Job Description

Job Title: Research Project Assistant (Autism)
Job ID: 711815
Status: Full-Time
Regular/Temporary: Regular
Shift: Day Job
Facility: Western Psychiatric Institute
Department: WPT - Mazefsky
Location: 300 Webster Hall, Pittsburgh PA 15213


The Regulation of Emotion in ASD Adults Children and Teens (REAACT) Lab is seeking a full-time research assistant. The position will provide support to the Autism and Developmental Disorders Inpatient Research Collaborative (ADDIRC), which is a multi-site study of psychiatric inpatients with ASD.


We are seeking someone motivated, reliable and hardworking. The research assistant must be organized, able to effectively manage multiple tasks and work independently once trained. Ideal candidate must be comfortable working within the inpatient environment, where patients are primarily admitted due to aggressive or self-injurious behavior.  Prior research and experience with autism is preferred. A minimum two-year commitment is preferred due to the amount of training involved.


  • Ability to work independently with little supervision once trained.
  • Assist (but not administer) in collection of blood samples from the child with ASD and his/her biological parents (e.g. coordinate the blood draw, accompany/escort the family, and oversee its safe shipment). If families are not willing to provide a blood sample, offer saliva sample or cheek swab options and assist in collecting this data
  • Assist in IRB modifications and renewals
  • Attend study team meetings, and participate in phone calls, and treatment team meetings as required
  • Become reliable in the coding of previously collected structured temperament task data from inpatient participants, and complete coding of video recorded assessments in ELAN
  • Collaborate in all recruitment activities, handle project specific tasks, and assist with day to day activities for research project including recruitment, data collection, participant payments, budget management, etc.
  • Collaborate with study staff and unit clinicians in all study activities and handle project specific tasks and day to day activities for the research project.
  • Collect data during the child�s inpatient stay, which will include administration of intelligence/cognitive tests with patients, questionnaires with parents, and pulling relevant data from the child�s clinical chart
  • Contact biological parents who are not local to discuss the possibility of participating to provide a biosample
  • Enter study data into a secure database
  • Help acclimate the child to wearing a biosensor on the wrist to collect physiological and movement data
  • Independently execute job functions for research protocol(s) including recruitment, scheduling appointments, obtaining written consent forms, collecting data by conducting phone or face to face interviews for research project(s) as needed.
  • Maintain reliability in measure administration, including attendance at a research assistant training in Maine
  • Manage and dispense participant payments to parents who provide a biosample
  • Manage the inpatient research project and assure that all data is completed on time in accordance with accepted standards of reliability and scientific integrity.
  • Must maintain strict patient/participant confidentiality at all times.
  • Must remain aware and sensitive to the fact that the children and families in the study are in a period of crisis, and must act accordingly.
  • Observe the child for 1-4 hour periods of regular activity on the unit while the child is wearing the biosensor and record the onset and offset of disruptive behavior including aggression on a mobile app
  • Obtain written informed consent and assent when applicable
  • Participant in weekly supervision with the designated study investigator as well as collaborate with all unit leadership
  • Track enrollment of participants and progress of data collection to ensure that the study has an adequate flow of participants and provide reports on this progress to the study team as requested; Responsibility for ensuring that benchmarks from funders for study enrollment are met
  • Work with clinical staff to identify eligible participants and administer questionnaire eligibility measure


  • Bachelors degree required preferably in psychology, neuroscience, sociology, or related research field.
  • Minimum of two years of work experience in a research project and/or related clinical setting is required.
  • Familiarity with computers and common software packages required.
  • Working knowledge of research methodology strongly preferred.
  • Prior supervisory and/or project management experience preferred.

    Licensure, Certifications, and Clearances:
  • Act 34 Criminal Clearance
  • Comprehensive Crisis Management

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. Minority/Females/Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities

Salary Range: $16.23 to $25.77 / hour

Union Position: No

Apply Current Employee?


At UPMC, our shared goal is to create a cohesive, positive, experience for our employees, patients, health plan members, and community. If you too are driven by these values, you may be a great fit at UPMC!


UPMC provides a total rewards package that can help you achieve the goals you have for your career and your personal life. Whether you want to learn a new skill through a training course, reach personal health and wellness targets, become more involved in your community, or follow a career path that provides you with the right experience to be successful, UPMC can help you get to where you want to be.


Now more than ever, YOU can help us shape our communities and UPMC into a better place for everyone to work, study, play, and thrive.

Learn more about working here and check out our policies and recent updates.

UPMC Ranked #17 Best Places for Women & Diverse Managers in 2018

Talent Network