Postdoctoral Research Associate – (Los Angeles, California, United States)

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is seeking a Postdoctoral Scholar – Research Associate to join the interdisciplinary research team of Dr. Daniel A. Hackman.  This position is an excellent research opportunity for those with expertise and/or interest in developmental cognitive and affective neuroscience, psychology, public and environmental health, social determinants of health, education policy, social work, and biostatistics.  The postdoctoral scholar will be working on an NICHD funded study of the role of neighborhoods in brain development, cognition, and emotion across adolescence; vulnerability to the COVID-19 pandemic and school-related changes; and the factors that may protect against adversity and foster resilience.  The position involves analysis of longitudinal data from a large nationwide sample utilizing multi-modal structural and functional neuroimaging data as well as data on behavior, neighborhood characteristics, educational environments, and family contexts.  The postdoctoral scholar will be under the primary mentorship of Dr. Hackman, and the position will provide excellent training and experience in interdisciplinary, developmental research that incorporates cognitive and affective neuroscience, social and environmental contexts, and more.  The candidate will also have the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from the wider research team at USC, CHLA, Columbia University, and Dartmouth College. 

The candidate will contribute to meeting all aims of the study.  The candidate will manage data, conduct statistical analyses, and interpret and communicate findings, with specific focus on longitudinal multi-level modeling and/or other advanced analytic methods.  Writing manuscripts to communicate results both as lead- and as co-author is essential to the position, and the candidate will also present at conferences and contribute to conference presentations.  Strong candidates will capitalize on the opportunity to lead analyses and manuscripts relevant to their research interests.  There will also be opportunities to learn or stay informed of developments and innovations in the relevant research literature.  The candidate will participate in team meetings; assist with grant administration and management; potentially supervise others on the project, such as graduate and undergraduate students; and contribute to other related duties as assigned or requested.

Preferred qualifications

  • PhD in psychology, neuroscience, education, public health, sociology, social work, or related fields.
  • Demonstrated interest and/or experience in theory and methodology in fields/topics such as developmental cognitive and effective neuroscience, neuroimaging, developmental psychology, neighborhood effects, life course/adolescent development, social determinants of health, educational environments, and/or neuroimaging.
  • Strong computational and quantitative background with advanced analytic techniques, such as linear mixed effects modeling, fixed effect regression, structural equation modeling, and/or additional advanced modeling techniques for large, longitudinal datasets.
  • Skilled in programming, coding and statistical analyses using R and other programs such as SAS, Mplus, etc
  • Excellent record of peer-reviewed, scientific publications
  • Highly motivated and exemplary ability to work independently and collaborate in teams
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, strong interpersonal skills

The annual rate range for this position is $64,480 – $66,000. When extending an offer of employment, the University of Southern California considers factors such as (but not limited to) the scope and responsibilities of the position, the candidate’s work experience, education/training, key skills, internal peer equity, federal, state, and local laws, contractual stipulations, grant funding, as well as external market and organizational considerations.

This position is fixed-term, 100% grant-funded.

Job Application Requirements:

  • CV
  • Cover letter with a statement of research interests
  • Contact information for 3 references

USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

The mission of the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is to improve the well-being of vulnerable individuals and communities, advance social and economic justice, and eradicate pressing societal problems in complex and culturally diverse urban environments throughout Southern California, the nation and the world. Our mission is achieved through value-driven, scholarly, and creative social work education, research, and professional leadership.

Job Qualifications:

Minimum Education: Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate within the previous five years.

The candidate should not have more than a cumulative 5 years of previous postdoc experience and must be within 5 years of their terminal degree.


Minimum Education:

Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate within previous five years

Minimum Experience:

0-1 year

Minimum Field of Expertise:

Directly related education in research specialization with advanced knowledge of
equipment, procedures and analysis methods.

Preferred Field of Expertise:

Publications in peer-reviewed journals in the same or related field

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