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Facility Head, NIH Pain Research Center

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The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) seeks to identify an outstanding Staff Scientist 1 to be the facility head to lead activities of the new NIH Pain Research Center (PRC). The PRC is part of the NCCIH Division of Intramural Research (DIR), which conducts basic, translational, and clinical research to improve our understanding of the mechanisms of pain processing and modulation of pain. The PRC is housed within the NIH Clinical Center, the nation's largest hospital devoted entirely to clinical research. The PRC collects a wide range of measures related to human pain experience, including deep phenotyping of pain presentation and responses to pain therapies, brain imaging, genomics, and metabolomics. The PRC serves as a research, training, and diagnostic hub for intramural investigators to study and advance our knowledge of pain and pain mechanisms. The PRC facility head reports to the NCCIH scientific director, is supported by the NCCIH clinical director, and coordinates activities with NCCIH principal investigators and staff and the broader NIH research community. The PRC facility head will direct a small team of group members in the core facility and closely interact with other programs within NCCIH and other NIH intramural research program (IRP) Institutes. The core facility head will also interact with scientists and administrators to optimize the management of the core facility. The focus of this position is to lead, oversee, initiate, and coordinate PRC research activities and engage in collaborative pain and pain-related studies involving research participants and patients with researchers and clinicians across the NIH IRP. Excellent interpersonal skills are essential for this position. 

Learn more about the PRC and NCCIH DIR on the NCCIH website. 

Specific Responsibilities for the PRC Facility Head 

  • Supervise and coordinate PRC staff and activities in carrying out pain research studies involving pain-related quantitative sensory and autonomic testing and neuroimaging (e.g., functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI], positron emission tomography [PET], PET/fMRI, functional near-infrared spectroscopy [fNIRS], electroencephalography [EEG]) in patients and healthy volunteers.
  • Lead and oversee day-to-day operations of the PRC, including procurements, budgets, meeting regulatory standards, short- and long-term goals, and coordination of resources (e.g., equipment, scan time, and personnel) based on study requirements. 
  • Work with investigators from multiple NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) to design sensory, autonomic, and imaging testing procedures to best characterize pain conditions associated with population specific conditions, treatments, and diseases. 
  • Create and conduct new research studies as principal investigator with a focus on pain mechanisms and nonopioid, noninvasive (e.g., transcranial magnetic stimulation [TMS], transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation [tVNS], transcranial direct current stimulation [tDCS], virtual reality [VR]) methods of pain modulation.
  • Facilitate the training of staff within the PRC and across collaborating ICs on testing procedures and ensure their competencies.
  • Assist collaborators as a consultant in the development of clinical protocols to study pain mechanisms.
  • Participate in data analysis and interpretation of sensory, autonomic, and neuroimaging data for presentations at scientific meetings and for scientific publications.
  • Serve as a media spokesperson for the NCCIH PRC.

Required Qualifications
Applicants must have a Ph.D. and/or M.D. in fields/specialties related to neuroscience and pain. In addition, applicants must have expertise in designing and conducting clinical research studies, as well as experience in one or more of the procedures and technologies used within the PRC for behavioral, sensory, and autonomic measures (e.g., Pathways, QSTLab, Biopac, E-Prime, Eyelink, Digitimer, laser doppler imaging), neuromodulation (e.g., tVNS, TMS, tDCS, VR), neuroimaging (e.g., fMRI, PET, PET/fMRI, fNIRS, EEG), and related software and programming languages (e.g., FMRIB’s Software Library [FSL], Statistical Parametric Mapping [SPM], Analysis of Functional NeuroImages [AFNI], MATrix LABoratory [MATLAB], and Python). Applicants may have expertise in other research areas (e.g., genomics research) that may be pursued under the PRC as well.

Salary and Benefits
Salary will be commensurate with Staff Scientist I level, depending on experience and accomplishments. A full civil service package of benefits (retirement; health, life, and long-term care insurance; Thrift Savings Plan; etc.) is available. The appointment would be through the Title 42 mechanism

How To Apply
Interested candidates should submit a letter of interest, including a brief description of your research and administrative experience related to the position; a separate statement describing your mentoring and outreach activities in which you have been involved, especially those involving women and persons from racial/ethnic or other groups that are underrepresented in biomedical research; a curriculum vitae (CV) and bibliography; and two letters of recommendation from references familiar with your expertise, and research experience. Application packages should be sent by email to Mr. James Thompson at Please include in the subject line NCCIH PRC Facility Head Application [insert your name]. Questions should be directed to Mr. Thompson at the same email address.

[Updated 4/28/23] Applications will be accepted beginning April 1, 2023. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Review of applications will begin on or about May 15, 2023. This position is subject to a background check.



NIH and NCCIH are committed to building a diverse workforce and promoting an inclusive environment. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and NIH are Equal Opportunity Employers.