Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Functional Neuroimaging and the Scientific Study of Religion

Position Description

The Institute for the Bio-Cultural Study of Religion invites applications for a post-doctoral fellowship in functional neuroimaging and the scientific study of religion, working at the VA Boston Healthcare System with Principal Investigator Dr. Patrick McNamara, Co-Principal Investigators Dr. Raymon Durso and Dr. Wesley Wildman. The fellowship begins as soon as possible in 2013 and runs for two years with the possibility of extension for as much as a further 12 months.

The individual selected for this position will be trained in the neuroscientific study of religious cognition and the design and execution of experimental cognitive neuroscience studies in relation to religious cognition. This will involve functional neuroimaging, including analysis of structural and functional imaging parameters acquired from MRI measures of brain morphometry, white matter tissue structure from Diffusion Tensor Imaging, and resting functional brain networks. Functional connectivity analyses will be utilized to examine networks of brain regions that are highly correlated utilizing dopamine-rich regions as the initial seed. All imaging will occur on a 3-Tesla Siemens TIM Trio scanner using a Siemens 8-channel head coil.

The successful candidate will assist the PIs in overall project management; work with VA Boston Healthcare System Internal Review Board to ensure proper protections for human subjects in all studies; recruit appropriate patients and test them on protocols; supervise other project staff; score and analyze neuropsychologic and neuroimaging testing results; create and maintain project databases; conduct data quality checking and diagnostics; plan, direct, and conduct statistical analyses; and write up results for publication in papers, books, abstracts, manuals, and presentations at conferences.

Desired Skills and Experience

The ideal candidate will have an interest in both neuroscience and religion. Previous experience with experimental cognitive neuroscience paradigms is helpful but not required. Previous experience with neuroimaging is helpful but not required. Facility with multivariate statistical modeling is helpful but not required. Some knowledge of religious studies or the scientific study of religion is helpful but not required.

Company Description

The Institute for the Biocultural Study of Religion is a research institute dedicated to the scientific study of religion. IBCSR was founded in 2007 as a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation. Its mission is three-fold.

  • Research: IBCSR aims to conduct leading-edge research into the biological and cultural foundations and functions of religion.
  • Training: IBCSR aims to train researchers in the bio-cultural study of religion at the very highest level.
  • Outreach: IBCSR aims to reach out to researchers, scholars, and the general public to build professional networks and to share information about the bio-cultural study of religion.

More information is available at

This postdoctoral research fellowship is part of a research collaboration with the Boston VA Research Institute. BVARI was established in 1990 to conduct, promote and support the medical research and education activities of the VA Boston Healthcare System and to advance the wellbeing of veterans and the general public by these endeavors. This particular collaborative research project is located in the Jamaica Plain campus of VA Boston Healthcare System.

The Institute for the Bio-Cultural Study of Religion is an equal opportunity employer. It is the policy of IBCSR to prohibit discrimination and harassment of any type and to afford equal employment opportunities to employees and applicants, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status.

How Candidates Apply

Please apply for the position electronically by sending curriculum vitae, representative publications, a cover letter detailing your research interests, and contact information for at least three references to both Dr. Patrick McNamara (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Distribution of Position Announcement

Please feel free to distribute this position announcement, or this pdf version, to interested individuals and organizations.