Post-Doctoral Neurobehavioral and Neuropharmacological Research Fellow

U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)
Reference Code
How to Apply

Click on Apply now at the bottom of the opportunity to start your application.


The Department of Defense (DoD) is offering a postdoctoral internship in the Performance Assessment and Chemical Evaluation (PACE) laboratory in the Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience (CMPN) at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR). WRAIR’s CMPN is an active and growing research community that uses state-of-the-art science to fulfill its mission of maintaining and restoring the mental and physical well-being of soldiers and civilians. 

What will I be doing?

One mission of the PACE laboratory research is to identify neurobiological targets and pharmacological compounds that effectively promote behavioral, physiological and emotional recovery from traumatic stress exposure. Using rodent models, the lab assesses performance on behavioral tasks including operant behavior, maze performance, emotional reactivity, spontaneous motor activity, and other indices of learned and unlearned behavior. Neuroendocrine and neurobiological correlates are also assessed, using standard approaches like ELISA, immunohistochemistry and microscopy. With collaborators, the research team is able to transition treatment strategies showing efficacy in preclinical settings to advanced testing for eventual application in clinical populations recovering from acute trauma or post-traumatic stress.  

As an ORISE participant, you will collaborate on projects and develop expertise in the skills routinely used in the laboratory. Once oriented to laboratory procedures, you and your mentor will develop projects from conception to publication. During your appointment, you will develop and plan experiments with appropriate well-controlled designs that meet the laboratory's mission. You will then complete the experiments and data collection in collaboration with the research team.

Why should I apply?

Under the guidance of a mentor, you will gain hands-on experience to complement your education and support your academic and professional goals. Along the way, you will engage in activities and research that help expand laboratory capabilities to include chemogenetics, optogenetics, ex vivo whole-cell electrophysiology in brain slices, and other methods to evaluate neural circuit adaptations arising from traumatic stress. You will also expand your knowledge and understanding in pre-clinical evaluations of GABAergic and ant-inflammatory drugs to assess the prevention and treatment of stress-induced performance deficits and stress-induced dysregulation of brain activity neuroimmune response. 

Where will I be located? Silver Spring, Maryland

What is the anticipated start date?

The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research is ready to make appointments immediately. Exact start dates will be determined at the time of selection and in coordination with the selected candidate. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis and internships will be filled as qualified candidates are identified.

What is the appointment length?

This appointment is a twelve month research appointment, with the possibility to be renewed for additional research periods. Appointments may be extended depending on funding availability, project assignment, program rules, and availability of the participant.

What are the benefits?

Participants will receive a stipend to be determined by WRAIR. Stipends are typically based on the participant’s academic standing, discipline, experience, and research facility location.  Other benefits may include the following:
  • Health Insurance Supplement. Participants are eligible to purchase health insurance through ORISE.
  • Relocation Allowance
  • Training and Travel Allowance

Nature of Appointment

The participant will not enter into an employee/employer relationship with ORISE, ORAU, DoD, or any other office or agency.  Instead, the participant will be affiliated with ORISE for the administration of the appointment through the ORISE appointment letter and Terms of Appointment.


The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) is the largest biomedical research institute in the Department of Defense with a 128-year history in militarily relevant infectious diseases and brain health research. WRAIR has served as a model for the world in the development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics for the most pressing health issues of concern to soldier health and global health. All components of biomedical research and development are conducted at the Institute laboratories and facilities on four continents via close collaboration with local governments through the US State Department.

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As a prerequisite to achieving the above learning objectives, all candidates should have a Medical or Doctoral degree or anticipate to receive a Medical or Doctoral degree by May 31, 2021. Relevant research experience in experimental psychology, neuropsychology, neuropsychopharmacology, neuroscience, psychiatry, pharmacology, or biology is also required.

Preferred areas of knowledge and skills: 

  • Knowledge of analysis/statistical programs, such as SPSS and electronic survey platforms.
  • Excellent communication, organization, and prioritization skills.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office programs including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Experience in any of the following will be considered strongly qualified: animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders, intracranial surgical techniques, electrophysiology, chemogenetics, optogenetics, brain imaging approaches.

A complete application consists of:

  • Zintellect Profile
  • Educational and Employment History
  • Essay Questions (goals, experiences, and skills relevant to the opportunity)
  • Resume (PDF)
  • Transcripts/Academic Records - For this opportunity, an unofficial transcript or copy of the student academic records printed by the applicant or by academic advisors from internal institution systems may be submitted.  Click here for detailed information about acceptable transcripts.
  • 3 Recommendation(s)

Submitted documents must have all social security numbers, student identification numbers, and/or dates of birth removed (blanked out, blackened out, made illegible, etc.) prior to uploading into the application system.

If you have questions, send an email to Please list the reference code of this opportunity in the subject line of the email. All documents must be in English or include an official English translation.

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Eligibility Requirements
  • Citizenship: LPR or U.S. Citizen
  • Degree: Doctoral Degree received within the last 60 months or anticipated to be received by 5/31/2021 11:59:00 PM.
  • Overall GPA: 3.00
  • Discipline(s):
    • Earth and Geosciences (1 )
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (14 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (47 )
  • Age: Must be 18 years of age