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Research Assistant (12900)

Date: Nov 21, 2022

Location: Washington, DC, US, 20016

Company: American University

Get to Know American University

At American University we value open and honest inquiry, servant leadership, and the affirmation of the human dignity of all. We envision a thriving AU community where individuals of all identities and experiences are understood, appreciated, and fully included, and where equitable treatment, opportunities, and outcomes prevail. 


Our diverse community of students, faculty, and staff represent every state and more than 150 countries. Our internationally recognized faculty are today's thought leaders in the areas of public policy, law, the arts, communications, international development, and more. Our staff are innovative, service-oriented, and dedicated to moving the university towards achieving its strategic goals. We are committed to an excellent experience for all of our students, faculty and staff and share a passion for creating change through our knowledge and our work. 


Learn more about American University by clicking here.  


The Research Assistant will assist with animal behavior research within the laboratory of Dr. David Kearns. The position will entail carrying out operant behavioral research involving drug self-administration in rats, testing and monitoring animal subjects, and recording and statistically analyzing results. Successful candidates will be familiar with operant behavioral procedures and have demonstrated experience with small animal care and testing. 

Essential Functions

  • Testing – Perform daily behavioral testing of rat subjects including placing rats into operant chambers and monitoring and recording behavior. Perform regular testing and maintenance on all experimental equipment used in the course of lab research. Carry out small rodent surgery as needed per testing requirements.
  • Animal Care – Handle, weigh, feed, administer medication, and perform catheter maintenance for all rat subjects each day to ensure that all test subjects are appropriately cared for and fit for required experiments.
  • Analysis – Statistically analyze results from testing, draft research reports on findings, and present research reports to supervisor and other colleagues as needed.
  • Supply Maintenance – Maintain a careful inventory of supplies and equipment used in experiments, testing, and animal care and order additional supplies as needed to ensure that all materials needed are available for each experiment.
  • Other duties as assigned by supervisor including participating in lab meetings, workshops, and other professional meetings.

Work Environment

  • The worker normally performs their job in a plant, laboratory or other environment where personal protective equipment may be necessary.

Position Type/Expected Hours of Work

  • Full Time.
  • 2.2 Specialist A.
  • Non-Exempt

Salary Range

  • $22.33 - $22.60/hour.

Required Education and Experience

  • Bachelors' degree in Psychology or Neuroscience or closely related field
  • 1 year of laboratory experience or demonstrated experience with basic operant behavioral procedures is highly preferred.
  • Successful candidates should have an in-depth understanding of small animal care and surgery.
  • This position requires strong writing skills and a demonstrated ability to understand and communicate basic mathematical and statistical information.

Additional Eligibility Qualifications


AU offers a competitive benefits package including a 200% matching retirement plan, tuition benefits for full-time staff and their families, several leadership development certificates, and has been recognized by the American Heart Association as a fit-friendly worksite. Click here to learn about American University's unique benefit options.


Current American University Employees

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Contact Us

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American University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution that operates in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The university does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, personal appearance, gender identity and expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, source of income, veteran status, an individual’s genetic information or any other bases under federal or local laws (collectively "Protected Bases") in its programs and activities.

Nearest Major Market: Washington DC