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STAFF SCIENTIST – Laboratory of Neuropsychology (LN)

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 exceptional candidates for a Staff Scientist position 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 Staff 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.


Candidates must hold a Ph.D., in physical sciences, histology, neuroscience or a related discipline. In particular, we are seeking someone with specific skills, knowledge and experience with nonhuman primate (NHP) surgery (surgical skills and techniques). Experience with MRI and CT, and/or histology and microscopy (brightfield/confocal) would be valuable.


How to Apply

The position is open to both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens. Applications from women, persons from underrepresented groups, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged. Salary will be commensurate with education and experience. The position is subject to a background check. 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 A (Betsy) Murray, Chief, LN, NIMH via e-mail at

Applications will be accepted until DATE: January 9, 2024

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.