Postdoctoral Research Associate (Papouin and Dougherty Labs)

Neuroscience and Genetics

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One (1) joint postdoctoral position is available in the Papouin and Dougherty labs at Washington University in St Louis (MO, USA) to study astrocyte genetics and diversity in the mammalian brain.


To apply for this postdoctoral research opportunity, please email:

  • a CV/Biosketch with list of publications and awards, if applicable
  • a brief statement of research interest and experience
  • the contact information of at least two references

directly to Drs. Thomas Papouin and Joseph Dougherty at and Applications will be considered until the position is filled.

Position description

One joint Postdoctoral Research Associate position is open in the Papouin lab and Dougherty lab at Washington University in St Louis, School of Medicine, in the Departments of Neuroscience and Genetics, to conduct groundbreaking studies on astrocytes genetic diversity in the brain.

The successful candidate will join two inclusive, productive, dynamic and highly complementary teams, as part of a strong, ongoing and well-funded collaboration. Both labs offer vibrant, new and custom-designed laboratory spaces with rich intellectual environments, and hands-on mentoring. The Papouin lab, led by a junior PI, studies the role of astrocytes in information processing in the mammalian brain at the cellular, circuit and behavioral levels. Techniques routinely employed in the Papouin lab include slice electrophysiology (patch-clamp, extracellular recordings), optogenetics, mouse behavioral assays, electron microscopy, quantitative RT-PCR, survival surgeries and viral deliveries of genetic constructs (e.g. DREADDS, CalEx), various astrocytes manipulations, calcium imaging, in vivo micro-dialysis, analytical chemistry (chiral derivatization, HPLC) and more. On the other hand, the Dougherty lab is led by a well-established PI, and focuses on the genetics and genomics of behavior, in particular in the context of neurodevelopmental disorders, using a wide breadth of genomic, neuroanatomical, and behavioral approaches. The lab is known for its pioneering of many key genetic tools, and routinely develops and employs approaches such as CrispR/Cas9 editing in vivo, single-cell epigenetic recording (calling cards), RNAseq, TRAP, MPRAs (massively Parallel Reporter Assays), 10X sequencing and more.

This ongoing collaboration, funded by the DoD and the NIMH, aims at canvasing the genetic diversity of astrocytes in the brain and uncovering, in the regulatory elements that are specifically active in astrocytes. This, in turn, is to be leveraged to design AAV-based tools that will allow the manipulation of subtypes of astrocytes, hence allowing the investigation of the roles of subtypes of astrocytes in higher-order cognitive functions and behaviors.

The successful candidate will have extensive experience in one or more of the following areas, and training can be provided in the others: single cell genomics (e.g., 10x), epigenetic analyses, neuroanatomy, RNA seq, molecular biology, bioinformatics.

Funding is in hand for at least up to two years, but we will also provide training in grant writing for fellowship applications to various foundations and funding agencies. Overall, mentoring will be provided by both PIs through joint weekly meetings, and the candidate will have ample opportunities for training in both labs. In addition, career and professional development training for postdoctoral researchers is provided through the Career Center, Teaching Center, Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, and campus groups. Additional information on being a postdoc at Washington University in St. Louis is found at


The Department of Neuroscience at Washington University is made of over 30 different laboratories, which research spans the entire field of fundamental and translational Neuroscience, the full breadth of research models (from computation and fossils to non-human primates and human patients), and the entire breadth of techniques used in modern Neuroscience. We work closely with Cores, Centers and other Departments, such as the Departments of Anesthesiology, Genetics and Psychiatry, and have access to clinical research and human subjects, as well as tissue samples through partnerships with local hospitals. The Departments of Neuroscience and Genetics are home to a number of prominent and internationally recognized researchers.

This is a unique opportunity to work at a top tier American University, ranking #20 in the World Best Universities (Shanghai ranking) and #9 in the Best Global Universities for Neuroscience and Behavior, with access to a virtually limitless array of techniques, in an exceptionally friendly, collegial and collaborative atmosphere. Our department is also proudly international in nature, with PIs and postdocs originating from Switzerland, France, Germany, U.K., Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Canada, Russia, Korea, China, and India.

More information

Required qualifications

  • Must hold a PhD in Neuroscience or related life sciences discipline
  • Must have demonstrated ability to conduct research independently

Preferred qualifications

  • Adequate English fluency
  • Demonstrated experience with genetics approaches described above
  • Versed in the fields of astroglial biology

Salary range and benefits

Salary will be commensurate with experience and will follow the NIH postdoctoral stipend guidelines for FY2021. This position qualifies for full-time benefits. Please view a summary of benefits at

Start date

Position can start immediately but start-date is flexible. Applications will be considered until the position is filled.

Primary duties and responsibilities

  1. Trains under the supervision of the faculty mentors Drs. Thomas Papouin and Joseph Dougherty
  2. Assists with the development and implementation of studies
  3. Assists and provides additional mentoring to Graduate students
  4. Develops and leads their own project independently, leading to at least one first author publication.
  5. Develops their career plan and path to independence.
  6. Develops proficiency in career skills, including writing, public speaking, networking, and critical evaluation of scientific literature.
  7. Presents scientific work both inside and outside the University with excellent oral communication skills.
  8. Assists with grant preparation and reporting.
  9. Maintains conformity with ethical standards in research.
  10. Complies with the Papouin and Dougherty lab ethics, research standards and philosophy.
  11. Maintains compliance with laboratory practice including the maintenance of adequate research records.
  12. Engage in open and timely discussion with the 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.
  13. Collegial conduct towards co-trainees, staff members and members of the research group.
  14. Adherence to all applicable University policies, procedures and regulations. Data, research records and materials, and intellectual property generated in WashU laboratories remain the property of the University.

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.