Director, Behavioral Testing Core

  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • La Jolla, San Diego, CA, USA
  • Jun 18, 2020
Full time   Biology/Biotechnology/Life Sciences Veterinary Medicine & Sciences Deans & Directors

Job Description


Job #: H055

Posted Date: June 17, 2020

Closes On: Open Until Filled

Job Title: Director, Behavioral Testing Core

Status: Regular Full Time

Benefits Eligible: Yes

Laboratory/Department: Behavior Testing Core

The Behavior Testing Core provides a comprehensive resource for behavioral phenotyping and standardized neurobehavioral testing in laboratory rodents. Testing in the Core ranges from the assessment of general health and neurological function (reflexes, sensory and motor function) to evaluating complex behaviors such as memory and learning.

Position Description:

The Director will oversee the Behavior Testing Core (BTC) which provides shared resources for the analysis of research animal behavior and phenotyping. The objectives of this resource are to provide uniform behavioral analysis of rodents (primarily: mouse) employing a variety of behavioral platforms appropriate for the research needs of members of the Salk Institute Neuroscience Center, and other institute faculty research groups, and to provide expertise for experimental design, execution, and the interpretation of results.

Director will oversee maintenance and operations of the existing animal behavior resource facility, serving as a technical expert and functional leader with overall responsibility for the management and formation of the facility, its programs, and systems. Incumbent is responsible for planning, design, development, implementation and maintenance of facility and resources. The Director may also be responsible for the supervision of technical staff. The director will work with Neuroscience (and other) Faculty, Grants Development, and the CSO's office to develop new research and core support opportunities aimed at building and strengthening this resource.

Primary responsibility as animal behaviorist includes performing and directing others in the functional testing of rodents, including implementation of new testing paradigms, maintenance of animal testing laboratory and equipment, and coordination of surgery/testing schedules. The director will perform and train others in behavior experiments, rodent surgeries, and general laboratory methods. Duties may also include writing animal use protocols, assisting with IACUC protocol reviews, collaborative or independent grant submissions, preparation manuscripts, identifying and obtaining funding opportunities. Position is also a liaison between labs and the Salk-Animal Resources Department (ARD) who provide veterinary oversight for animals within the facility.




  • PhD in neuroscience, genetics, or related biological science.



  • Minimum of 5 years of experience with animal behavior research or equivalent combination of education and experience, with at least 3 of those years in a lead or management capacity.
  • Demonstrated experience in animal management including rodent handling, husbandry, and surgery.
  • Demonstrated experience in rodent behavioral training and testing.
  • Experience in training and technical supervision (work direction) of staff.
  • Experience performing unsupervised experimental protocols and recommending modifications to procedures and protocols to meet the needs of research projects.
  • Experience contributing in significant ways to the preparation of grant funding applications.
  • Knowledge and experience with animal experiments, animal protocol requirements, and overseeing animal research being performed in accordance with IACUC (institutional) and federal (OLAW and USDA) requirements.
  • Experience working in an AAALAC accredited animal research facility.


  • Experience supporting the renewal and maintenance of AAALAC accreditation with respect to Behavior or Phenotyping animal facilities.

Special Requirements:

  • Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Must be able to work a flexible schedule to support research needs.
  • Satisfactory completion of the Institute’s background investigation.
  • Willing to sign a confidentiality agreement.


    • As a safeguard for employee and animals, employee may be subject to vaccines/tests/physical exams prior to working with specific animals or animal populations as required by research needs including but not limited to: TB Testing/Clearance, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Measles and Periodic physical exams.

Physical Requirements:

This position requires constant grasping, handling, hearing, seeing, talking, analyzing, communicating and reasoning.


Application Details

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Application Deadline

Open Until Filled