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Washington University of St. Louis Postdoctoral Research Associate - Program in Physical Therapy - 46881 in St. Louis, Missouri

Post Doc Instructions

Please do not submit an application to this posting. To apply for this postdoctoral research opportunity, follow the directions below in “Applicant Special Instructions”.

Department Name/Job Location

This position is in the Program in Physical Therapy on the Medical School Campus.

Essential Functions


The Plasticity, Monoamines, and Recovery of Function Lab (PMRFLab), under the direction of Prof. Jacob McPherson (https://pt.wustl.edu/faculty-staff/faculty/jacob-g-mcpherson-phd/), has an immediate opening for a postdoctoral fellow with interests in neural engineering and neurorehabilitation. This individual will take a lead role in advancing an AHA Innovation Award-funded project that seeks to use principles of Hebbian neural plasticity to modify neural transmission in brainstem-spinal motor pathways in individuals with chronic hemiparetic stroke.

The PMRF Lab conducts both animal and human-subjects neurophysiology and neurological rehabilitation research. We explore interrelationships between the neural control of movement and pain processing after stroke and SCI. This work is predicated on the notion that optimal therapies for restoring function after neurological injury must be grounded in a neuromechanistic understanding of the causes of impairment, which requires an integrative view of nervous system function and an interdisciplinary approach to research. The ultimate goal of this work is to develop therapeutic strategies that leverage the interconnectivity of spinal sensory and motor networks to drive multi-modal rehabilitation. We are particularly interested in strategies that facilitate and direct the intrinsic ability of the central nervous system to reorganize and repair, including strategies designed to enhance the therapeutic benefits of physical rehabilitation. The lab takes a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding these phenomena, using neural engineering techniques (e.g., recording/stimulation in the nervous system, neural-computer interfaces, signal processing), quantitative motor and sensory testing, neuropharmacology, and physical therapy.

The successful candidate will join a dynamic, collaborative, and growing laboratory, and will work directly with Prof. McPherson to gain relevant technical and scientific expertise, as well as professional development mentorship. The PMRF Lab is housed within the vibrant Washington University School of Medicine, where the postdoctoral fellow will be able to interact directly with other faculty, postdocs, and students engaged in neural engineering, neurophysiology, and rehabilitation research. The PMRF Lab also maintains close ties with researchers in Washington University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Appointee must adhere to all applicable University policies, procedures and regulations. All data, research records and materials and other intellectual property generated in University laboratories remain the property of the University.

Additional information on being a postdoc at Washington University in St. Louis can be found at postdoc.wustl.edu/prospective-postdocs.


  1. Assists in the design of research experiments.
  2. Performs neurophysiology, electrophysiology, and kinematic/kinetic/biomechanical experiments in humans, including individuals with chronic stroke.
  3. Conducts quantitative analyses of complex neurophysiology and biomechanics datasets, as well as patient reported outcomes and clinical scales.
  4. Works closely with physical therapists and doctor of physical therapy students.
  5. Assists in preparation of manuscripts and grants.
  6. Provides guidance and mentorship to more junior lab members.
  7. Disseminates PMRF Lab research through presentations at conferences, symposia, etc.
  8. Serves as a liaison to other research groups to facilitate collaborations within and beyond Washington University.

Required Qualifications

  • Ph.D. and/or M.D. degree.
  • Strong background in biomedical engineering, neuroscience or a closely related field.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience in any of the following areas is highly desirable: human neuropathophysiology research (particularly stroke, neuropathic pain, or spinal cord injury research), quantitative analysis of biophysical signals (e.g., EMG, kinematics, EEG), Matlab programming, rehabilitation robotics or development of mechatronic systems for quantifying human biomechanics, and data acquisition/instrumentation.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team.

Salary Range

Base pay commensurate with experience.

Pre-Employment Screening

All external candidates receiving an offer for employment will be required to submit to pre-employment screening for this position. Current employees applying for a new position within the university may be subject to this requirement. The screenings will include a criminal background check and, as applicable for the position, other background checks, drug screen, employment and education or licensure/certification verification, physical examination, certain vaccinations and/or governmental registry checks. All offers are contingent upon successful completion of required screening.


This position is eligible for full-time benefits. Please click the following link to view a summary of benefits: https://hr.wustl.edu/benefits/.

Applicant Special Instructions

To apply for this postdoctoral research opportunity, interested candidates should send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, a statement of research experience and interests, and the contact information for at least three scientific references to Dr. Jacob McPherson at mcpherson.jacob@wustl.edu.

EOE Statement

Washington University is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, genetic information, disability, or protected veteran status.

Job Title: Postdoctoral Research Associate - Program in Physical Therapy - 46881

Job ID: 46881

Location: Medical School

Full/Part Time: Full-Time

Regular/Temporary: Regular