Lab Manager/Research Assistant

A research assistant/lab manager position will be available starting in the Spring/Summer of 2021 in the Environmental Neuroscience Lab (ENL) in the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago.

We at the ENL have had great success in placing former lab managers in Psychology Ph.D. programs such as the University of Chicago, University of Pittsburgh and Yale University. Lab managers typically co-author 1 to 2 publications a year, which helps their career trajectories for being admitted into top graduate programs in Psychology.

As environmental neuroscientists, we study the interactions of brain functioning, individual behavior, group behavior, and the external physical environment and how those interactions vary across space and time. We define environmental neuroscience as the scientific study of brain-mediated, bidirectional relationships between organisms and their social and physical environments. While we primarily focus on humans, we also perform some research on non-human animals. Under this broad umbrella, our specific research projects include:

  1. The influence of the natural and built environment on affect, cognition and collective behaviors (e.g., crime)
  2. Attention and memory
  3. Brain network efficiency and its relationship to broad behaviors (e.g., self-control)
  4. Multivariate analysis
  5. Motivation and Effort
  6. Worry, rumination, and depression and other psychopathologies and their relationships to brain measures of cognitive effort (such as non-linear dynamics)

This is an excellent position for someone who would like to obtain additional research experience in cognitive neuroscience and develop additional computational skills before applying to graduate school.

About the Unit

Primary duties include a mix of lab management tasks and research-oriented tasks.

Lab management tasks include:

  • recruiting participants
  • helping with IRB approvals
  • providing support for lab personnel
  • website maintenance
  • social media management
  • carrying-out administrative duties such as ordering equipment, maintaining paperwork and electronic materials, and the general maintenance of the day-to-day operations of the lab

Research oriented tasks include:

  • training/testing human subjects in both neuroimaging (fMRI & fNIRS), eye-tracking and behavioral experiments
  • designing and programming experiments
  • analyzing experimental data
  • preparing manuscripts for publication


A bachelor’s (or higher) in cognitive science, neuroscience, computer science, psychology, biology, math or other related fields.


Research experience in cognitive neuroscience (e.g., conducting and analyzing fMRI studies) would be ideal, but not required.


  • Strong math and computer programming skills (especially MATLAB, R and/or Python) are required, though we will help to improve candidate’s computational skills through lab training and collaborative research projects.
  • Should be self-motivated, independent, and reliable.
  • Strong organizational and communication skills are essential.

Interested parties should prepare a CV, list of reference contacts, and a brief statement of interest, then apply through the University of Chicago work portal.

Candidates who can serve in this position for 2 years will be preferred.