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Job Description

Job Title: Programmer
Job ID: 90603960
Status: Full-Time
Regular/Temporary: Regular
Shift: Day Job
Facility: Western Psychiatric Institute
Department: Dombrovski
Location: 3811 O'hara Street, Pittsburgh PA 15213


The candidate will work on several NIH-supported lines of research on decision-making and learning in mental disorders including borderline personality, depression, and suicide.  We are particularly interested in social decision-making and in how people resolve the tradeoff between exploiting known valuable options and exploring unfamiliar ones.


The ideal candidate will have strong quantitative skills, programming experience, some experience in psychology or neuroscience research, and an interest in decision-making in psychopathology. The lab environment is collaborative and staff has the opportunity to learn reinforcement learning modeling and functional imaging techniques. Successful lab members get support with independent data projects.


The qualifications listed below, outside of education, are preferred, not required. Psychology majors also encouraged to apply. The starting rate for this position is $23.48, prior to crediting for any applicable experience over the minimum requirements.



  • Use version control to improve software productivity and ensure the quality of the research projects goals.
  • Perform unit testing to ensure quality of written software.
  • Use technical skills to analyze software code to identify and repair any conditions in which the application fails. Work with lab team members to develop and execute technical solutions using software to produce analytical results, statistical analyses, or graphs/figures. Use technical skillset to automate processes related to data analysis and data visualization.
  • Document applications/systems to understand the technical methods used to solve the investigative questions proposed by the PI using written descriptions or figures.
  • Design, manage, and program websites. Modify lab computer hardware as needed.
  • Reprogram computerized experiments for collection of imaging and behavioral data.
  • Troubleshoot and enhance existing computer software are required by modifications of lab procedures or developments in data collection, processing, or analyses.
  • Manage the functional magnetic resonance imaging data transfer and preprocessing pipeline using R and UNIX Shell.
  • With training, assist in programming algorithms for reinforcement learning models. Collaborate with investigators on developing reinforcement learning methodology.
  • Advanced candidates will develop MATLAB and UNIX shell scripts to analyze and visualize fMRI data. Use AFNI, FSL, and SPM.


  • BS in Engineering, Computer Science, Neuroscience or other related field.
  • Working knowledge of UNIX, MatLab, AFNI, FSL, SPM.
  • Knowledge of reinforcement learning
  • Knowledge of the variational Bayesian approach to model parameter estimation and Bayesian model comparison
  • Knowledge of task functional MRI data preprocessing and single-subject analysis
  • Ability to write code for data collection, management, processing and analysis to principal investigator's specifications in UNIX, MatLab (including PsychToolbox), and EPrime.

Preferred Background:

  • Research background
  • Hands on experience with coding languages
  • Data management experience

Salary Range: $23.48 to $35.55 / hour

Union Position: No

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