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Research Associate-Fixed Term

Back to search results Apply now Job no: 817947
Work type: Faculty/Academic Staff
Major Administrative Unit / College: College Of Natural Science
Department: Physiology Natural Science 10032668
Sub Area: FAS- Fac./Acad Staff
Salary: Salary Commensurate with Experience
Location: East Lansing
Categories: Research/Scientific, Fixed Term Academic Staff, Full Time (90-100%), Non-Union

Position Summary

Nature of Work:

Multiple Postdoctoral Research Associate positions are available immediately in the lab of Dr. AJ Robison as part of NIMH/NIDA grants to investigate transcriptional mechanisms underlying the function of brain circuits and their behavioral sequelae. We are interested in how gene expression is regulated by transcription factors, sex hormones, stress, and drugs in discrete circuits within the brain, and how that regulation of gene expression changes cell/circuit function and subsequent mouse behaviors.

Projects include:

1) examination of the mechanisms by which androgen receptors control projection-specific ventral hippocampal cell excitability;

2) understanding the effects of the transcription factor DFosB on hippocampal cell excitability and function;

3) studying the effects of oxidation on the biochemistry and function of DFosB; and

4) performing RNAseq, TRAPseq, CUT&RUN, and subsequent “big data” analyses to uncover differentially regulated genes relevant to multiple projects, circuits, and behaviors.

These positions will provide training and guidance in the many areas of neuroscience and biochemistry involved and will prepare an ambitious candidate for eventual transition to independence in academia or elsewhere. This position is supported by funds stable through 2027.

Supervision Received:

The Research Associate will be supervised by Dr. AJ Robison. Additional guidance and training will come from senior members of the lab and collaborators.

Examples of Work Performed:

  1. Conduct Research with the Robison Lab and faculty from the Dept. of Physiology and Neuroscience Program.
  2. Perform stereotaxic surgery on mice to manipulate gene expression in discreet neural circuits and measure subsequent changes in mouse behavior.
  3. Measure calcium dynamics of neurons using both ex vivo and in vivo mouse models.
  4. Use traditional biochemistry and molecular biology to uncover mechanisms regulating DFosB DNA binding, oligomerization, and gene transactivation in cultured cells and in the mouse brain.
  5. Use Western blotting, qPCR, and immunohistochemistry to uncover changes in neuronal gene expression, activity, and morphology.
  6. Use next generation RNA sequencing, CUT&RUN, and TRAPseq to generate transcriptomic data from mouse brain.
  7. Perform ex vivo slice whole-cell electrophysiology on the mouse brain.
  8. Complete data entry, data management and data analyses.
  9. Participates in data dissemination, assist in development and writing of manuscripts for publication.
  10. Assist in writing grants and develop individual projects to seek independent extramural funding.
  11. Train and supervise junior research associates, students, and post-doctoral researchers.


  • Decision Making
  • Communication
  • Results Orientation
  • Problem Solving

Salary and Benefits:

  • The salary range (or hiring range) has been established by NIH guidelines. You can review them at
  • The salary of the finalist(s) selected for this role will be set based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to, internal equity, experience, education, specialty and training.
  • The above salary range (or hiring range) represents the University's good faith and reasonable estimate of the range of possible compensation at the time of posting.
  • Your total compensation goes beyond the number on your paycheck. Michigan State University and the Robison Lab provide generous leave, health plans, and retirement contributions that add to your bottom line. 

Diversity and Equity:

The University will provide reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities throughout the employment application process. To request an accommodation pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, please email

Michigan State University is committed to recruiting and supporting a diverse student body, faculty, and administrative staff. The university strives to promote a culture of inclusiveness, respect, communication and understanding. MSU is committed to diversity and equality in education and employment.

MSU is dedicated to ensuring a safe and secure environment for our faculty, staff, students and visitors. To assist in achieving that goal, we conduct background investigations for all prospective employees.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, age, disability or protected veteran status.

Required Degree

Doctorate -Neuroscience, Physiology, Biochemistry, or a related field

Minimum Requirements

Applicants must meet minimum qualifications at the time of hire.

  • Ph.D., MD, DVM, DO, or equivalent degree in Neuroscience, Physiology, Biochemistry, or a related field

Minimum requirements must be identifiable from the CV/Resume

Desired Qualifications

Identifiable from the CV/Resume

  • PhD-level research experience in Neuroscience or related area
  • Previous experience with a demonstrated record of productivity (e.g., research publications)
  • Skills in either rodent research models or in biochemistry/molecular biology
  • Experience with research design, development of research hypotheses, and methods to test them

Required Application Materials

To apply, please attach:

  1. A letter of application which specifically addresses the job requirements and outlines qualifications;
  2. A current CV/resume;
  3. List of three or more professional references.

Together-we-will Statement

The university is requiring all MSU students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with limited exceptions. Learn more at:

Special Instructions

Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Application Materials Required: Cover Letter, Resume/CV, List of References.

Review of Applications Begins On


Summary of Health Risks

The position may work with or in close proximity to live animals, human/animal tissue and/or blood, viruses/bacteria/pathogens, biohazardous chemicals and materials, radioactive materials, medical sharps/waste, and sharp implements.


Department Statement

The discipline of physiology is uniquely positioned among the biomedical sciences to span the gulf between exploring the most fundamental aspects of biology and the most practical and applied problems of human and animal health. Faculty in the Physiology Department at Michigan State University work to understand how the vast array of molecular and cellular events successfully integrate to define the phenomenon of human existence.

The Physiology Department Mission:
- Identify factors and molecules that promote health and disease.
- Understand mechanisms of disease progression.
- Improve overall human and animal health through identification of novel therapeutic targets and treatments.
- Train future scientists in state of the art physiology concepts & approaches.

The Department of Physiology at Michigan State University embraces diversity in its faculty, students and staff. We are committed to providing an environment that nurtures and values inclusion of different backgrounds, ideas, perspectives and skills. Engaging the unique and diverse contributions of our department members results in innovation and excellence in our research, teaching, service and outreach. We take pride in the strength of our diversity and our ability to work together with respect and equality.

MSU Statement

Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

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