Post-doctoral position in Environmental and Neuroepidemiology - USC Department of Preventative Medicine

LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA

CLOSING DATE: open until filled


JOB #: 12982

POSTED: September 7, 2018



University of Southern California (USC) and Harvard School of Public Health

Are you an population scientist interested in helping develop an exciting new project examining the environmental determinants of adolescent brain development?

Investigators in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC) and the Harvard School of Public Health are developing a new study of environmental influences on brain development in the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. A cohort of 10,000 childrenrecruited at age 10, in cities across the U.S., has had baseline assessment of behavior and cognition, and is being followed to assess cognition yearly and brain MRI every other year through age 21. Developed to understand the determinants and effects of substance use, with support from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the cohort is one of the world’s premier resources for the study of adolescent brain development.

The ABCD study has recently approved a proposal to link state-of-the-art air pollution exposure and social covariates to the addresses of the homes and schools of the cohort, to be done jointly by the USC and Harvard Environmental Health Sciences Centers, and the ABCD Data Analysis Center, with support from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The scope of work will be to examine the relationships of exposure and contextual social covariates to brain structure and cognitive function, cross-sectionally at baseline and prospectively in 1000 study participants for whom the first follow-up MRI data are available. This is a unique opportunity that could launch the career of a junior investigator.

The successful candidate will have opportunities for lead authorship on manuscripts from the initiative and to participate in the development of a new application to leverage more fully the opportunities afforded by ABCD to examine environmental and built environmental determinants of healthy brain development. Time permitting, additional analyses will be possible using the rich ABCD resource, which is conceived and implemented as a public use data set.

The USC and Harvard centers are among the country’s leading environmental population science groups, operating in a rich environment including multiple other environmental health-related centers and training grants supported by NIH. ABCD investigators include some of the country’s leading population neurocognitive and addiction neuroscientists. Opportunities for early investigators to strengthen the skills and knowledge base needed for career advancement include guidance in developing career directions and priorities, in grant writing, making effective presentations, preparing manuscripts, and developing multidisciplinary research teams.  Both Centers have an established track record of success in helping junior investigators to obtain faculty positions or first NIH awards.

A background in population study of air pollution, social or neuroscience is preferred, but other exceptional candidates will be considered. The preferred candidate will reside in Los Angeles. However, the award is on a tight timeline to produce preliminary data, and highly qualified candidates in Boston, or who are not ready to relocate at the present time, will be considered. An exceptionally qualified candidate interested in half-time work would also be considered. We do require a doctoral degree or equivalent in epidemiology or related population science, and the candidate must have a visa to work in the U.S.

Applications will remain open until the position is filled. Please send a letter describing research interests, curriculum vita, copies of one or two recent publications if applicable, and contact information for three individuals who are familiar with academic accomplishments to:

Megan Herting, PhD

Department of Preventive Medicine

Keck School of Medicine of USC