Postdoctoral Fellow - Neuroscience

Updated: April 25, 2019
Job ID: 214703
Status: Full-Time
Regular/Temporary: Regular
Location: Bethesda, MD, United States

Join the HJF Team!

HJF is seeking a Postdoctoral Fellow to train in the laboratory of Dr. Kari Johnson at the Department of Pharmacology located at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, MD. HJF provides scientific, technical and programmatic support services to the Department of Pharmacology.

Dr. Kari Johnson, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, invites qualified candidates to apply for the position of Postdoctoral Fellow. Research in the Johnson Laboratory focuses on physiological adaptations in basal ganglia circuits that occur following chronic alcohol exposure in mice, and how these adaptations relate to cognitive impairments caused by alcohol. We are particularly interested in roles of G protein-coupled receptors in modulating neurotransmission at basal ganglia synapses and how these receptors modify behavior under both normal and pathological conditions.

ABOUT USUHS: The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) is the Nation's Federal Health Sciences University and is committed to excellence in military medicine and public health during peace and war. USUHS services the uniformed services and the Nation as an outstanding academic health sciences center with a worldwide perspective for education research service, and consultation and uniquely relates these activities to military medicine, disaster medicine and military medical readiness. The Department of Pharmacology & Molecular Therapeutics, at the Uniformed Services University, is located on the campus of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, adjacent to the National Institutes of Health and in close proximity to the biotechnology corridor in suburban Maryland. The area is rich in scientific opportunities and cultural offerings. For further information, visit our websites at


  1. In collaboration with Dr. Johnson and other laboratory members, design, execute, and analyze mouse behavioral experiments with a focus on operant conditioning paradigms.
  2. Techniques used will include stereotaxic surgery, in vivo manipulation of circuits using optogenetic and chemogenetic techniques, and behavioral pharmacology. Opportunities for training in additional techniques such as ex vivo patch clamp electrophysiology will be available depending on the candidate’s interests.
  3. Keep detailed records of experiments.
  4. Assist with routine laboratory upkeep including inventory, organization, standardization of protocols, and compliance with regulatory requirements. 
  5. Present data at local and national conferences; collaboratively write manuscripts for publication in journals. 
  6. Prepare an annual Individual Development Plan, and complete professional development activities in support of future career goals. 

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities: The applicant must demonstrate a successful history of research experience evidenced by prior publications. Experience with mouse behavioral assays and/or alcohol research is strongly preferred. Excellent written and oral communication skills, critical thinking skills, and familiarity with common data analysis programs and statistical analyses are required. Applicants who have experience with one or more programming languages are particularly encouraged to apply.

Minimum Education/Training Requirements: PhD in a related scientific discipline (e.g. Neuroscience, Pharmacology)

Minimum Experience:  0-2 years past PhD

Physical Capabilities: Long periods of standing and sitting; intricate work with hands; carrying of light and moderately heavy laboratory equipment

Supervisory Responsibilities/Controls: The postdoctoral fellow will have opportunities to provide guidance to less experienced members of the laboratory. Co-mentoring of summer interns will also be encouraged. 

Work Environment:  Laboratory environment; involves working with biohazardous materials, hazardous chemicals, and laboratory animals; some flexibility to work evenings/weekends. 

Background: Eligibility to obtain a Common Access Card (CAC); eligibility to obtain and hold a Public Trust background.

Employment with HJF is contingent upon successful completion of a background check, which may include, but is not limited to, contacting your professional references, verification of previous employment, addresses, education, and credentials, a criminal background check, drug screening, and a department of motor vehicle (DMV) check.  

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 Chief Human Resources Officer.