Undergraduate/Post-Baccalaureate Research Assistants

****We are no longer accepting applications for undergraduate/Post-Baccalaureate Research assistants****

Please check back in the future if you are still interested.

The mission of the lab is to have a deep impact on the fields of affective and translational neuroscience. To that end, we do our best to perform innovative studies that can lead to important discoveries, to disseminate our discoveries as widely as possible, and to mentor trainees to become top-notch scientists and scientist-clinicians.    

 If you are looking for a lab to join, please complete the application and email it along with an unofficial copy of your university transcript to Alex Shackman (shackman@umd.edu).

We’re always looking for people who are smart, productive, sensible, passionate, rigorous, fearless in the face of technical and logistical challenges, hardworking, blessed with a creative vision, highly ethical, and who can actively contribute to a positive lab environment (fun!). Students majoring in or planning to major in psychology, biology, or neurobiology/neuroscience are strongly encouraged to apply. Pre-med students who are willing and able to make the requisite commitment to the lab are also highly desirable. The lab provides an excellent opportunity for receiving top-notch mentorship in affective/translational neuroscience. My goal is to ensure that all of my trainees are happy and cultivate the range of skills necessary to secure positions at top research universities and medical schools.

Kinds of Duties: Based on their preferences, temperament, and career goals, undergraduate RAs in the lab tend to gravitate toward 1 of 4 kinds of jobs:

(1) Data Collection (people person; work directly with human research subjects as part of a team; administer tasks in the lab, mock scanner, or scanner; prepare subjects for collection of peripheral physiology/eye-tracking; administer surveys; calibrate equipment; obsessively document violations of research protocol and communicate problems with data collection; ensure adherence to highest ethical standards for the treatment of subjects and the protection of privacy/confidentiality; requires an obsessive attention to protocol details and the ability to communicate with a wide range of stakeholders, especially subjects, MNC personnel, and the lab administrative staff);

(2) Laboratory Administration (air traffic control; use email, phone, text, and IM to screen and enroll research subjects; coordinate subjects, lab personnel, and resources, including paperwork, scanner, and other apparatus; ensure that subjects are treated with respect and that their privacy/confidentiality is maintained; draft IRB amendments; order supplies; requires good people management, obsessive attention to logistical details, and the ability to communicate with a wide range of stakeholders, often remotely); or

(3) Analyzing Data (computer guru/code monkey; use existing computer software/code to process/analyze physiological data; write scripts and wrappers in bash, MATLAB, Python, Ruby, or Java; visually inspect data to confirm that it looks sensible and to better understand what it’s trying to teach us; develop and validate new ways of doing things; manage network resources and your own pre-existing beliefs about how the results should look; requires obsessive attention to detail and the ability to communicate with emotionally-devoid hard/software and emotionally-expressive lab directors).

(4) All of the Above (grad students, post-docs, and faculty scientists/clinician-scientists tend to do all of the above, in addition to writing papers and grants and giving oral presentations; experienced undergraduate RAs working on thesis projects will also have the opportunity to cultivate all of these skills).

Download the application form here:

Click Here for the Undergrad RA Application