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Research Associate / Fellow in Behavioural Neuroscience

Camperdown, Australia
$105,350 - $118,390 p.a + 17% superannuation
Closing date
2 Apr 2024

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Job Details

  • Full time, 2 years fixed term. Located on the Camperdown Campus at the School of Psychology
  • Opportunity to conduct cutting-edge behavioural neuroscience research to impact a translational drug discovery program
  • Base Salary, Level A/B $105,350 - $118,390 p.a + 17% superannuation

About the opportunity

The School of Psychology are welcoming applications for a Postdoctoral Research Associate / Research Fellow in Behavioural Neuroscience and Psychopharmacology to join the Translational Psychopharmacology Team at the Brain and Mind Centre, to conduct preclinical research into the neurobiology and pharmacology of social behaviour. The successful applicant will be supervised by and work closely with Dr Nick Everett, within a larger translational program led by Professor Michael Bowen which currently has ~15 active staff and student researchers. This overarching goal of this program is to develop and translate novel pharmacotherapies for currently untreatable psychiatric diseases, particularly within domains of social behaviour and addictive disorders.

You will be expected to lead your own research activities, design new research protocols, analyse and interpret their findings, and contribute to the generation of new research strategies and ideas. Your research focus will be to understand the neurobiology of social behaviour and its dysfunction, to validate the role of oxytocin receptors in these neural pathways, and to use this knowledge to characterise novel small molecule oxytocin receptor agonists which are in development for the transdiagnostic treatment of social deficits. This will involve a variety of rat social behaviour tests, concurrently with contemporary neuroscience techniques including fibre photometry (calcium and neurotransmitter sensors), drug microinfusions and/or CRISPR or antisense tools to knockdown receptors. You will be expected to contribute to, or lead the design of new behavioural and neuroscience methods.

This research is expected to produce high impact behavioural neuroscience and psychopharmacology publications and will directly influence a major industry-partnered translational drug discovery program which is focused on identifying a clinical candidate compound and progressing into clinical trials in the next few years. You will have opportunities to interact with industry partners and to learn about translational drug development, including interacting with experts in clinical experiments, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, and medicinal chemistry.

You will work within a team of professional and academic research staff and students, and be expected to work collaboratively on other projects as needed, related to novel pharmacotherapies, social behaviour, oxytocin neurobiology, or substance use disorders. There will be opportunities to mentor junior researchers, depending on the experience and career goals of the applicant. You will also be encouraged to identify a grant application strategy to work towards, leveraging your research history and the successes you will have in this program.

The School of Psychology at the University of Sydney is currently ranked 27th in the world for psychology and is the first School of Psychology in Australia. We are proud of our history and reputation and believe in pursuing continuous innovation and excellence in our research and teaching.

Your key responsibilities will be to:

  • conduct and lead collaborative research with Dr Everett and Professor Bowen and their teams, including the generation of new ideas and research designs, and the execution of these experiments
  • conduct fibre photometry experiments during social behaviour tests in rats, and the associated methods required for this, including but not limited to: stereotaxic surgery, animal welfare, drug preparation and intraperitoneal injection, perfusion, histology, data analysis including programming (Python), data reporting
  • provide research support to others in the team as needed, including training junior staff and students in stereotaxic surgeries and histology
  • management of animal ethics protocols, adhere to protocols, monitor and report as outlined in the approved protocols
  • contribute to the existing culture of collaboration and 'paying it forward'.

About you

The University values courage and creativity; openness and engagement; inclusion and diversity; and respect and integrity. As such, we see the importance of recruiting talent aligned to these values and are looking a Postdoctoral Research Associate / Research Fellow in Behavioural Neuroscience and Psychopharmacology who has:

  • a PhD (or near completion) in behavioural neuroscience with rats and/or mice
  • a demonstrated interest or track-record in the neurobiology of social behaviour, the transdiagnostic relevance of social dysfunction, and the development of novel pharmacotherapies
  • a desire to work collaboratively within a research focused team
  • extensive experience with stereotaxic intracranial surgeries for brain microinjections (AAV and/or drug) and cannula placements (fibre optic and/or drug infusion cannula)
  • experience conducting and analysing in vivo neural recordings during behavioural and/or pharmacological tests, preferably with fibre photometry, but may include electrophysiology or miniscope imaging. This includes creation and troubleshooting of data analysis pipelines using programming languages like Python, R, or MatLab.
  • experience conducting microinjections via implanted cannula for neuropharmacology experiments (e.g. agonists, antagonists, or other molecules to brain regions or ventricles)
  • experience conducting rat behavioural experiments, preferably social behaviour and/or pavlovian/operant conditioning experiments
  • experience handling and using adeno-associated viruses (AAVs)
  • experience conducting perfusions, immunohistochemistry, and fluorescent microscopy for analysis of protein location and express in the rat brain (including location of AAV and cannula placements).
  • An articulated vision for how this research area could benefit their career trajectory and growth, including identifying grant opportunities or development of new research areas.

The applicant should nominate whether they are applying at Level A or Level B, based on their experience, leadership, and skillset which they will bring to the team.

To keep our community safe, please be aware of our COVID safety precautions which form our conditions of entry for all staff, students and visitors coming to campus.

Pre-employment checks

Your employment is conditional upon the completion of all role required pre-employment or background checks in terms satisfactory to the University. Similarly, your ongoing employment is conditional upon the satisfactory maintenance of all relevant clearances and background check requirements. If you do not meet these conditions, the University may take any necessary step, including the termination of your employment.

EEO statement

At the University of Sydney, our shared values include diversity and inclusion and we strive to be a place where everyone can thrive. We are committed to creating a University community which reflects the wider community that we serve. We deliver on this commitment through our people and culture programs, as well as key strategies to increase participation and support the careers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, women, people living with a disability, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and those who identify as LGBTIQ. We welcome applications from candidates from all backgrounds.

How to apply

Applications (including a cover letter, CV, and any additional supporting documentation) can be submitted via the Apply button at the top of the page.

For employees of the University or contingent workers, please login into your Workday account and navigate to the Career icon on your Dashboard. Click on USYD Find Jobs and apply.

For a confidential discussion about the role, or if you require reasonable adjustment or any documents in alternate formats, please contact Nicholas Everett on, or Simon Drew, Recruitment Operations, Human Resources on

Copyright The University of Sydney

The University reserves the right not to proceed with any appointment.

Click to view the Position Description for this role.

Applications Close

Tuesday 02 April 2024 11:59 PM


The University of Sydney was established in 1850 and is consistently recognised, both locally and internationally, for its outstanding teaching and research excellence. Sydney alumni include Prime Ministers, Governor Generals, Nobel Prize winners and leaders in every field of endeavour.

The University offers a comprehensive range of courses, including a number of disciplines unique in Australia. Teaching is spread across nine different state-of-the art campuses, located across New South Wales.

The University of Sydney’s commitment to excellence in research has resulted in an outstanding record in national competitive funding and underpins an approach to teaching which has won nominations for excellence and resulted in high student satisfaction ratings. The University has 78 research centres and institutes and is home to three ARC Centres of Excellence.

The teaching, research and cultural life of the University is supported by extensive facilities, including the largest library collection in the Southern Hemisphere, the world-class Nicholson Museum of archaeological antiquities, the Macleay Museum of natural history and ethnographic collections and the University Art Gallery. Its outstanding sporting and recreation facilities provide a training centre for students and Olympic athletes.

The University of Sydney is a key member of the Group of Eight Australian major research-intensive universities, and the Worldwide Universities Network.


The University of Sydney has nine official campuses.

1.         Camperdown/Darlington Campus.

2.         Cumberland Campus. Home to the Faculty of Health Sciences (based in Lidcombe).

3.         Mallett Street Campus. Home of the Sydney Nursing School.

4.         Sydney Conservatorium of Music Campus. In Macquarie Street, central Sydney.

5.         Rozelle Campus. Home to Sydney College of the Arts.

6.         Surry Hills Campus. Home to the Faculty of Dentistry.

7.         Camden Campus. Contains facilities connected to the Faculty of Veterinary Science and the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment.

8.         Burren Street Campus. Facilties are currently under development.

9.         Sydney Medical School campuses. These include the School of Rural Health (in Dubbo and Orange), the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Concord Hospital, Westmead Hospital, the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Nepean Hospital, Northern Clinical School, Sydney Adventist Hospital, Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health, and Northern Rivers University Department of Rural Health.


The University of Sydney has 16 faculties.

1. Agriculture and Environment

2. Architecture, Design and Planning

3. Arts and Social Sciences

4. Business (Business School)

5. Dentistry

6. Education and Social Work

7. Engineering and Information Technologies

8. Health Sciences

9. Law (Sydney Law School)

10. Medicine (Sydney Medical School)

11. Nursing and Midwifery

12. Pharmacy

13. Science

14. Sydney College of the Arts

15. Sydney Conservatorium of Music

16. Veterinary Science

Number of Employees

Full-time employees: 7616

For more information, please visit:

Company info
+(61) 2 9351 2222

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