Staff Scientist (Chen Lab)


Position Summary

Dr. Yao Chen’s Laboratory in the Department of Neuroscience at Washington University School of Medicine is seeking a motivated and curious scientist for a full-time staff scientist position. Our laboratory conducts fundamental research to understand how dynamics of molecular signals contribute to neuromodulator actions and sleep functions. We employ a wide variety of techniques ex vivo and in vivo, including advanced microscopy, electrophysiology, molecular biology, and behavior analysis. The principal investigator is committed to fostering a lab culture that promotes equity, kindness, rigor, and creativity.

The position is responsible for developing and conducting research projects, including experimental design, implementation, data analysis and documentation of experiment results.

Job Description

For further information, see

Primary Duties & Responsibilities

  • Collaborates with the PI on the design, conducting, and reporting of research projects, including performing optical imaging experiments.
  • Following instructions and discussions with the principal investigator, designs research protocols, including developing procedures for the collection, verification and management of data.
  • Assists with grant preparation and reporting.
  • Performs complex statistical analysis of data collected and writes interpretative reports.  Verifies the correctness of the data submitted and makes recommendations based on these analyses.
  • Documents research topics and prepares and submits papers based on research work to publications and committees for publication or presentation to peers.
  • Solves practical problems relating to difficulties with equipment or experiments.  Suggests technical or procedural improvements in testing methods.
  • Conducts literature searches related to research project.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.
  • Helps train people in the lab in research techniques including optical imaging.

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.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Extensive experience with optical imaging – understanding basic principles, able to perform and troubleshoot optical imaging experiments.
  • Programming experience and engineering aptitude is desired.
  • Analytical, reasoning and problem-solving skills.
  • Ability to analyze and interpret statistical data and to communicate data in a clear, concise manner. 
  • Computer literacy, including the ability to use a variety of software packages to analyze data.

Required Qualifications

Master’s degree with four years of experience in research lab operations or an equivalent combination of education and experience equaling nine years.



Salary Range

$44,700.00 – $81,200.00 / Annually

The salary range reflects base salaries paid for positions in a given job grade across the University. Individual rates within the range will be determined by factors including one’s qualifications and performance, equity with others in the department, market rates for positions within the same grade and department budget.

To apply, go to and search job ID JR63393.

Pre-Employment Screening

All external candidates receiving an offer for employment will be required to submit to pre-employment screening for this position. The screenings will include criminal background check and, as applicable for the position, other background checks, drug screen, an 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.

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.