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ATTENTION: This job expired Mar. 30, 2013 and is no longer linked from the job list. If you are the job poster and would like to renew the listing, please access it through "My Job Listings" (available when logged in only).

Paid Research Assistant Position: Genetics of Social Behaviour in Cayo Santiago Rhesus Macaques

Hiring Organization:
Duke University

Date Posted:

Position Description:
We are currently seeking a conscientious and highly motivated Research Assistant to collect behavioural data on the rhesus macaques living in the free-ranging colony of Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico. This projects aims to uncover the genetic basis of social behaviour and social cognition in a highly gregarious species of nonhuman primate. This is a multi-disciplinary project involving many investigators and institutions (Duke University, Yale University, and the University of Puerto Rico).

Research Assistants will live in Puerto Rico and will travel to Cayo Santiago (5 mins from the mainland by boat) on a daily basis. Assistants will collect behavioural data using a pre-established ethogram on a large number of adult males and females (upwards of 100 animals). They will also be responsible for uploading and managing their data on a daily basis. Research assistants will also assist with the annual capturing season (November – January), during which blood for DNA samples are collected and DNA is extracted. Research assistants will therefore be fully trained in genetic laboratory work, and in the handling of anesthetized animals.

Assistants will not be allowed to collect data for publication independent of the funded research project – e.g. for their own theses. However, we encourage assistants to work with us co-authoring papers based on or stemming from the data they assist collecting. This is therefore an excellent position for anyone interested in pursuing a graduate degree in future.

This is an NIH-funded position. Applicants must therefore be available/willing to commit to a one-year contract to be considered eligible to apply.

Applicants should have an Undergraduate/Masters degree in biology, anthropology, zoology or a related discipline. Applicants should be fluent in English (fluency in Spanish is helpful, but not required). Previous experience collecting behavioural data on primates and/or other animals is ideal, but not a requirement. Previous laboratory experience is also helpful, but not necessary. Applicants should be in good physical health, feel comfortable living at the field site/in Puerto Rico, should work well with others, and generally be energetic, responsible and have a keen interest in primate behaviour/sociobiology. Fieldwork can be tiring, frustrating, and both physically and mentally challenging. Applicants should be prepared to approach these challenges with enthusiasm and a positive attitude.

Research assistants will be paid a standard salary that has been pro-rated by the NIH (~$25,000/year, subject to change). Assistants will be employees of Duke University and will receive any benefits (e.g. Health Insurance) associated with a position of this type. Funding exists for a total of 4 years, and thus there may be the option for contract renewal following the 1st year, depending upon performance.

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
As a salary will be provided, we will not provide funding for accommodation/travel/living expenses. Applicants may be required to travel to Duke University (Durham, North Carolina, USA) to sign the initial contract – in which case, travel expenses to Duke may be covered.

Term of Appointment:
Applicants must be willing/able to commit to a 1-year contract to be considered eligible. Candidates that can begin as soon as possible (ideally by March 1st, 2013) will be given preference.

Application Deadline:
We are currently receiving applications and will continue to do so until the position is filled.

Please send an email to Lauren Brent ( Include in ONE file (.pdf or .doc) a:

1. Letter of interest. Please state why you are interested in this position and what qualifications you possess that make you particularly well suited to it.
2. Your CV. Include all relevant field courses, coursework, and field experience.
3. The contact information (including email addresses) of three people able to comment on your past experience, skills and training. Reference letters are not required with applications – referees will only be contacted for the top-candidates, following an initial screening process.

Contact Information:
Lauren Brent, PhD
Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience
Durham, NC


E-mail Address:

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