Postdoctoral Research Associate Position at Washington University- St. Louis

June 20, 2021

Postdoctoral Research Associate Position in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Laboratory for Child Brain Development
Department of Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Division, Washington University- St. Louis

The Laboratory for Child Brain Development (LCBD-PI: Dr. Susan Perlman) has an immediate opening for a postdoctoral training position to collaborate on several NIH funded studies.

The applicant’s main appointment will be in the Laboratory for Child Brain Development ( in the Washington University- St. Louis, School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, William Greenleaf Elliot Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (  The LCBD is dedicated to using multi-modal methodology to understand the trajectories of emotional development from infancy to middle childhood (with a strong preschool focus) in order to predict the onset of mental disorder.

The postdoc will have the opportunity to train in multi-modal neuroimaging methods including MRI, NIRS, EEG.  Behavioral (Eye-tracking, clinical interview), physiology (RSA), and immunology measures (hair and salivary cortisol, inflammatory markers) and also included in our research program.  Opportunities for publication include four main studies:

  1. The EmoGrow Project: This study followed 4-5 year old children for two years to examine how early temperament predicts the onset of psychopathology and how the parent-child relationship can buffer these negative outcomes.  Data collection has finished in the complete sample of 151 children and includes MRI, NIRS, and behavioral methods (parent-child) interaction.
  2. Parent and Me PCIT: This completed study examined parent-child interaction using interacting fNIRS in a sample of families seeking PCIT treatment.
  3. The CARE Study: This project, which began data collection in winter 2021 is designed to study the biological unfolding of early-life stress as a precursor to psychopathology.  We will employ intensive, state-of-the-art, multi-modal, neurodevelopmental measurement in a sample of 225 4-6 year-old children and their parent, including fMRI, interpersonal neural synchronization between parent and child using fNIRS, facial expression and behavioral coding, hair and salivary cortisol, and measurement of inflammatory markers.  The CARE study recruits children experiencing attachment-related stress as a model for the biological unfolding of stress, while also examining external stressors and those that occur throughout the course of the study.  In this longitudinal study, families will be followed every 6 months across a 1.5 year time period.
  4. Parent-to-Child Anxiety Transmission: A new project, expected to begin in Fall 2021, will examine parental transmission of anxiety to preschool children.  This project includes fNIRS, EEG, and behavioral coding and will focus on parent-child interaction and socialization of anxious behaviors through child observation.  A subaim of the study focuses on anxiety transmission in fathers.

The postdoctoral fellow will be an integral member of the scientific team at the Laboratory for Child Brain Development and will have rich opportunities to publish and present at conferences using all available laboratory data.  The fellow will also be encouraged and supported to develop supplementary studies via the NIH NRSA and/or K Award mechanisms in addition to smaller foundation grants.  The postdoctoral fellow will develop, implement, and disseminate cutting-edge fMRI and fNIRS analysis tools through Dr. Perlman’s Laboratory for Child Brain Development and in collaboration with local and national collaborators.

The Washington University-St. Louis, Department of Psychiatry provides an ideal training environment for postdoctoral fellows, including the Career and Research Development Seminars designed to promote the professional, career development, and grantsmanship skills necessary to launch an independent career through the NIH K Award mechanism.  Wash U is home to a thriving neuroimaging community and is a leader in developmental psychopathology research.  St. Louis and the local surrounding areas offer an affordable, diverse, and family-friendly community with rich university resources.

Position requires a PhD or MD/PhD in a neuroscience, psychology, computer science, or engineering related field.  The ideal candidate will have fluency in MATLAB, Python, or related language and expertise in fMRI, fNIRS, or EEG and will be able to implement cutting-edge neuroimaging analysis techniques such as network analyses, Multi-Variate Pattern Analysis, or hyperscanning.  The successful candidate will have an excellent publication record with demonstrated interest in developmental cognitive neuroscience and will combine a collaborative orientation with the ability to function well independently.

The postdoctoral fellowship is open immediately, however, the position will remain open until filled.  The LCBD is willing to hold the position for availability of the ideal candidate.  The fellow will be asked to commit to a minimum of 2 years on the project, however, the position may be extended up to 4 years contingent upon progress.  Applicants will be considered until the position is filled.  To apply please send a cover letter, C.V., and names and contact information of three references to: Susan Perlman, Ph.D. at  Questions can be addressed to Dr. Perlman directly.

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