Postdoctoral Scholar

Stanford Cognitive & Systems Neuroscience Laboratory

Palo Alto, CA

ID: 7118552
Posted: December 17, 2022
Application Deadline: Open Until Filled

Job Description

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University invites applications for a post-doctoral position to help lead a social communication intervention and neuroscience study for adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This individual will be working in a new lab led by Daniel Abrams, Ph.D., within the Stanford Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Laboratory directed by Vinod Menon, Ph.D. This project is a collaboration with Dr. Lynn Koegel, a leader in autism intervention research for her work developing Pivotal Response Treatment. We seek a candidate with a strong clinical research background to help oversee and manage an intervention focused on improving social pragmatics and communication in high-functioning adolescents with ASD. This study will integrate brain imaging techniques (fMRI, MRI), behavioral measures of speech perception and comprehension, and social, cognitive, and clinical assays to identify brain plasticity underlying improvements in social communication function following intervention. Trainees will be exposed to a variety of interdisciplinary methods, including standardized behavioral and cognitive assessments, autism diagnostics, speech and language sciences, and neuroscience.

The expected base pay for this position is the Stanford University required minimum for all postdoctoral scholars appointed through the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. The FY23 minimum is $68,238.

The successful candidate will be responsible for day-to-day oversight of all elements of the social communication intervention. Responsibilities include:
• Working with a dynamic and multidisciplinary team of clinicians, neuroscientists, and Clinical Research Coordinators
• Contributing to the design and documentation of the experimental protocol for the intervention
• Contributing to on-going autism clinical and cognitive research with the goal of first-author publications in peer-reviewed journals. Access to multiple datasets will contribute to publication and presentation opportunities
• Contributing to the preparation of Institutional Review Board (IRB) documentations, laboratory manuals, and participating in meetings and participants recruitment events/activities

Candidates must have a Ph.D. and research experience with clinical populations, preferably children with ASD or other developmental disorders. Expertise in performing clinical intervention research is also highly desired.


• Overseeing the social communication intervention as well as the acquisition of behavioral, clinical, and brain imaging data.
• Monitor the implementation of EEG and fMRI protocols.
• Verifying data and entering pertinent information into database for statistical analysis
• Collect and manage patient and laboratory data for clinical research projects through REDCap.
• Manage research project databases, develop flow sheets and other study related documents, and complete study documents/case report forms.
• Assist with orientation and training of new staff or students on lab procedures or techniques.

The job duties listed are typical examples of work performed by positions in this job classification and are not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, tasks, and responsibilities. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary depending on department or program needs without changing the general nature and scope of the job or level of responsibility. Employees may also perform other duties as assigned.

The Abrams Laboratory

The Abrams Laboratory, directed by Dr. Daniel Abrams, aims to understand how the brain enables us to form and maintain social connections with one another through vocal communication, and why some clinical populations, including children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), struggle in this area. Our research integrates multimodal brain imaging techniques, behavioral measures of speech perception and comprehension, and social, cognitive, and clinical assays to identify brain mechanisms underlying social and communication function and dysfunction.


• Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrates the ability to work well with Stanford colleagues and clients and with external organizations.
• Promote Culture of Safety: Demonstrates commitment to personal responsibility and value for safety; communicates safety concerns; uses and promotes safe behaviors based on training and lessons learned.
• Subject to and expected to comply with all applicable University policies and procedures, including but not limited to the personnel policies and other policies found in the University's Administrative Guide,


Strong interpersonal skills and highly motivated
Experience working with patient populations, particularly children with ASD
Experience with clinical trials or intervention research
Experience with fMRI or other brain imaging modality


Applicants with interest in autism, speech and language pathology, and/or children with neurodevelopmental disorders are encouraged to apply.

• Demonstrated performance to use knowledge and skills when needed.
• Demonstrated ability to problem solve work.
• Ability to maintain detailed records of experiments and outcomes.
• General computer skills and ability to quickly learn and master computer programs, databases, and scientific applications.
• Ability to work under deadlines with general guidance.
• Excellent organizational skills and demonstrated ability to accurately complete detailed work.


• Frequently stand, walk, twist, bend, stoop, squat and use fine light/fine grasping.
• Occasionally sit, reach above shoulders, perform desk-based computer tasks, use a telephone and write by hand, lift, carry, push, and pull objects that weigh up to 40 pounds.
• Rarely kneel, crawl, climb ladders, grasp forcefully, sort and file paperwork or parts, rarely lift, carry, push, and pull objects that weigh 40 pounds or more.

* - Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of his or her job.


• Position may at times require the employee to work with or be in areas where hazardous materials and/or exposure to chemicals, blood, body fluid or tissues and risk of exposure to contagious diseases and infections.
• May require extended or unusual work hours based on research requirements and business needs.

Stanford is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.