Postdoctoral Autism fMRI Researcher

University of California San Diego School of Medicine
La Jolla, California
August 30 2017
Organization Type
Job Type

Postdoctoral Autism fMRI Researcher


The UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence will hire a Postdoctoral Autism fMRI Researcher for a newly funded, large 5-year NIH autism fMRI grant. The Center is in the Department of Neuroscience at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. Despite tens of millions of dollars spent annually on autism research in the US, “precision” medicine does not exist in any meaningful way for ASD infants and toddlers. The Center’s new NIH fMRI grant will address this serious gap in knowledge and identify functional biomarkers that are much more proximal and relevant to the early-age clinical problem and possible solutions. The successful Postdoctoral Autism fMRI Researcher applicant will be expected to take a leading role in state-of-the-art functional imaging, powerful analytic techniques, and ASD-relevant language and social emotion activation paradigms and resting state to discover in n=175 ASD and typical 1-2 year olds neural biomarkers of variation in early social and language clinical presentation, trajectories, and outcome at age 3-4 years. The Postdoctoral Resercher also be in a key position to also analyze results of these new experiments in combination with existent Center neuroimaging dataset of >400 ASD and typical 1 to 4 year olds, and thereby reveal meaningful, clinically-relevant prognostic biomarkers and biotargets for future experimental therapeutic paradigms.


In addition to spearheading the specific new studies, the chosen Postdoctoral applicant will also have the exciting and career enhancing opportunity to learn about and engage in other aspects of the Center’s research on the developmental neurobiology of autism, including studies of molecular, cellular, anatomical and functional abnormalities associated with autism. Center studies currently involve fMRI, MRI, DTI, functional genomics, molecular and cellular neurodevelopmental biology, cortical laminar development and organization, and postmortem research. Center research has been nationally and internationally recognized for its excellence, and funded studies integrate behavioral, developmental, genomic, neuroanatomical and neurofunctional findings to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the developmental neurobiology of this disorder. The Center has ten Ph.D. faculty and staff and numerous outstanding collaborators locally, nationally and internationally. In the past ten years, the Center has been awarded more than $40,000,000 in grants and currently has more than $10,000,000 in NIH grants. The Center's sleep fMRI in ASD and typical infants and toddlers constitute an important percentage of all published infant ASD fMRI studies.


We seek Postdoctoral applicants with a Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent and proven expertise in state-of-the-field fMRI and MRI analyses, advanced biostatistical skills, and interest in taking a leading role in conducting innovative multimodality neuroimaging and functional genomic studies of neurodevelopmental trajectories and clinical correlates in ASD. Neuroimaging skills should include experience with SPM, AFNI, and/or FSL; and FreeSurfer, BrainVisa, Human Connectome and/or similar analysis pipelines. Thus, applicants should have experience in fMRI mapping and time-series analyses, automated cortical- and subcortical segmentation and advanced diffusion tractography. Preferred computational skills include coding experience with MATLAB, Python, and/or R. Competitive applicants are expected to have skill with longitudinal data analysis, machine learning, network neuroscience, and/or other advanced neuroimaging or other multivariate biostatistical techniques (ICA, DCM, PLS, etc). Experience performing and collecting auditory or visual neuroimaging paradigms and analyses is preferred. Experience with collecting neuroimaging data from infants and/or children is preferred, although strong experience collecting such data from adults may be acceptable. Candidates must have a track record of productivity, leadership and success in working in a team environment. Candidates must have significant knowledge of the clinical and developmental attributes of autism, demonstrated interest and experience with autism, and good knowledge of cutting-edge autism neuroimaging research.


Qualified postdoctoral applicants should submit a current CV, a personal statement describing their experience and interests, and contact information for three references to At UC San Diego, postdoctoral salaries range from $48,216/year to $58,560 depending on qualifications and experience, and the University offers medical insurance and benefits. The position is available at this time and funding is available for the next 5 years but dependent on successful performance of research and publications.


UC San Diego is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer with a strong institutional commitment to excellence through diversity. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to gender, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status.