Postdoctoral Fellow (Behavioral & Neurobiological Research)

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Updated: September 10, 2019
Job ID: 213821
Status: Full-Time
Regular/Temporary: Regular
Location: Bethesda, MD, United States

Join the HJF Team!

The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF) is seeking a Postdoctoral Fellow for the Department of Pharmacology & Molecular Therapeutics, located at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, Maryland.  HJF provides scientific, technical and programmatic support services to USUHS. The incumbent will work in the laboratory of Dr. Irwin Lucki and Dr. Caroline Browne, to evaluate the therapeutic potential of ketamine and kappa opioid receptor (KOR) antagonists currently under development for the clinical treatment of depression and anxiety disorders. The successful candidate will utilize site-specific injections of KOR ligands and viral technology to knockdown opioid receptors in a region specific manner, ultimately defining a neural circuit activated by chronic stress where novel antidepressants can intervene and mollify the effects of stress on behavior.


  • The employee will work with and under the supervision of Dr. Irwin Lucki and Dr. Caroline Browne on translational preclinical research projects to discern the involvement of KOR in producing anhedonia and negative affect in mice following exposure to chronic stress
  • Independently conduct behavioral and neurobiological research studies by completing literature searches; developing hypotheses; planning and conducting experiments and tests; recording, organizing and analyzing findings; developing conclusions.
  • Develop written and oral communications skills, including formulating and writing manuscripts, proposals and presentation of findings at national and international meetings
  • Perform a wide variety of behavioral tests and develop new translationally relevant behavioral models. Conduct stereotaxic surgery and site specific injections to recapitulate the effects of systemic drug administration in awake freely moving mice in behavioral tests relevant to stress-induced depression and anxiety.
  • Utilize a wide variety of bench work including microdialysis, immunohistochemistry, qRT-PCR, and protein quantification.
  • Supervise junior research staff to include medical residents, graduate students and summer interns, to ensure that correct and safe laboratory procedures are followed; provides direction to assure completion of technical tasks and projects.

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities: The candidate would ideally have subject knowledge as reflected by publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals as appropriate to his/her research. Applicants are expected to have previous experience in animal handling, stereotaxic surgery, microinjection and behavioral testing. A good knowledge of pharmacology, microdialysis, and experience of gene knockdown using adeno-associated virus (AAV) or DREADDs (designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs) would be ideal.

Minimum Education/Training Requirements: Ph.D. in neuroscience, pharmacology or related discipline.

Minimum Experience: 0 – 2 years of experience post Ph.D.

Physical Capabilities:  Position involves exposure to chemicals, biological materials, and rodents in a laboratory setting.  Long periods of standing and/or walking may be required.

Work Environment: Behavioral psychopharmacology research and development laboratory. Uniformed Services University is the federal military medical university in the suburbs of Washington DC. We are located on the grounds of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, across the road from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.

HJF is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer.  All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status.

Any qualifications to be considered as equivalents, in lieu of stated minimums, require the prior approval of the Director of Human Resources.