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Research Specialist - Sparta Lab

Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago
Chicago, Illinois
Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Nov 27, 2023

View more

Graduate School or University
Job Function
Clinical Services
Research Area
Position Type
Full Time
Entry Level

The Research Specialist in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois Chicago (Dr. Dennis R Sparta) will investigating the neural circuits of neuropsychiatric diseases, with a focus in alcohol use disorder (AUD).  The Research Specialist will lead their own research project from start to completion including all behavioral, optogenetics, electrophysiological and histology experiments as well as data analyses, and manuscript preparation to study the neurobiological mechanisms underlying substance use disorder and anxiety-like behavior.  They will also perform basic lab functions including general lab upkeep, mouse colony management and genotyping, maintaining lab records and logs, and lab ordering.

Essential Functions:

  • Develop their own research project which will examine how brain reward circuits become altered during alcohol use and withdrawal leading to increased anxiety-like behavior and decreased analgesia.
  • Complete a literature search, develop experiments with assistance from the Principal Investigator, run all experiments including mouse surgery, mouse behavior, confocal microscopy, optogenetics, fiber photometry and slice electrophysiology.
  • Train staff and trainees in advanced laboratory research activities including animal handling and training in behavioral tasks, managing mouse colonies and performing mouse genotyping.
  • Perform routine laboratory maintenance and research activities such as; general housekeeping, preparing chemical solutions; and ordering with the university PCARD and stocking laboratory supplies.
  • Compile and analyze research data using various relevant computer software application
  • Lead on literature research, editing and preparing manuscripts, scientific illustrations and computer graphics for publication.
  • Perform administrative duties such as; Pcard reallocations and lab financials
  • Work collaboratively on multifaceted projects.
  • Participate in the design of research studies.
  • Other duties as assigned.



Minimum Qualifications:

Bachelor’s degree in science or related field required.

A minimum of 3 years related research experience.

Possesses and applies comprehensive knowledge of research principles, concepts, practices and methods.

Proficient in specific lab research techniques.

Preferred Qualifications:

Bachelor’s degree in neuroscience or psychology.

A minimum of 1 year with circuit mapping techniques

May require training related to occupational safety and health, environmental compliance, shipping of hazardous materials and/ or ionizing radiation.

Mouse handling experience is essential.

Strong communication and interpersonal skills, excellent organizational skills, and a proven ability to work independently.

Working Conditions

General office environment.  Since they will lead their own research project, travel will occur occasionally so the they can present their data at research conferences.  Requires sitting for extended periods of time, standing, visual acumen, manual dexterity and fingering for working with live mice, computer keyboards, etc.

To Apply

Candidates will need to electronically submit an online application at the UIC Job Board and upload a cover letter, CV, and provide the names and email addresses of three references within the online application. Applications are due November 27, 2023 by 5PM CST. Questions about the position may be directed to Prof. Dennis R Sparta; 

University Pre-Employment Information

The University of Illinois Chicago is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer, dedicated to the goal of building a culturally diverse and pluralistic faculty and staff committed to teaching and working in a multicultural environment. We are committed to equal employment opportunity regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran or disability status. 


The University of Illinois may conduct background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. Background checks will be performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. 


The University of Illinois System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more information, see the HR website. 

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