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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Decision Neuroscience

Apply now Job no: 499567
Work type: Fixed term / Full time
Location: Sydney, NSW
Categories: Post doctoral research fellow

    • One of Australia’s leading research & teaching universities
    • Vibrant campus life with a strong sense of community & inclusion
    • Enjoy a career that makes a difference by collaborating & learning from the best

    At UNSW, we pride ourselves on being a workplace where the best people come to do their best work.

    The School of Psychology is one of the largest and most prestigious schools in Australia. The School is located in the Faculty of Science and has approximately 50 academic staff, 1600 undergraduate students and 150 postgraduate students. Members of the School study a diverse range of topics and students gain an integrated and comprehensive knowledge in the main discipline areas of psychology and develop strong research, analytical and communication skills. Our School attracts excellent students who have an outstanding record in international competitions. Our School has a distinctive quality of academic staff; we earn more competitive research funding and publish more Tier 1 journal articles per academic than any other School in Australia. Our academics are very well connected within Australia and internationally. Our School offers APAC accredited programs at undergraduate, undergraduate bridging, Honours, and postgraduate levels, as well as the opportunity to pursue higher degrees by research. For further information about the School, please visit

    This is a Postdoctoral Research Associate position in the Decision Neuroscience Lab in the School of Psychology. The Postdoctoral Research Associate will investigate the neural determinants of goal-directed action and collect data during active behaviour from rodent and human subjects using a combination of computational modelling, signal processing techniques, and both invasive and non-invasive techniques for recording neural activity. In humans behavioural and neuroimaging data will be collected, the latter using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). In rodents behavioural and real time neuronal activity data derived from imaging of calcium and neurotransmitter activity will be collected using both fibre photonics and endoscopic imaging as well as conducting exhaustive ex vivo analyses using in vitro electrophysiology.

    About the role

    • $95k - $103k plus 9.5% Superannuation and annual leave loading
    • Fixed term – 3 years
    • Part-time (35 hours per week)

    The role of Postdoctoral Research Associate reports to Scientia Professor Bernard Balleine and has no direct reports.

    Specific responsibilities for this role include:

    • Design, implement and pilot experiments, particularly using ex vivo brain slice electrophysiology, in vivo fiber photometry and endoscopic imaging from adult rats and mice.
    • Perform small animal survival stereotaxic surgery including the insertion of guide cannula, infusion of pharmacological agents, and other surgical procedures as may be necessary.
    • Perform general histological evaluation of animal tissue including tissue sectioning, staining, immunohistochemical labelling, microscopic imaging, tissue maintenance and storage.
    • Perform other support tasks associated with general laboratory experimentation, including data analyses, literature searches, grant application and ethics approval.
    • Manage the animal laboratory, including taking responsibility for managing experimental work, animal care, adherence to OHS guidelines.
    • Write scientific communications intended for publication in refereed journals.
    • In consultation with Professor Balleine, supervise graduate and honours level undergraduate students during the course of specific projects.
    • Cooperate with all health and safety policies and procedures of the university and take all reasonable care to ensure that your actions or omissions do not impact on the health and safety of yourself or others.

    About the successful applicant

    To be successful in this role you will have:

    • PhD in an appropriate discipline (Neuroscience, Pharmacology, Biology, Medicine).
    • Demonstrated ability to set up and monitor new and existing experimental projects.
    • Demonstrated laboratory skills in studying and manipulating animal learning, primary motivational variables and assessing their concomitant behavioural impact in rodents.
    • Demonstrated ability to set up and conduct ex vivo electrophysiological studies in adult rodent brain slices.
    • Demonstrated ability to design electrophysiological experiments to complement behavioural studies.
    • Demonstrated experience in performing electrophysiological brain slice recordings in multiple brain regions.
    • In depth knowledge of multiple neural systems in rodent brain and cell types involved.
    • Demonstrated ability to work closely as part of a team and strategically contribute to research outcomes.
    • High level of computing skills including databases, spreadsheets and graphic programs.
    • Proficient in immunohistochemistry.
    • Demonstrated skills in microscopy, particularly with confocal microscopy.
    • A demonstrated thorough understanding of experimental design, statistics and statistical methods.
    • Demonstrated ability to develop grant applications and scientific communications, both written and oral.
    • Knowledge of health and safety responsibilities and commitment to attending relevant health and safety training.

    You should systematically address the selection criteria listed within the position description in your application.

    For informal queries, please see the below contact details. 

    Otherwise, please apply online - applications will not be accepted if sent directly to the contact listed.

    Bernard Balleine

    Applications close: June 1st, 2020

    Find out more about working at UNSW at

    UNSW aspires to be the exemplar Australian university and employer of choice for people from diverse backgrounds. UNSW aims to ensure equality in recruitment, development, retention and promotion of staff and that no-one is disadvantaged on the basis of their gender, cultural background, disability, sexual orientation or identity or Indigenous heritage. We encourage everyone who meets the selection criteria to apply.

    UNSW partners with Australia’s leading diversity organisations, networks, and campaigns. Please refer to UNSW’s diversity offerings for further information on our flexible work and leave options, and support for carers (childcare, parent rooms, parental leave).

Position Description

Advertised: AUS Eastern Standard Time
Applications close: AUS Eastern Standard Time

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