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Staff Scientist 1 - Unit on the Neurobiology of Affective Memory (UNAM)

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Division of Intramural Research Programs (IRP)
Unit on the Neurobiology of Affective Memory (UNAM)

Program Overview

The Unit on the Neurobiology of Affective Memory (UNAM), a major research component of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institutes of Health (NIH), is seeking exceptional candidates for a Staff Scientist 1 position. The UNAM is focused 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, as well as cutting edge technologies for monitoring and manipulating the activity of defined neuronal populations.

Position Duties

This Staff Scientist’s primary responsibilities include conducting independent research focused on the role of thalamocortical circuitry in emotional processes and support ongoing research using in vivo electrophysiology methods in freely moving mice. In addition, the candidate is expected to establish methods for head restrained micorendoscopic imaging of single neuron activity in deep areas of the mouse brain, and adapt existing behavioral task performed in UNAM for head-fixed subjects. The individual will also develop independent projects aligned with the mission of the unit 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 members of the unit, attend, and present at national and international meetings, and assist in writing manuscripts and animal protocols.


Applicants 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 and calcium imaging (e.g., miniscope) in rodent models of affective states is required. Candidates should have experience in electronic engineering, as well as in the design and fabrication of drive implants for chronic tetrode recordings. The incumbent must be proficient in statistical methods for analyzing biomedical data and should have extensive experience in the programming languages Matlab, Python, and Labview. 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).

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted from April 24, 2023 to May 23, 2023. If you are interested in this position, please send your curriculum vitae, a one-page statement of research interest, and at least three letters of recommendation to Dr. Mario Penzo, Chief, UNAM, via e-mail at:


The Staff Scientist 1 will be appointed at a salary commensurate with their qualifications and experience. In addition, full federal benefits, including leave, health and life insurance, long-term care insurance, retirement, and savings plan (401K equivalent), are available.

HHS and NIH are equal opportunity employers

The NIH is dedicated to building a diverse community in its training and employment programs and encourages the application and nomination of qualified women, minorities, and individuals with disabilities.