Postdoctoral Research Associate (Chen Lab)

Role of neuromodulator actions and sleep functions

Essential functions

Two postdoctoral positions are available to investigate the role of neuromodulator actions and sleep functions in Dr. Yao Chen’s laboratory in the Department of Neuroscience at Washington University in St. Louis. The first project will investigate how neuromodulators are interpreted via the spatial and temporal features of intracellular signals to play critical roles in cellular physiology and behavior.  The second project investigates the mechanisms by which sleep supports cellular and organismal functions.

We accomplish both goals by measuring and perturbing the dynamics of biological signals inside and outside the cell. We develop and employ a variety of techniques ex vivo and in vivo, including two-photon fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy, electrophysiology, biosensor design, opto/chemogenetics, molecular biology, pharmacology, and behavior analyses.

For additional information visit the Chen Lab website.

The PI is committed to mentoring and to nurturing a creative, thoughtful, and collaborative lab culture. Washington University neuroscience community is scientifically excellent and exceptionally collegial. The School of Medicine is consistently ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States, with extensive infrastructural and core facility support, and a dynamic research environment in many areas of basic and clinical science. 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.

Learn more about being a postdoc at Washington University in St. Louis.

Required qualifications

Ph.D. or M.D. degree by the time of the start date.
Committed to neuroscience research, highly motivated and independent.
Expertise in optical imaging and skilled in quantitative data analyses.

Preferred qualifications

Experience in neuromodulator signaling, circadian rhythm or sleep biology, and expertise in electrophysiology, animal behavior, or systems neuroscience are valued.
Our work is interdisciplinary and will benefit from diverse perspectives, including molecular and cell biology, systems biology, biophysics, pharmacology, and engineering – even if your past work is not directly related to neuromodulators or sleep, you might be a great fit for the position.

Salary range

Base pay commensurate with experience.

Pre-employment screening

All external candidates receiving an offer for employment will be required to submit to pre-employment screening for this position. Current employees applying for a new position within the university may be subject to this requirement. The screenings will include a criminal background check and, as applicable for the position, other background checks, drug screen, employment and education or licensure/certification verification, physical examination, certain vaccinations and/or governmental registry checks. All offers are contingent upon successful completion of required screening.


This position is eligible for full-time benefits. View a summary of benefits at

Applicant special instructions

Interested candidates should send the following to

  1. Cover letter explaining motivation, research experience, and interests
  2. CV
  3. Names of three references.

EOE statement

Washington University is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, genetic information, disability, or protected veteran status.

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