirable but not required:

  1. Microscopy (brightfield/confocal).
  2. Experience with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computed Tomography (CT).
  3. Histology experience.
  4. Experience with Intramuscular Injections.
  5. Experience with Subcutaneous Injections.

How to Apply

The position is open to both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens. Interested candidates must submit a current curriculum vitae, a statement of research background and interest in the position, and two letters of recommendation addressed to: Dr. Elisabeth (Betsy) A. Murray, Chief, LN, NIMH via e-mail at

Applications will be accepted until DATE: January 9, 2024

Information on the SOAR Contract

The SOAR Contract is a non-personal services contract which provides critical services across all Institutes and Centers (ICs) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH requires qualified and experienced Contractor support on a full-range of activities, including new and in-progress research projects, program deployment and implementation, and other activities necessary to conduct the business and fulfill the mission of NIH's biomedical research program. The SOAR Contract was awarded to 5 vendors with a 60- month period of performance.

Equal Employment Opportunity

The NIH encourages the application and nomination of qualified women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities. HHS and NIH are Equal Opportunity Employers.