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Research Specialist (TNN Lab)


Under the direction of Dr. Marta Pecina, the Translational Neuroscience and Neuroimaging lab (TNN lab) seeks to understand individual differences in mechanisms of treatment response in patients with depression. We aim to delineate a model-based theory of antidepressant placebo effects that explains the biological substrates of the interaction between expectancies, learning, and mood. The TNN laboratory uses several neuroimaging methodologies, including task-based and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), positron emission tomography (PET), computational approaches to behavior and mood, and biological markers. 

This position is grant funded.


The duties of the Research Specialist will involve the application of established medical image analysis methods, participation in the development and validation of new analysis methods, and tasks related to data visualization and interpretation. In addition, the candidate will take part in certain elements of clinical research, such as the delivery of transcranial magnetic stimulation. The position requires coordination, execution, and completion of complex tasks that are critical to research outcomes. Some self-learning on computer software specific to the projects will likely be required. Independent problem-solving will be an integral part of this position.

The ideal candidate will have strong quantitative skills, programming experience, some experience in psychology or neuroscience research, and an interest in neuroscience. The following skills are preferred. Programming Languages: R, Matlab, Bash or similar. fMRI Processing and Analysis Packages: FSL, AFNI, or SPM.  The lab environment is collaborative, and staff has the opportunity to learn reinforcement learning modeling and functional imaging techniques.


  • Bachelor's degree required, preferably in Psychology, Neuroscience, Sociology or related research field. Individuals about to complete their bachelor’s degree will also be considered.
  • Minimum of one year of work experience in a research project and/or related clinical setting is required.
  • Familiarity with computers and common software packages required. Strong programming skills are strongly preferred. Experience with Matlab or fMRI preferred.
  • Working knowledge of research methodology strongly preferred.

Licensure, Certifications, and Clearances:

  • Comprehensive Crisis Management (CCMC)
  • Act 31 Child Abuse Reporting with renewal
  • Act 33 with renewal
  • Act 34 with renewal
  • Act 73 FBI Clearance with renewal

UPMC is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Disability/Veteran

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   Current UPMC employees must apply in HR Direct