Postdoctoral Fellow in Neuroimaging of Learned Skills

Massachusetts, United States
11 Mar 2019
End of advertisement period
08 Apr 2019
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time


Faculty of Arts and Sciences


Department of Human Evolutionary Biology

Position Description

The Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University invites applications for a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Evolutionary Neuroscience Laboratory of Dr. Erin Hecht. The focus of the position will be to study neurodevelopmental adaptations for the acquisition of learned skills. The project involves longitudinal neuroimaging of military working dogs, from puppyhood through adulthood, as they progress through a formal on-base training regimen. Several weeks of paid travel per year will be required to a research site in Texas.

This is a one-year position, expected to begin in spring or summer 2019, with possibility of renewal dependent upon adequate funding and satisfactory performance. The research will take place in the Evolutionary Neuroscience Laboratory directed by Dr. Hecht and located in the Peabody Museum on Harvard University’s Cambridge, Massachusetts campus, and on-site at the Lackland Air Force Base outside San Antonio.

Broadly, the Evolutionary Neuroscience Laboratory studies how brains change in response to selection pressure on behavior, and how brains acquire heritable adaptations for complex, learned behaviors. Comparisons between modern humans and our living primate relatives provide a way to address this question in the context of our own evolutionary history. In addition, the lab investigates general mechanisms of brain-behavior evolution by studying “unnatural selection” in intentionally-bred animals, including domestic dogs and foxes. The lab uses a variety of experimental and computational tools, such as structural and functional neuroimaging, histology and digital microscopy, and behavior analysis.

Basic Qualifications

A doctoral degree is required for this position.

Additional Qualifications

Desired qualifications include research in neuroscience, neuroimaging, development, and/or animal behavior. The project will require working with dogs and coordinating with an interdisciplinary research team that will include scientists, veterinarians, dog handlers and trainers, and military personnel. This research is non-invasive.

Special Instructions

Please submit a letter of interest, an updated CV, and the names of three references by email to Dr. Erin Hecht at erin_hecht@fas.harvard.edu. Evaluation will begin at the time the advertisement is placed and will continue until the position is filled.
The lab’s website is: https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/evolutionaryneurosciencelab

Contact Information

Erin E. Hecht, PhD
Principal Investigator
Evolutionary Neuroscience Laboratory
Department of Human Evolutionary Biology
Harvard University
Peabody Museum
11 Divinity Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

Contact Email


Equal Opportunity Employer

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions or any other characteristic protected by law.

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