Job Description

Payroll Title:
Hiring Salary Range
$24.88 - $29.68 / Hour
La Jolla
Appointment Type:
Appointment Percent:
RX Contract
Total Openings:
Work Schedule:
Days, 8 hrs/day, Monday - Friday

#119531 Neural Circuit Researcher

Extended Deadline: Mon 2/13/2023

UC San Diego values equity, diversity, and inclusion. If you are interested in being part of our team, possess the needed licensure and certifications, and feel that you have most of the qualifications and/or transferable skills for a job opening, we strongly encourage you to apply.

For the safety and well-being of the entire university community, the University of California requires, with few exceptions, that all students, faculty and staff be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus and influenza before they will be allowed on campus or in a facility or office. For more information visit: Flu Vaccine Mandate / COVID Vaccine Policy

UCSD Layoff from Career Appointment: Apply by 10/19/2022 for consideration with preference for rehire. All layoff applicants should contact their Employment Advisor.

Special Selection Applicants: Apply by 10/28/2022. Eligible Special Selection clients should contact their Disability Counselor for assistance.

Placement within the salary range is determined by internal equity, relevant qualifications, and collective bargaining agreements (when applicable).


Neuroscience laboratory in the Department of Psychiatry using mouse genetics and behavior to define the contribution of discrete neural circuits in basic processes underlying mental health and disease.

Under supervision, incumbent will be part of a neuroscience research laboratory focused on neural circuitry and neurochemistry underlying motivated behavior, decision making, and mental illnesses including depression, schizophrenia, and substance use disorders, as well as Parkinson's Disease. Researcher will work closely with live rodents as experimental subjects and assist in performing techniques that include brain surgeries, behavioral training and analyses, in vivo recordings, optogenetics and pharmacological manipulations, molecular biology, histology, building behavioral testing and recording devices, and programming behavioral tasks and data analysis code. Performs other related functions as required.


  • Theoretical knowledge as required in a Bachelor's degree plus two (2) years of laboratory experience or two (2) years of college courses in neuroscience (or related). Or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

  • Excellent verbal, written, and electronic communication skills that facilitate professional, effective, and courteous interaction with a diverse population. Ability to interpret and carry out written and oral instructions effectively and accurately.

  • Effective interpersonal skills with ability to effectively communicate orally and in writing. Possess skills of tact, poise, diplomacy, confidentiality and flexibility in a lab environment that interacts with a diverse group of research and technical personnel and other laboratories. Ability to work in a team framework in conjunction with principles of community with other lab personnel/staff, faculty, and students.

  • Sensitivity to the needs of caged laboratory animals in compliance with AAALAC guidelines.

  • Solid computer skills using MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, email system, and a variety of web-based programs. Demonstrated ability to create and maintain databases, perform standard computer tasks, learn new programs/applications with minimal direction. Demonstrated commitment to update/maintain technology skills with relevant computer software.

  • Ability to work collaboratively on a research project and learn new experimental methods as required.


  • Knowledge of brain anatomy, neural circuit function, neurobiology, animal learning and behavior.
  • Experience with mouse handling and/or colony management (genetics and maintenance of mouse lines) including genotyping, husbandry methods, breeding, weaning, tail clipping of offspring, surgical procedures, behavioral measurements, injections/euthanasia, and maintenance of water system, cage and water bottles.
  • Experience with general lab maintenance including maintain stocks of essential supplies and reagents, purchase lab supplies, and ensure lab is clean/organized and lab equipment is running efficiently.
  • Experience with coding for data analysis (e.g., python, Matlab, R, or similar) and basic statistical knowledge.
  • Experience and interest in designing and independently building electronics devices (e.g., Arduino or similar), 3-D printing, programming behavioral tasks and interfacing with multimodal recordings (e.g., real-time video tracking, closed-loop optogenetics, in vivo imaging or electrophysiology).
  • Experience performing molecular biology techniques including DNA preparation/extraction and PCR genotyping.
  • Experience working safely with potentially hazardous viral gene-transfer vectors & lab chemicals. Experience making basic chemical solutions.
  • Experience performing routine histochemical staining and immunohistochemistry and troubleshooting new protocols. Experience preparing and analyzing tissue samples for histology (e.g., perfusion, tissue dissection, sectioning, immunofluorescence, microscopy).
  • Working knowledge of basic lab operations, procedures and proper use and maintenance of lab equipment. Knowledge of basic lab safety requirements as well as EH&S regulations for handling, clean-up, storage, and disposal of biohazardous substances.
  • Experience using and conceptual understanding of fluorescent biosensor imaging, electrophysiological, or electrochemical recordings in vivo or in brain slices. Experience with and conceptual understanding of behavioral pharmacology and optogenetics.


  • Must be willing and able to work in an animal research-related work environment.
  • Must be punctual with the ability to maintain regular hours with the flexibility and willingness to work brief periods on weekends for post-operative monitoring and feeding food-restricted animals as needed.

Pay Transparency Act Full Salary Range: $51,949 - $61,972 Annually

The University of California, San Diego is required to provide a reasonable estimate of the compensation range for this role. This range takes into account the wide range of factors that are considered in making compensation decisions including but not limited to experience, skills, knowledge, abilities, education, licensure and certifications, and other business and organizational needs. It is not typical for an individual to be offered a salary at or near the top of the range for a position. Salary offers are determined based on final candidate qualifications and experience. The full salary range for this position is defined as the Full Pay Range. The budgeted salary or hourly range that the University reasonably expects to pay for this position defined as the Expected Pay Scale. Placement within the Expected Pay Scale is determined by internal equity, relevant qualifications, and collective bargaining agreements (when applicable).

Job offer is contingent on successful engagement in the UC COVID-19 Vaccination program (fully vaccinated with documented proof or approved exception/deferral).

If applicable, life-support certifications (BLS, NRP, ACLS, etc.) must include hands-on practice and in-person skills assessment; online-only certification is not acceptable.

UC San Diego Health Sciences is comprised of our School of Medicine, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, The Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science, and our Student Health and Well-Being Department. We have long been at the forefront of translational - or "bench-to-bedside" - research, transforming patient care through discovery and innovation leading to new drugs and technologies. Translational research is carried out every day in the hundreds of clinical trials of promising new therapies offered through UC San Diego Health, and in the drive of our researchers and clinician-scientists who are committed to having a significant impact on patient care. We invite you to join our team!

Applications/Resumes are accepted for current job openings only. For full consideration on any job, applications must be received prior to the initial closing date. If a job has an extended deadline, applications/resumes will be considered during the extension period; however, a job may be filled before the extended date is reached.

To foster the best possible working and learning environment, UC San Diego strives to cultivate a rich and diverse environment, inclusive and supportive of all students, faculty, staff and visitors. For more information, please visit UC San Diego Principles of Community.

UC San Diego Health is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, protected veteran status, gender identity or sexual orientation. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

UC San Diego is a smoke and tobacco free environment. Please visit for more information.

UC San Diego Health maintains a marijuana and drug free environment. Employees may be subject to drug screening.

Application Instructions

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