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UPMC complies with all governmental requirements related to local, state, and federal COVID-19 vaccination for employment. The Jan. 13 Supreme Court of the United States decision that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate will move forward requires UPMC to ensure employees either get vaccinated or receive a requested medical or religious exemption.

If you are not yet vaccinated, we urge you to get a vaccine now. You can schedule your COVID-19 vaccination through UPMC or visit a non-UPMC provider or UPMC Urgent Care location.

Proof of vaccination is not required upon hire; however, employees will be responsible for ensuring post-hire compliance by getting vaccinated or requesting a medical or religious exemption.

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Research Specialist | The Decision Neuroscience and Psychopathology lab


The Decision Neuroscience and Psychopathology lab studies decision processes in depression, suicidal behavior. Our basic focus is on neural mechanisms of reinforcement learning, including learning from social exchanges and on how humans resolve the explore-exploit dilemma. We use behavioral experiments, computational modeling and fMRI. The candidate’s primary responsibility will be to assist with the design, implementation, and administration of research protocols focusing on personality, psychopathology, neuroscience, and computational modeling. The candidate will also be expected to contribute to other lab projects that use reinforcement learning theory to examine decision-making processes involved in suicide, depression, and borderline personality disorder. Responsibilities for the current position include, but are not limited to, assistance with research design and protocols, data collection, scheduling and screening participants, data management, participant recruitment and retention, lab administration, clinical assessment, and analysis of behavioral and neuroimaging data.

An ideal candidate should be a bright, compassionate, and motivated person with strong quantitative skills, programming experience or interest, some experience in psychology or neuroscience research, and an interest in cognitive neuroscience as it pertains to psychopathology. The lab environment is collaborative, and staff has the opportunity to acquire a variety of technical skills, as well as a rich theoretical foundation. Successful lab members get support with independent data projects.

This position is grant funded.


  • Assistance with research design and protocols, data collection, scheduling and screening participants, data management, participant recruitment and retention, lab administration, clinical assessment, and analysis of behavioral and neuroimaging data.


  • Bachelor's degree related to human behavior or mental health, required, preferably in psychology, neuroscience, sociology or related research field.
  • Minimum of one year of work experience in a research project and/or related clinical setting is required. 2 years preferred; undergraduate experience may be accepted if relevant.
  • Familiarity with computers and common software packages required.
  • Working knowledge of research methodology strongly preferred.
  • Proven ability and motivation to ensure high quality standards in collecting data, attention to detail.
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal, problem-solving, and especially organizational skills.
  • Ability to prioritize and perform tasks in a flexible and efficient manner.
  • The following skills are preferred: Programming experience (R, Matlab, Python, Bash or similar); fMRI and/or EEG processing and analysis; experience with psychopathology and behavioral assessment; experience working with clinical populations (anxiety, depression, borderline personality disorder, and suicidality); experience with fMRI, EMA an/or  EEG data collection. 

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  • Act 34

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