Postdoctoral Research Associate (Cavalli Lab)


Position summary

Two postdoctoral positions are available in Dr. Valeria Cavalli’s laboratory in the Department of Neuroscience at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. One project will investigate how satellite glial cells communicate with sensory neurons to sense distant nerve injury and promote axon regeneration. This project will include determining the role of lipid metabolism and vesicle trafficking in satellite glial cells‘ response to nerve injury and how satellite glial cells communicate with neurons, as well as other cells such as macrophages, mesenchymal cells and meningeal cells. Our goal is to understand how injured peripheral nerves regenerate, and apply that information to improve nerve repair in both the peripheral and central nervous systems. In another project, we will study the contribution of satellite glial cells to sensory hypersensitivity in a mouse model of autism, fragile X syndrome. For additional information visit the Cavalli Lab website

We accomplish both goals using the mouse model system and apply a combination of biochemistry, cell biology, in vitro and in vivo imaging techniques and single cell sequencing approaches. Using human tissue, we determine whether the findings made in the mouse model system are relevant to human physiology.

The PI is committed to mentoring and to nurturing a creative, thoughtful and collaborative lab culture. The Cavalli Lab is well-funded, including support by an R35 grant for the next seven years, and has access to world-class resources and facilities available at WashU. The laboratory is in an academic setting in the Department of Neuroscience at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, an internationally recognized research institution consistently ranked among the top five medical schools in the country. The extreme collegiality of Washington University combined with the large Neuroscience Community and extensive infrastructural and core facility support creates a dynamic research environment in many areas of basic and clinical science.

Postdoctoral appointees at Washington University receive a starting salary based on the NIH NRSA guidelines and a generous benefit package. Complete information on the benefit package is located on the WUSM Human Resources Benefits website at Postdocs are also supported through a dedicated Office of Postdoctoral Affairs and an active Postdoc Society with many professional development opportunities ( The St. Louis area combines the attractions of a major city with affordable lifestyle opportunities.

Primary duties & responsibilities

Trains under the supervision of a faculty mentor, including (but not limited to):

  • Manages their own project, which should lead to a first author publication.
  • Develops expertise in neural repair and glia biology.
  • Develops proficiency in career skills, including writing, public speaking, networking, and critical evaluation of scientific literature.
  • Presents scientific work both inside and outside the University with excellent oral communication skills.
  • Assists with grant preparation and reporting.
  • Prepares and submits papers on research with excellent writing skills.
  • Designs research experiments.
  • Evaluates research findings and reports results.
  • Maintains conscientious discharge of their research responsibilities.
  • Maintains conformity with ethical standards in research.
  • Maintains compliance with good laboratory practice, including the maintenance of adequate research records.
  • Engages in open and timely discussion with their mentor regarding possession or distribution of material, reagents, or records belonging to their laboratory and any proposed disclosure of findings or techniques privately or in publications.
  • Maintains collegial conduct towards co-trainees, staff members and members of the research group.
  • Adheres to all applicable University policies, procedures and regulations. All data, research records and materials and other intellectual property generated in University laboratories remain the property of the University.

Required qualifications

Ph.D., M.D. or an equivalent terminal or doctoral degree.

Working conditions

This position works in a laboratory environment with potential exposure to biological and chemical hazards.  The individual must be physically able to wear protective equipment and to provide standard care to research animals.

Salary range

Base pay is commensurate with experience.

Benefits statement

Washington University in St. Louis is committed to providing a comprehensive and competitive benefits package to our employees. Benefits eligibility is subject to employment status, full-time equivalent (FTE) workload, and weekly standard hours. Please visit our website at to view a summary of benefits.

EEO/AA statement

Washington University is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to an individual’s sex, race, color, religion, age, disability status, protected veteran status, national or ethnic origin, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation. Women, minorities, protected veterans and the disabled are strongly encouraged to apply.

Diversity statement

Washington University is dedicated to building a diverse community of individuals who are committed to contributing to an inclusive environment – fostering respect for all and welcoming individuals from diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Individuals with a commitment to these values are encouraged to apply.

Job ID 65000