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Staff Scientist 1, NIH Section on Sensory Cells and Circuits

Application Deadline: June 22, 2023

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This position is in the Section on Sensory Cells and Circuits (SSCC), Division of Intramural Research (DIR), National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NCCIH DIR conducts basic, translational, and clinical research to improve our understanding of neural mechanisms of pain processing and nonpharmacologic modulation of pain. More detailed information about the NCCIH DIR may be found at The SSCC investigates neural and molecular mechanisms for touch, pain, and interoception in mice and human subjects. The section currently consists of one senior investigator, one staff scientist, one biologist, four postdoctoral fellows, two graduate students, and three postbaccalaureate fellows. The program works with a large transgenic mouse colony and utilizes advanced anatomical, imaging, and recording techniques to probe the function of specific cell-types and genes that mediate the somatosensory and interoceptive systems. In parallel, the section collaborates with the NIH Pain Research Center (PRC) to study human subjects with rare inherited diseases that affect mechanosensation. A goal of the PRC is to uncover potential therapeutic targets for a variety of acute and chronic pain syndromes and other disorders involving touch, proprioception, and interoception that lack effective treatments.

NCCIH seeks a second staff scientist to support SSCC in performing anatomical and functional analyses of neural circuits in the central nervous system (CNS) in transgenic mice, assist in performing physiological recordings from human subjects, develop data pipelines and code for the curation and analyses of functional recordings, and support the general lab operations of SSCC. 

The anatomical, physiological, and analytical specialist will work on pain-related studies and other studies related to touch, proprioception, and interoception. The specialist will also be responsible for data acquisition, data curation and coding, and protocol development and Federal compliance. For more information on NCCIH DIR SSCC, please visit For more information on the NCCIH DIR, please visit  

Specific responsibilities for the staff scientist include:

  • Lead neural circuit studies in the CNS involving anatomical reconstruction with viral vectors and tracers, conduct antibody staining and RNA in situ hybridization of tissue.
  • Conduct vibratome and Cryostat sections, whole tissue clearing, and imaging with confocal and two-photon microscopes.
  • Lead studies to decipher neural network function by using functional recordings of CNS neurons (brain and with at least 3 to 5 years of experience with spinal cord) in vivo and in slice using electrophysiology, optogenetic, chemogenetic, and imaging approaches; behavioral analyses of sensory-motor systems and experience using semi-automated videographic analysis systems.
  • Lead independent projects and work as a team member within the section as well as collaborate with other investigators at NIH and support human work performed by SSCC with the PRC.
  • Perform data and statistical analyses, make figures, and write manuscripts; mentor junior members and review manuscripts, grant proposals, and other lab-related documents; assist with the training of new group members and trainees on techniques used by the lab.
  • Develop data curation and analysis pipelined by writing software code and creating standard operating procedures (SOPs).
  • Manage the section’s protocols and ensure compliance with safety regulations; be the point of contact for shipping and be responsible for general lab function. 

Required Qualifications
Applicants must have a Ph.D. degree in neuroscience or equivalent and at least 8 years of postdoctoral experience. The ideal candidate must have technical expertise in neural circuit anatomy, microscopy/optics, animal behavior, small animal surgery, patch clamp and in vivo recording, slice physiology, optogenetics, and in vivo functional recording of spinal cord and other brain regions, and be well versed in working with Python, MATLAB, pCLAMP, PRISM, and ImageJ.

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 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 Staff Scientist 1 Application [insert your name]. Questions should be directed to Mr. James Thompson at the same email address.

Applications will be accepted beginning Monday May 22, 2023, and must be received by 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, June 22, 2023, for consideration in the review period. Review of applications will begin on or about June 23, 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.