Postdoctoral Research Associate - Systems Neuroscience, Neural Engineering, Neurorehabilitation

Employer
Washington University School of Medicine, Systems Neuroscience and Rehabilitation Lab
Location
Saint Louis, Missouri
Salary
Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Aug 8, 2022
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The Systems Neuroscience and Rehabilitation (SNR) Lab, led by Laura McPherson, PT, DPT, Ph.D., has two immediate openings for postdoctoral research associates. We seek motivated candidates with a strong interest in neural control of movement and systems neurophysiology.

One postdoctoral associate will take a lead role on advancing a project that investigates neural mechanisms of motor deficits in multiple sclerosis. The other will take a lead role on a collaborative, multi-site, R01-funded project that uses reverse engineering of motor unit firing patterns to identify and characterize components of the voluntary motor command at the level of the motoneuron. There are also opportunities to participate in other ongoing studies in the lab.

In the SNR Lab, we study changes in neural control of movement after neurological injury due to stroke or multiple sclerosis. We are interested in how these changes relate to specific motor deficits and investigate how they can be targeted to improve the efficacy of neurorehabilitation interventions. We also explore various aspects of neural control of movement in the intact nervous system, such as how it differs among muscles with different biomechanical functions.

We examine how the central nervous system controls movement by considering voluntary motor commands at the level of the motoneuron—the end-stage of central nervous system processing where motor commands are uniquely relevant to movement. Our work centers around the study of motor unit population discharge, recorded non-invasively using high-density surface EMG decomposition. We examine various time and frequency-domain characteristics of motor unit discharge patterns to infer information about the voluntary motor command. We couple this approach with measures of motor output and perturbations of the nervous system using stimulation.

Our growing lab is located within the Washington University School of Medicine, which provides a vibrant, highly collaborative environment for neural engineering and rehabilitation research and a demonstrated commitment to enhancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. The post-doctoral research associate will work under the mentorship of Dr. McPherson to grow their scientific and technical expertise, cultivate their independent research interests, advance their professional development, and mentor more junior lab members.

Appointee must adhere to all applicable university policies, procedures, and regulations. All data, research records and materials and other intellectual property generated in university laboratories remain the property of the university.

Additional information on being a postdoc at Washington University in St. Louis can be found at https://postdoc.wustl.edu/prospective-postdocs-2/.

 

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

-- Assists in the design of research experiments and performs experiments with human participants, who may include those with multiple sclerosis or chronic stroke.

-- Conducts quantitative analyses of complex neurophysiology and biomechanics datasets.

-- Works closely with physical therapists and Doctor of Physical Therapy student research assistants.

-- Prepares and submits manuscripts of research findings.

-- Assists with grant preparation and reporting.

-- Provides guidance and mentorship to more junior lab members.

-- Disseminates lab research through presentations both within and outside the university.

-- Serves as a liaison to other research groups to facilitate collaborations within and beyond Washington University.

 

Required Qualifications

Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent terminal or doctoral degree.

 

Preferred Qualifications

-- Ph.D. and/or M.D. degree in biomedical engineering, neuroscience, or a closely related field.

-- Experience with human neurophysiology research, quantitative analysis of biophysical signals (motor unit data analysis is strongly preferred), and MATLAB programming. 

-- Excellent writing and oral communication skills.

-- Ability to work independently and as part of a team.

-- Motivation to enhance their knowledge of experimental and analytic approaches, neurophysiology, and the field of rehabilitation.

 

Salary Range

Base pay is commensurate with experience.

 

Applicant Special Instructions

Qualified candidates are encouraged to email a curriculum vitae, a statement of research experience and interests, the names and contact information for at least three scientific references to Dr. Laura McPherson: laura.mcpherson@wustl.edu.

 

Pre-Employment Screening

All external candidates receiving an offer for employment will be required to submit to pre-employment screening for this position. The screenings will include criminal background check and, as applicable for the position, other background checks, drug screen, an employment and education or licensure/certification verification, physical examination, certain vaccinations and/or governmental registry checks. All offers are contingent upon successful completion of required screening.

 

Benefits Statement

Washington University in St. Louis is committed to providing a comprehensive and competitive benefits package to our employees. Benefits eligibility is subject to employment status, full-time equivalent (FTE) workload, and weekly standard hours. Please visit our website at https://hr.wustl.edu/benefits/ to view a summary of benefits.

 

EEO/AA Statement

Washington University is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to an individual’s sex, race, color, religion, age, disability status, protected veteran status, national or ethnic origin, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation. Women, minorities, protected veterans and the disabled are strongly encouraged to apply.

 

Diversity Statement

Washington University is dedicated to building a diverse community of individuals who are committed to contributing to an inclusive environment – fostering respect for all and welcoming individuals from diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Individuals with a commitment to these values are encouraged to apply.

 

 

 

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