Post Doctoral Research Associate - Neural Circuit Dynamics Underlying Executive Function

Job Details

Job no: 509749
Work type: Post Doc (Amherst Only)
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: Psychology and Brain Sci
Union: Post Doc
Categories: Postdoctoral Research Associate, College of Natural Sciences

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.

Job Summary

Perform research as determined mutually by position occupant and professorial supervisor, conducting research related to prefrontal cortex control of action decisions using circuit-level techniques in behaving rats. This work will involve collaboration with the lab of Dr. Ethan Meyers at Yale University/Hampshire College to develop and apply new ensemble decoding techniques to understand the relationship between neural signals and behavior. The appointee will be expected to engage in collaborative and independent research on these topics. S/He will interact with faculty, graduate students, and other postdoctoral fellows in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, audit courses, and attend seminars.

Essential Functions

Examples of duties:

  • Recording and analyzing neural ensemble activity in prefrontal cortex using Neuropixels.
  • Work in collaboration with the Meyers lab to analyze neurophysiological data.
  • To be engaged in all aspects of planning and carrying out research, including designing experiments, collecting data, analyzing data and helping to write up results for publication.
  • Write reports and/or papers on completed research in cooperation with professorial supervisor.
  • Maintain literature awareness of research area.
  • Present research results orally to professional groups.
  • Participate in group and divisional seminars in field(s) of study and in Department Colloquia.
  • Interact collegially with others in the laboratory, the Department, and elsewhere at the University.
  • Collaborate with professorial supervisor in the preparation of research proposals.
  • Maintain laboratory and apparatus as applicable in the best possible order; look up catalog numbers and costs of needed research items.
  • Oversee undergraduates volunteering time in the lab.

Other Functions

  • Work collaboratively and effectively to promote teamwork, diversity, equality and inclusiveness. In the performance of work, take initiative, be creative, and operate with self-direction.
  • Work in partnership with colleagues within the CNS community and across the campus to support the Dean’s strategic priorities.
  • Perform other duties as assigned in support of the mission and goals of the College of Natural Sciences.

Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • A doctorate or MD in neuroscience or a related discipline.
  • Experience in in vivo electrophysiology and/or analysis of neural data is preferred.
  • Working knowledge and expertise in Rodent behavior, stereotaxic surgery, optogenetics/chemogenetics, cellular (Ca2+ or voltage) imaging, coding (Python, Matlab, R, etc.), or basic electronics/engineering skills.
  • Manual dexterity and laboratory skills consistent with the research being performed.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Ability to do library research.
  • Use of computers in research.
  • Initiative, drive, and scientific creativity.
  • Ability to communicate ideas to others.

Work Schedule

Monday - Friday, flexible, 40 hours a week (100% FTE).

Salary Information

Salary commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Special Instructions to Applicants

Submit a letter of application, resume, and contact information for three (3) professional references. Apply by September 15, 2021 in order to ensure priority consideration. Search may remain open until a suitable candidate pool has been identified.

As part of a commitment to their own multicultural community, CNS seeks an individual with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and one who will understand and embrace university initiatives and aspirations. (

UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University. To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans. It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

Advertised: Aug 23 2021 Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close:


The University of Massachusetts Amherst is one of the preeminent public research universities in America. Nestled in idyllic Amherst, Massachusetts—often called “The top college town in North America”—the campus is consistently ranked among the top public research universities in the nation, and offers a rich cultural environment in a rural setting close to major urban centers. 

As one of the nation's top public research universities – as measured by national and international rankings, academic citations, and research funding – the campus spends more than $180 million on research each year, demonstrating its contribution to the nation’s position as a technological and economic leader. The university works in conjunction with academic, government, and private partners to translate new knowledge and scientific discoveries into technical innovations and scholarly works that create opportunities for students, faculty and the public. 

Eight schools and colleges offer more than 85 undergraduate majors, 68 master’s and 48 doctoral degree programs, many counted among the top programs in the nation and world. UMass Amherst is also home to New England's premier honors college.

The 1,159 full-time faculty members are dedicated teachers and world-renowned researchers and the campus has regularly been listed among the top performers in terms of faculty awards. With over 24,000 students from all 50 states and over 70 countries, the student body is the most academically successful in the history of the campus. Students participate in 240 organizations, 21 NCAA Division I athletic teams, extensive intramurals, living-learning residence halls, community service, and internships. With one of the largest residential life systems in the nation, UMass Amherst houses approximately 12,000 students on campus. The university is enjoying a facilities renaissance, including new buildings in the sciences, the arts, and recreation. UMass Amherst is part of the Five College consortium with Smith, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire and Amherst colleges.

As an employer, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is a national leader in developing family-friendly policies, benefits and amenities designed to help faculty members develop both productive careers and satisfying personal lives. The university offers one of the nation’s most generous parental leave policies. The university is also part of the Academic Career Network, a regional consortium formed to serve dual-career couples and encourage greater diversity in the academy.


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