Posted: 4/29/2022

Postdoctoral Research Associate (BRC, Castro Lab)

The Castro Lab based in Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology is seeking to hire a Postdoctoral Research Associate to conduct research related to understanding the role of endogenous opioids in the brain and in metabolic organs.

Our lab integrates in vivo fiber photometry, in vivo endoscopic imaging, optogenetics and chemogenetics, genetic editing techniques (e.g., CRISPR), pharmacology, and genetic knockout/knockin approaches to selectively augment specific neuropeptide systems and monitor ongoing behavior. We are particularly interested in the role of endogenous opioids in neural circuits related to affect and motivation, as well as how opioids modulate glucose homeostasis in pancreatic islets. In parallel, we also engage in multiple technology development collaborations to develop new tools for behavioral neuroscience research. The ultimate goal is to both create and use advanced next-generation tools for in vivo research. To learn more about the type of work we do, please see Castro et al., 2021, Nature; Zhang and Castro et al., 2019, PNAS; Castro and Berridge, 2017, PNAS; Castro and Berridge, 2014, Journal of Neuroscience; Castro and Bruchas, 2019, Neuron; Castro, Cole and Berrdige; 2015; Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience.

Opioid use and misuse has resulted in one of the worst public health crises of the 21st century. One major contributor for why this crisis has been so difficult to combat is that opioids possess both therapeutic (e.g., pain relief) and undesirable (e.g., addictive) properties. Until recently, the ability to parse specific opioid subsystems has been limited due inadequate technologies. In the Castro Lab, we use and develop tools that allow us to examine the biological mechanisms of opioids with molecular, cellular, circuit, and behavioral resolution.

The Castro Lab is embedded within the Biophotonics Research Center (BRC), a consortium of independent labs housed within Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology (MIR). Together, these labs develop and utilize myriad of optical technologies for neuroscience, cancer, and metabolic research. Additionally, as part of the MIR, individuals would have access to the Small Animal Magnetic Resonance Facility, which provides state of the art preclinical imaging at Washington University in St. Louis. The lab is also affiliated with the Hope Center for Neurological Disorders and the Diabetes Research Center. As a member of the Castro Lab, the postdoctoral research would have access to the world class resources provided by the University, and opportunities to engage with leaders in neuroscience and metabolism research domains.

Information on being a postdoc at Washington University in St. Louis can be found at

Learn More and Apply

Primary Duties & Responsibilities
Training under the supervision of faculty mentors, including (but not limited to):
• Manage personal project.
• Develop proficiency in multiple forms of in vivo imaging including data acquisition and analysis.
• Develop proficiency in mouse behavior experimentation.
• Develop proficiency in stereotaxic surgery and histology.
• Develop proficiency in genetic and pharmacological experimental interventions.
• Develop proficiency in coding.
• Assist in the design of research experiments.
• Evaluate research findings and assist in the reporting of the results.
• Develop proficiency in writing, public speaking, networking, and critical evaluation of scientific documents.
• Present scientific work both inside and outside the University.
• Assist with grant preparation and reporting.
• Prepare and submit research papers.
• Discharge research responsibilities in a conscientious manner.
• Adhere to ethical standards of research.
• Maintain compliance with good laboratory practice, including the maintenance of adequate research records.
• Engage in open and timely discussion with their mentor regarding possession or distribution of material, reagents, or records belonging to their laboratory and any proposed disclosure of findings or techniques privately or in publications.
• Behave in a collegial fashion towards co-trainees, staff members and members of the research group.
• 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.

Required Qualifications
Ph.D., M.D. or equivalent terminal or doctoral degree.

Preferred Qualifications
•Two years of hands-on experience with mouse behavior.
•Demonstrated ability to implement laboratory procedures, conduct research and records findings.

Working Conditions
This position works in a laboratory environment with potential exposure to biological and chemical hazards.  The individual must be physically able to wear protective equipment and to provide standard care to research animals.​

Salary Range
Base pay commensurate with experience.

Applicant Special Instructions
To apply to this posting, please submit a CV or NIH Biosketch to:

Daniel Castro, PhD
Assistant Professor
Biophotonics Research Center (BRC)
Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology
Washington University in St. Louis