This position supports research conducted at the Institute of Child Development. Drs. Kathleen Thomas and Megan Gunnar jointly hold a grant to examine aspects of social buffering of responses to stress, including examining conditions under which buffering occurs and the neural mechanisms underlying the response. Dr. Gunnar also holds a grant to examine cardiovascular health in adolescents following early adversity. This position reports directly to Bonny Donzella who manages the Gunnar Lab. The candidate will assist in managing/coordinating various aspects of specific research studies. We are seeking someone with knowledge of child development theory and research with experience in an active laboratory setting collecting biological, neural, and behavioral measures. Responsibilities for this position include contacting families, describing the studies, scheduling appointments, reminder contacts, tracking data, obtaining informed consent, administering behavioral tasks and questionnaires, managing and training undergraduate research assistants, and assisting other lab staff in research tasks. To accommodate the needs of participating families, a portion of the work will occur in the afternoon, evenings, and on weekends. Portions of the work will be conducted in person, and others remotely using Zoom as a platform for both the consent process and the behavioral tasks.
We seek applicants with prior experience working with child or adolescent populations, with phone recruitment of research participants, with behavioral/clinical research experience, and experience conducting research with families online using HIPAA-compliant Zoom platform, Redcap, University Box, and in an MRI context.
Recruitment of child and adolescent participants (45%)
Understand the research and recruitment process sufficiently to design and improve process & methods
Oversee recruitment of participants for studies, including training personnel to recruit and tracking progress.
Conduct telephone and/or recruitment of child participants by calling/contacting families that have indicated an interest in participating in this or other research projects (“warm calling”)
Screen confidential health information for assessment of inclusion and exclusion criteria to assess study eligibility
Develop rapport with children and families to ensure a positive research experience
Draft correspondence and send participant emails and/or mailing packets
Schedule, update, and cancel appointments with children, families, and adults participating in the research study using multiple online calendar systems.
Manage & track recruiting & scheduling process; Develop processes to gain efficiency while maintaining adherence to research protocol.
Gather, organize, and maintain research data results.
Organize and track study files (electronically and by paper) including participant appointment information, calling log, and files to be sent to family such as welcome letter and directions
Learn and follow all participant recruitment reporting requirements for the study using online reporting tools.
Determine the balance of adherence to specified research protocol with development of improvement in process to achieve goals.
Communicate effectively with the Project Coordinator and Principal Investigators on a regular basis regarding recruitment, scheduling, and assessment progress and any or all issues related to job responsibilities.
Data Collection (45%) As a research professional 2, this position has a level of independent responsibility to design tools and processes to effectively collect data while adhering to the research protocol. This requires regular coordination with the project manager to verify adaptations and progress.
Complete required ethics training for research with human subjects, as well as biospecimen and MRI safety training.
Obtain informed consent and assent from adolescent participants and parents.
Reliably administer research-based behavioral tasks to adolescents, including mock-MRI simulations and the Trier Social Stress Task (a standardized speech & math stressor).
Assist participants in completing computerized questionnaires using REDCap software.
Collect, label, and manage biospecimen samples from adolescents (saliva, hair, blood).
Escort participants to and from the MRI scanner.
Escort participants through the clinic stations where technicians will conduct blood draws, body composition assessments, pubertal development exams, and cardiovascular assessments.
Use computer software programs including Microsoft Office, REDCap, University Box, and Adobe Acrobat to manage documentation and track study progress.
Ensure protection and storage of data and participant information on secure servers.
Work regular evening and weekend shifts as needed to test participants.
General Laboratory Support (10%)
Develop processes to mentor and train undergraduate research assistants in participant recruitment, data collection, and research ethics with child and adolescent participants.
Support graduate students and lab staff in tracking and monitoring undergraduate research hours.
Develop standard operating procedures (SOPs) for general lab tasks to support training of new lab personnel and transfer of expertise to new staff.
Coordinate lab and project meetings among lab personnel.
Take notes at research meetings and track agenda items.
Update and monitor lab web resources to document study materials, current staff, undergraduate research assistants, and provide research resources to the public.
Work with lab staff and graduate students to develop a regular lab newsletter to be sent to past research participants.
Assist the lab in conducting internal audits of IRB materials and research data collection on multiple projects.
Work with current and past lab members to document and organize study materials and data resources in electronic format.
Work with department staff to address facility needs or information technology needs in the lab.
Identify areas for improvement in functioning in the lab and work with the Principal Investigator to develop and implement improvement plans.
BA/BS in child psychology or related field, and at least 2 years of experience working in a laboratory setting; or a combination of related education and work experience to equal six years
Willingness to work flexible hours including evenings and weekends to accommodate family schedules
All required qualifications must be documented on application materials.
Coursework in child psychology, psychology, educational psychology, social work, or family social science
At least two-years research experience in a laboratory setting, conducting participant recruitment, telephone screening, MRI scanning, and/or informed consent/assent with child or adolescent participants
Certified MRI scan technician
Experience conducting consent process and collecting data over a Zoom platform.
Experience with a standard stress paradigm such as the Trier Social Stress Test.
Ability to manage multiple tasks on a daily basis
Excellent organizational, communication, and interpersonal skills, including attention to detail and documentation of work
Ability to work both independently and collaboratively, including communication with study faculty, junior and senior research staff, and individual families and children
Comfort with standard computer resources, including email, web searching, document and spreadsheet software, PDF files, and web-based calendars
Prior experience using REDCap and Zoom software
Prior experience with MRI studies with children or adolescents
Internal Number: 341175
About University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
The University of Minnesota, founded in the belief that all people are enriched by understanding, is dedicated to the advancement of learning and the search for truth; to the sharing of this knowledge through education for a diverse community; and to the application of this knowledge to benefit the people of the state, the nation, and the world.