Academic Research Scientist in Neuroscience and Precision Mental Health (5 Years Fixed Term) | Stanford University Job at Stanford University, Stanford, CA

  • Stanford University
  • Stanford, CA

Job Description

T he Stanfo rd Center for Precision Mental Health and Wellness within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University is seeking an Academic Research Scientist in Neuroscience and Precision Mental Health. This is a 5-year academic staff fixed-term position. The Academic Research Scientist will be involved directly in leading, designing and executing research to understand brain-circuit based subtypes of depression and trials that tailor treatments to each subtype to personalize treatment outcomes, based in the laboratory of Dr. Leanne Williams who directs the Center's research programs. These programs are supported through a major NIH grant focused on 'individually measured phenotypes to advance computational translation in mental health' (IMPACT-MH) and by philanthropic gifts. Our mission is to understand depression and anxiety as disorders of functional brain circuits at the individual level, and to drive innovation of personalized treatment approaches that go beyond the current 'trial-and-error' approach. We aim to improve lives for individuals and families impacted by depression. The Center for Precision Mental Health and Wellness, and its core labs, are a dynamic, stimulating place to work and because we focus on growth and excellence, our staff have particularly challenging and rewarding roles.

This is an opportunity for a highly motivated Academic Research Scientist to work in a dynamic and collaborative group including scientists, data analysts, clinical research professionals, and academic physicians using human neuroscience data to characterize brain-circuit based subtypes of depression and pursue research trials that tailor treatments to each subtype to personalize treatment outcomes. The candidate filling this position will operate at a high level of scientific and operational independence, directly supporting the PI through the following activities: determining appropriate study designs for answering scientific questions, designing and conducting novel or complex trials that integrate functional brain imaging with symptom and behavioral data, determining and executing computational models to analyze project data, keeping critically apprised of relevant scientific literature, leading and drafting complete scientific manuscripts for publication, managing junior lab members and trainees to ensure delivery of project outcomes, and contributing scientifically to grant applications.

Expert knowledge and a background in human neuroimaging trials in psychiatry with experience in functional fMRI processing and computational models is required to be successful in this position. Familiarity with the scientific principles of precision medicine applied in psychiatry, and experience in human subjects research in depression is highly desirable. The candidate will work directly with the principal investigator on preparing research protocols, proposals, progress and final reports and be expected to make scientific and written contributions to justify first or co-authorship on manuscripts for publication and abstracts for professional presentation, with the work being reviewed by the PI and co-investigator faculty. They will present ongoing work and findings to colleagues in internal and external research settings through oral platform and poster presentations and complete project-related administrative and budgetary responsibilities of a limited scope as needed. It is expected that the Academic Research Scientist will help oversee the guidance of postdoctoral scholars and graduate students in the laboratory.

Core activities will provide opportunities for independent research and professional growth for the Academic Research Scientist. The PI and lab are committed to fostering ongoing learning and development and all members of the lab and Center are engaged in continuous learning and improvement. We are a collaborative, interdisciplinary team that values diversity of thought and background, driving innovation, integrity, fairness, and conscientiousness.


Within priority projects for the lab, the Academic Research Scientist will oversee each component of the project, including:

  • Determining appropriate study designs for answering scientific questions.
  • Designing and conducting novel or complex trials that integrate functional brain imaging with symptom and behavioral data. Treatments will focus on new selective medications compared to currently available antidepressants as the focus of the funded IMPACT-MH award.

  • Determining and executing computational models to analyze project data. The candidate will have an integral role in developing and executing advanced research strategies to validate and test the clinical utility of depression subtypes, called 'biotypes', using both theoretically informed and machine learning approaches to disaggregate the heterogeneity of depression based on functional neuroimaging data, and determine the extent to which imaging metrics predict behavioral and symptom profiles, and response to treatment.
  • Keeping critically apprised of relevant scientific literature and synthesizing the literature to inform scientific project decisions and choice of computational approaches.
  • Leading and drafting complete scientific manuscripts. The candidates written contributions will justify first or co-authorship on manuscripts for publication in scientific journals that have an impact in the field. The candidate will also write abstracts for professional presentations, including at major conferences in the field. The work will be reviewed by the PI or faculty and the candidate will coordinate the contributions of co-authors.
  • Preparation of project protocols and proposals, progress and final reports for funding agencies and regulatory requirements.

In addition to scientific publication leadership the candidate will also represent the lab in the following activities:

  • Contributing scientifically to grant applications.

  • Presentation of ongoing work and findings to colleagues in internal settings, including meetings of all investigators.

  • Presentation of research outcomes at external research settings through oral platform and poster presentations.

Project management activities will include the following:

  • Managing postdocs, junior lab members, coordinators, and trainees to ensure delivery of project outcomes with quality and timeliness.

  • Targeted project-related administrative and budgetary responsibilities.

In addition to the priority IMPACT-MH program, projects in the lab using common imaging and clinical behavioral measures also deploy neuromodulation and exploratory therapeutics and the Academic Research Scientist would have an opportunity to develop scientific strategies for comparing data and findings across projects and using existing data.

* - Other duties may also be assigned


  • MD/PhD or equivalent with specific prior training in functional neuroimaging trials in psychiatry.
  • Experience with human subjects' studies of major depressive disorder.
  • Experience with trial designs that incorporate biomarker measures.

  • Experience analyzing fMRI data within human subjects' trials and integrating these data with clinical and behavioral measures.

  • Record of innovative research outcomes


  • PhD in a neuroscience or related field, such as psychology

  • A minimum of five years of related experience

  • Comprehensive understanding of scientific principles

  • Expert level knowledge and skills in a field of science related to the research program within the center.

  • Technical competence with functional brain imaging processing, analysis, and visualization techniques

  • Technical competence with statistical and machine learning models, such as linear mixed models, regression models, clustering algorithms and the integration of functional brain imaging data with behavioral and clinical symptom metadata

  • Strong foundation in longitudinal and treatment trial designs and experience running human subjects studies from initiation to close out

  • Foundational knowledge in the principles of precision medicine relevant to their application in psychiatry

  • Strong general computer skills, experience with databases and scientific applications and ability to quickly learn and master various computer programs.

  • Strong analytical skills and excellent judgement

  • Ability to work under deadlines with general guidance is essential.

  • Excellent organizational skills and demonstrated ability to complete detailed work accurately and record thoroughly.

  • Demonstrated productivity in research, including the capacity to lead first author publications.

  • Developed project management skills with experience in managing research projects and research personnel.

  • Ability to work independently and function effectively as part of a team of faculty investigators, physicians, postdoctoral fellows, research coordinators and technical and executive administrative staff.

  • Strong verbal communication and writing skills.


  • May require extended or unusual work hours based on research requirements and business needs.

  • This position is based on the Stanford main campus.

The expected pay range for this position is $99,000 to $136,000 per annum. Stanford University has provided a pay range representing its good faith estimate of what the university reasonably expects to pay for the position. The pay offered to the selected candidate will be determined based on factors including (but not limited to) the experience and qualifications of the selected candidate including equivalent years since their applicable education, field, or discipline; departmental budget availability; internal equity; among other factors.

*- Stanford is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. Stanford welcomes applications from all who would bring additional dimensions to the University's research mission.

* - Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of his or her job.

Additional Information

  • Schedule: Full-time
  • Job Code: 6784
  • Employee Status: Fixed-Term
  • Grade: R99
  • Requisition ID: 103254
  • Work Arrangement : On Site

Job Tags

Full time, Fixed term contract, Traineeship, Self employment,

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