Skip to main content

Junior Specialist - Autism Center of Excellence

Application Window

Open date: August 2nd, 2021

Last review date: Monday, Aug 16, 2021 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications received after this date will be reviewed by the search committee if the position has not yet been filled.

Final date: Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

Position description


This position will be involved in two interdisciplinary studies focusing on questions investigating the behavioral, medical, and developmental characteristics of autism in children and adolescents. The MIND Institute Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) seeks to better identify, characterize, and treat clinically significant subtypes of autism to improve quality of life for autistic children. The ACE includes multiple studies, which work in conjunction with several pre-existing MIND Institute studies. This position will work primarily on two projects within the ACE:

  • The BRAIN study, which aims to understand a subtype of autism characterized by large brain size, focusing on children ages 2-6.
  • The GI-QUAL study, a new project aimed at improving the quality and reliability of screening instruments used to evaluate gastrointestinal symptoms in autism. The position may also have opportunity to work with the Girls with Autism – Imaging in Neurodevelopment (GAIN) study, which studies sex-differences in autism.

The ideal candidate will have strong interpersonal, communication, and decision-making skills; as well as the ability to work well independently and as part of a team. This candidate will work closely with the BRAIN & GI-QUAL teams, including Dr. Christine Wu Nordahl (PI), Dr. Bibiana Restrepo (PI), and Dr. Brianna Heath (Project Manager).

Position is full time, with flexible work hours and requiring night time availability and hours that may change on short notice; reliable transportation to all of these shifts is required.


  • Assist in collection of study data including recruitment and scheduling of research participants and guiding participants through their study visits
  • Learn and administer research assessments and work with study team to evaluate resulting data
  • Assist in preparation and acquisition of non-sedation MRI scans with toddlers during their natural night time sleep
  • Contribute to data processing including scoring of behavioral assessments, MR imaging pre-processing, maintaining subject electronic medical record, and tracking subject behavioral and medical data
  • Contribute to research publications by designing and pursuing research questions related to behavior and neurodevelopment in autism
  • Analyze data using statistical methods and programs and interpret results by comparing data from subjects with autism to those without, and contributing to the study goal of understanding subtypes of autism


  • Collaborate with senior research personnel by assisting with data analysis and literature review
  • Help prepare abstracts for scientific conference submissions under the mentorship of the research team, with the opportunity to present posters at meetings if accepted
  • Read, discuss, and interpret relevant journal articles to the project and present in the team’s journal club meetings
  • Attend weekly and monthly meetings with members of the research team to discuss study progress and protocol implementation


  • Participate in the University by volunteering at special events for families of children with autism who participate in research studies at the MIND Institute
  • Assist with outreach and promotion of study programs to clinics within UC Davis Health and the broader Sacramento region
  • Provide interpretation of study measures to participating families including summarizing behavioral assessment results and coordinating with community physicians to provide radiological reports


Basic qualifications (required at time of application)


    Bachelor’s degree* in Psychology, Neuroscience, or a related field
    Previous research experience in related fields (e.g., psychology, cognitive neuroscience, child development, biomedical sciences, human clinical trials)
    Experience working with preschool-aged children in a professional setting, particularly experience with children with autism and/or other neurodevelopmental disorders
    Demonstrated ability to prioritize, manage and complete multiple concurrent tasks in a timely manner
    Experience in a recruitment or patient-facing role
    Training and experience in adhering to HIPAA and/or other patient privacy rules and regulations
    Demonstrated interpersonal and written/verbal communication skills to effectively communicate with families, children, and professionals
    Exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail
    Ability to independently and effectively identify resources to solve problems
    Strong demonstrated use of Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint; experience with Access and SharePoint preferred)
    Ability to safely work (i.e., no medical contraindications) in an MRI environment

    *Degree must be awarded by hire date; new graduates may require additional paperwork verifying their degree progress if submitting an application before degree is awarded.

Additional qualifications (required at time of start)
    • Experience with MRI research scanning with children, including MRI safety training
    • Experience or training in coordinating a research study, including recruitment of participants, scheduling, and running visits
    • Demonstrated ability to maintain organized databases and timely tracking of information with experience in database systems (e.g., Microsoft Access, REDCap)
    • Experience with electronic medical record systems (EMR, e.g., EPIC)
    • Experience with AggieTravel, Connexus, or other UC administrative systems
    • CITI trained in biomedical and/or social and behavioral research

Application Requirements

Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Cover Letter

Reference requirements
  • 3-5 required (contact information only)
Apply link:

Help contact:

Campus Information

UC Davis is a smoke and tobacco-free campus (

We are an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, and particularly encourage applications from members of historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, women, individuals’ with disabilities, veterans, LGBTQ community members, and others who demonstrate the ability to help us achieve our vision of a diverse and inclusive community. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see:

Under Federal law, the University of California may employ only individuals who are legally able to work in the United States as established by providing documents as specified in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Certain UC Davis positions funded by federal contracts or sub-contracts require the selected candidate to pass an E-Verify check. More information is available at:

The University of California, Davis (UC Davis) is committed to inclusive excellence by advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in all that we do. UC Davis celebrates the multi-cultural diversity of its community by creating a welcoming and inclusive environment demonstrated through a variety of resources and programs available to academics, staff, and students. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are core values of UC Davis that are embedded within our Principles of Community and are tied with how to best serve our student population. Our excellence in research, teaching, and service can best be fully realized by members of our academic community who share our commitment to these values, which are included in our Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Vision, our strategic plan: “To Boldly Go,” our Principles of Community, the Office of Academic Affairs’ Mission Statement, and the UC Board of Regents Policy 4400: Policy on University of California Diversity Statement. UC Davis is making important progress towards our goal of achieving federal designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and an Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander-Serving Institution. The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion offers a plethora of resources on their website, and the Office of Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (HEDI) has outlined similar goals in their Anti-Racism and DEI Action Plan.” There are a plethora of links available on the About Us webpage where you can learn more about our Administration, Diversity and Inclusion, Rankings, Locations, Native American Land Acknowledgement, Sustainability, Visiting UC Davis, UC Davis Health, and Campus Safety.

The university is consistently ranked among the top institutions in the world for campus sustainability practices by the UI Green Metric World University Rankings. UC Davis is focused on achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and repeatedly shown its commitment to preserving a healthy and sustainable environment for generations to come.

As a condition of employment, you will be required to comply with the University of California SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Policy. All Covered Individuals under the policy must provide proof of Full Vaccination or, if applicable, submit a request for Exception (based on Medical Exemption, Disability, and/or Religious Objection) or Deferral (based on pregnancy) no later than the applicable deadline. New University of California employees must (a) provide proof of receiving at least one dose of a COVID-19 Vaccine no later than 14 calendar days after their first date of employment and provide proof of Full Vaccination no later than eight weeks after their first date of employment; or (b) if applicable, submit a request for Exception or Deferral no later than 14 calendar days after their first date of employment. (Capitalized terms in this paragraph are defined in the policy.) Federal, state, or local public health directives may impose additional requirements.

Job location

Sacramento, CA