Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Decision Neuroscience Lab University of New South Wales School of Psychology Faculty of Science Australia

Postdoc Research Associate

 Job no: 496743
Work type: Fixed term / Full time
Location: Sydney, NSW
Categories: Post doctoral research fellow

  • One of Australia’s leading research & teaching universities
  • Vibrant campus life with a strong sense of community & inclusion
  • Enjoy a career that makes a difference by collaborating & learning from the best


At UNSW, we pride ourselves on being a workplace where the best people come to do their best work.


The School of Psychology is located in the Faculty of Science and has over 40 full-time members of academic staff and 17 general staff. It has an operating budget of over $12 million and additional research funding of over $15 million per annum. The School administers a range of undergraduate courses and degrees, with student numbers of over 1,000 in the first year to 65 in the fourth year Honours research program. The School also offers two postgraduate professional coursework Masters degrees, with a total enrolment of 60, and supervises the research of over 120 students enrolled in the PhD degree program. The School is very active in research, with most staff holding external research funding. The School has extensive laboratory facilities for both research and teaching.

About the role
  • $75K-$100K plus 17% Superannuation and annual leave loading
  • Fixed Term – 2 years
  • Full-time (35 hours per week)


This position is for a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Decision Neuroscience Lab.
The role reports to Bernard Balleine and has no direct reports.


The Decision Neuroscience Lab investigates the neural determinants of goal-directed action and collects data during active behaviour from rodent and human subjects using a combination of computational modelling, signal processing techniques, and both invasive and non-invasive techniques for recording neural activity. In humans we collect behavioural and neuroimaging data, the latter using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), whereas in rodents we collect behavioural and real time neuronal activity data derived from calcium imaging using both fibre photonics and endoscopic imaging as well as conducting exhaustive ex vivo analyses


Specific responsibilities for this role include:

  • Design, implementation and piloting of experiments in adult rats and mice.
  • Perform small animal survival stereotaxic surgery including the insertion of guide cannula, infusion of pharmacological agents, and other surgical procedures as may be necessary.
  • Perform general histological evaluation of animal tissue including tissue sectioning, staining, immunohistochemical labelling, microscopic imaging, tissue maintenance and storage.
  • Perform other support tasks associated with general laboratory experimentation, including data analyses, literature searches, grant application and ethics approval.
  • Manage the animal laboratory, including taking responsibility for managing experimental work, animal care, adherence to OHS guidelines.
  • Write scientific communications intended for publication in refereed journals.
  • In consultation with Professor Balleine, supervise graduate and honours level undergraduate students during the course of specific projects
  • Cooperate with all health and safety policies and procedures of the university and take all reasonable care to ensure that your actions or omissions do not impact on the health and safety of yourself or others.


About the successful applicant

To be successful in this role you will have:


  • PhD in an appropriate discipline (Neuroscience, Psychology, Biology, Medicine).
  • Demonstrated experience to set up and monitor new and existing experimental projects.
  • Demonstrated laboratory skills in studying and manipulating animal learning, measuring animal behaviour, and measuring the influence of primary motivational variables particularly their physiological and behavioural impact in rodents.
  • In depth knowledge of multiple neural systems in rodent brain and cell types involved particularly relating to the basal ganglia.
  • Ability to work closely as part of a team and strategically contribute to research outcomes.
  • Proficient in immunohistochemistry.
  • Skills in microscopy, particularly in confocal microscopy.
  • A thorough understanding of experimental design, statistics and statistical methods.
  • Demonstrated ability to write scientific papers and to present scientific ideas and data in presentations.
  • Knowledge of health and safety responsibilities and commitment to attending relevant health and safety training.


  • Ability to write grant applications.
  • Demonstrated ability to set up, conduct and analyse chemogenetic, pharmacogenetic, optogenetic and calcium imaging studies using various viruses and appropriate optical imaging tools.
  • High level of computing skills including databases, spreadsheets and graphical programs.


You should systematically address the selection criteria listed within the position description in your application. Please apply online - applications will not be accepted if sent to the contact listed.


Prof. Bernard Balleine


Applications close: May 11th, 2019


Find out more about working at UNSW at

UNSW aspires to be the exemplar Australian university and employer of choice for people from diverse backgrounds. UNSW aims to ensure equality in recruitment, development, retention and promotion of staff and that no-one is disadvantaged on the basis of their gender, cultural background, disability, sexual orientation or identity or Indigenous heritage. We encourage everyone who meets the selection criteria to apply.

UNSW partners with Australia’s leading diversity organisations, networks, and campaigns. Please refer to UNSW’s diversity offerings for further information on our flexible work and leave options, and support for carers (childcare, parent rooms, parental leave).


Advertised: 11 Apr 2019 AUS Eastern Standard Time

Applications close: 11 May 2019 AUS Eastern Standard Time

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Bioloxy


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