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Optical Engineer/Imaging Scientist

Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience
Saint Louis, Missouri
Salary commensurate with experience
Closing date
Jun 22, 2023

Optical Engineer/Imaging Scientist (Postdoctoral Research Associate/Staff Scientist/Senior Scientist)

Yao Chen’s laboratory at Washington University in St. Louis ( is seeking a passionate Postdoctoral or staff/senior scientist/engineer who is interested in building innovative optical setups and making them useful for biological discovery. The candidate should have at least 2-3 years of experience developing optical instrumentation or microscopy methods, background in fluorescence imaging, and experience developing custom imaging software. The successful applicant will design, build, and characterize innovative optical instruments for fluorescence microscopy applications. The candidate will also have opportunities to perform optical imaging experiments and quantitative data analyses for neuroscience discovery, as well as contribute to writing research papers and grant applications.


The projects in the lab aim to understand how the spatial and temporal features of signals inside the cell respond to neuromodulators (chemicals in the brain), behavior state transitions, and learning. The imaging experiments are often combined with optogenetics and electrophysiology. The candidate has access to cutting-edge instrumentation within the lab, numerous core facilities within Washington University, and will be part of a vibrant and collegial neuroscience and engineering community.


We are committed to mentoring and offer a creative, thoughtful, and collaborative scientific environment.

We welcome individuals who value rigor, innovation, and collegiality, and will value your creativity in shaping the projects. The lab consists of a mix of kind, fearless, and dedicated students, postdocs, and staff with diverse research and cultural backgrounds. In addition to performing their own innovative work, the candidate will have opportunities to collaborate with, learn from, and mentor other lab members.  

Our lab is a member of the Department of Neuroscience at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, a large and collegial scientific community ( WashU Neuroscience is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 places worldwide for neuroscience research. Additional information on being a postdoc at Washington University in St. Louis can be found at and

St. Louis is a city rich in culture, green spaces, free museums, world-class restaurants, and thriving music and arts scenes. On top of it all, St. Louis is affordable and commuting to Washington University’s campuses is stress-free, whether you go by foot, bike, public transit, or car. The area combines the attractions of a major city with affordable lifestyle opportunities (


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.


Minimum education & experience

The appointee will have earned a Master’s degree (for staff scientist) or Ph.D. (for postdoctoral associate or senior scientist) by the time of starting the appointment.


Applicants should submit their CV, a cover letter explaining their background and interest in the position, and whether they are applying to the scientist or postdoctoral position, as well as 3 references to Dr. Yao Chen (


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