Research Assistant Position @ SEA Lab at Vanderbilt University

Position Summary:

Meharry Medical College and the Vanderbilt Stress and Early Adversity (SEA) Lab are looking for a Research Assistant to work on a new collaborative study. The successful applicant will be appointed by Meharry but spend substantial time at the SEA Lab offices on Vanderbilt’s campus. The SEA Lab is a highly collaborative research group exploring the early caregiving environment, neural correlates of early experience, and interventions to improve child and family functioning.

Under the supervision of Dr. Cunningham Erves and Dr. Humphreys, the individual in this position will be involved in coordinating the study and participate in many aspects of the research process, including recruitment of participants, scheduling and coordinating study visits, running participant sessions, oversight of home assessment devices, participant payments, and providing administrative support to the study. Data collection for this study involves laboratory-based parent–child interactions, questionnaires and assessments, and participant home visits. Experience gained in this position will be particularly useful for those hoping to continue working in a research environment, including pursuing a graduate degree. An ideal candidate would remain in the position for 2 years.

Key Functions and Expected Performance:

  • Recruitment and screening of participants
  • Maintain a complex schedule of study visits with families and research assistants
  • Ensure completion of study questionnaires and procedures, including follow up reminders for participants
  • Problem solve challenges related to recruitment, retention, and participant satisfaction with the program
  • Conduct home-based and laboratory-based study visits with children and caregivers involving proximity and auditory in-home assessments, parent–child interactions
  • Responsible for overseeing all laboratory-owned assessment devices (e.g., LENAs, TotTags, Apple Watches); specifically preparing these for study visits, sending reminders to record, and offloading data.
  • Supervise and train a team of research assistants in data collection and data management activities
  • Train research assistants to provide child care during study sessions (and provide child care as necessary)
  • Prepare human subjects applications and assist with developing study protocols
  • Maintain project documents ensuring compliance to IRB regulation
  • Monitor project progress and troubleshoot areas of concern or deviation
  • Perform general administrative duties to maintain the workings of the laboratory
  • Use independent judgment in resolving concerns or escalate for higher-level review and resolution.

Experience and Skills: 

  • Expected to have a strong work ethic, high integrity, and excellent interpersonal skills
  • Must be organized, detail oriented, and able to function well independently
  • At least 2 years of research experience
  • Experience working with infants, toddlers, families is required
  • Experience training staff or student research assistants preferred
  • Experience recruiting and scheduling participants for research study visits required
  • Ability to work outside of normal business hours to accommodate the families we work with
  • General understanding of scientific theory and methods § Ability to work under deadlines with general guidance

Physical Requirements:

  • Frequently perform desk-based computer tasks, grasp lightly/fine manipulation, lift/carry/push/pull objects that weigh up to 30 pounds
  • Occasionally stand/walk, sit, use a telephone, writing by hand, and sort/file paperwork or parts.
  • Rarely twist/bend/stoop/squat, kneel/crawl, rarely reach/work above shoulders, and operates foot and/or hand controls
  • Frequent interaction with children and families including supervision of children during study visits

Working Conditions:

  • Will be required to work non-standard, extended or weekend hours in support of research work.
  • Transportation to participants’ home for home visits is required; the candidate must have a valid driver’s license and ideally have access to their own transportation.

Interested individuals should complete an application at this link, including submission of a cover letter, resume/CV, and the names and email addresses of 2-3 references.

  • Paid job
  • Professional development
  • Research
  • Post-graduation