Postdoctoral Fellowship in Neuroimaging and Ambulatory Assessment at USC

The Cognition and Affect Regulation Lab, directed by Dr. Jonathan Stange in the Department of Psychology at the University of Southern California (USC), is seeking a neuroimaging-focused postdoctoral fellow to begin in spring or summer 2024 (flexible start date, earlier is possible). This position will be funded by an NIH R01 and offers competitive salary and benefits.

Our lab seeks to identify cognitive and affective processes involved in the regulation of negative affect, in an effort to understand vulnerability factors for mood disorders and suicide. This work involves laboratory-based measures of brain activity (using fMRI), autonomic nervous system functioning (electrocardiogram and respiration), and behavior (executive functioning tasks and questionnaires). In addition, to understand behavior outside of the lab in the real world, we utilize ambulatory assessment to measure fluctuations in autonomic functioning (with wearables), sleep quality (with actigraphy), affect and regulation strategies (using ecological momentary assessment), and digital phenotyping approaches to measuring behavior (using smartphone keyboard metadata).

The R01 study will use an ambulatory phenotyping approach to identify depression subtypes characterized by unsuccessful regulation of affect and/or physiology in everyday life. We will examine potential neurophysiological mechanisms underlying each phenotype, and will attempt to modulate regulation success in everyday life using an at-home autonomic biofeedback intervention. The postdoctoral fellow will help to analyze and publish the lab’s multimodal data from a related previous study, and will help with analyzing neuroimaging and ambulatory psychophysiological data and some project management for the new study.

The postdoc will have the opportunity to develop independent research projects that use our rich data, publish first-authored papers, obtain mentorship in grant-writing and experience mentoring graduate and undergraduate students, and train in other methodologies including psychophysiology and ambulatory assessment. Applicants with a clinical psychology background will have the opportunity to obtain supervised assessment hours toward California licensure, and may be involved in supervising trainees on diagnostic interviewing. Funding is available for professional development activities on an annual basis (e.g., conference travel or training workshops). Postdocs will be encouraged to apply for independent funding in the first year of the fellowship, such as through NIH (e.g., F32 or K awards) or research foundations. We are a supportive, welcoming, and collaborative lab.

The laboratory is located within USC’s top-ranked Department of Psychology, which provides an excellent research and training environment. We have close collaborative relationships with researchers within the department and at USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute, directed by Antonio and Hanna Damasio. USC is committed to supporting the training and career development of postdoctoral fellows and its Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) offers a number of initiatives including funding for postdoctoral research, travel and training. In addition to a Ph.D. in psychology, neuroscience, or a related field, applicants should have expertise in neuroimaging data acquisition, preprocessing, and analysis and a strong desire to lead projects and publish first-authored work. Expertise in cutting-edge data analysis methods, particularly working with intensively sampled data, time series analysis, idiographic methods, and/or dynamic functional connectivity, is a major plus. Programming experience, ideally in Python, or the ability to quickly learn this language, also would facilitate success in this role.

To apply, please send a CV, a research statement describing your research interests and experiences, a cover letter describing your interest in the position, and a list of three professional references to Jonathan Stange at jstange@usc.edu.

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