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Research Associate (Brain Body Stress (BBStress) Laboratory)


The Brain Body Stress (BBStress) Laboratory, under the direction of Dr. Layla Banihashemi, is focused on examining stress-related neural pathways and how they may be shaped by early life experience, including adverse experiences. The current research study examines young adults with a range of childhood threat (abuse, trauma) and deprivation (neglect, socioeconomic deprivation) experiences and mood, anxiety and trauma-related symptoms. Our research utilizes self-report assessments, clinical interview and MRI scans using high-field MRI at 7 Tesla. The Research Associate will be engaging in many aspects of the current research study, including recruitment procedures (assisting in deploying various advertisements, phone screening and scheduling potential research participants for study visits), guiding participants through research visits (informed consent, intake and MRI scan visits), and performing data entry, checking and management. This employee will be managing and processing different kinds of data including sociodemographic and clinical data, as well as neuroimaging or MRI data. The ideal candidate would be highly organized and efficient, with excellent written and oral communication skills, would be comfortable engaging with research participants about potentially sensitive subjects, and would have had experience with or exposure to clinical and/or neuroimaging research. The ideal candidate would be able to function effectively in a changing environment with a variety of different tasks and demands and able to work and trouble shoot independently, while being open to guidance and feedback.

This position is grant funded.

Assist in the execution of research protocols. The Research Associate (RA) will support research examining the influence of childhood adversity on the structure and function of stress-related brain circuits and vulnerability to mental health disorders. Research data will be collected via questionnaires and/or interviews, and MRI scans accompanied by physiological sample collections. This position calls for at least a complete bachelor’s degree to assume delegated research responsibilities for this study. The RA will assist in research protocols including phone screening and scheduling research participants, guiding participants through research procedures, and data entry and/or processing. 


  • Deploy various recruitment strategies and advertisements
  • Contact and schedule potential participants from a designated pool of individuals who have agreed to be contacted for research studies
  • Conduct subject searches to locate subjects who are unable to be contacted
  • Explain research protocol and obtain informed consent from participants
  • Conduct on-line and/or library searches as needed by the PI as necessary
  • Perform phone or online interviews for research project protocol(s) as needed
  • Maintain and update subject information database
  • Conduct interviews with research participants under supervision as needed
  • Performing data entry for self-report questionnaires and clinical interviews 
  • Managing accurate electronic databases and conducting data reviews
  • Accompanying the participant to the MRI scanner and guiding the participant through MRI and physiological procedures 
  • Conducting post-visit tasks, including paying participants 
  • Conducting quality checks and data processing (including imaging data) 
  • Preparing weekly progress reports on subject recruitment and retention, and summary reports of data collected 
  • Engaging in lab meetings to discuss research progress and any obstacles to data collection 
  • Maintaining a current understanding of the protocol design, sample size, procedures, and standards of operations 
  • Opportunities available to contribute to abstracts and/or manuscripts for motivated applicants 


  • Bachelors Degree in Neuroscience, Psychology, Bioengineering or related research field or current enrollment in a related Bachelor's Degree program with direct experience in a research environment required
  • Familiarity with computers and common software packages required
  • Prior related work experience in a research setting preferred
  • Working knowledge of research methodology strongly preferred

Licensure, Certifications, and Clearances:

  • 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