Comparative Brain Physiology Consortium (CBPC)

Description and Mission

The CBPC is a collaborative initiative between multiple laboratories across intramural institutes.  The consortium facilitates investigating synaptic level neural mechanisms in nonhuman primates and drawing comparisons to the mechanism found in rodent brains.  The consortium is also an effective platform for developing and testing viral techniques for use in nonhuman primates as it allows functional validation of virally delivered constructs in the slice.  Translation of viral techniques from rodents to primates is challenging, but it is an important step towards development of next-generation therapeutics.  Specific projects in the consortium include investigation of mechanisms of inhibition in neocortex and hippocampus, dopamine release in the striatum, axonal physiology of dopamine neurons within the striatum, and the contribution of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons to learning. 


The Comparative Brain Physiology Consortium (CBPC) is a trans-NIH initiative that facilitates collaborative research among neuroscientists in the Intramural Research Program of National Institutes of Health. Our mission is to provide a platform for cross-species comparative physiology of brain mechanisms. The consortium is supported by member laboratories that span 6 Institutes (NIMH, NINDS, NICHD, NEI, NIDA and NIAAA) with additional support from the Center on Compulsive Behaviors.

The consortium facilitates the comparison of synaptic level neural mechanisms among rodents, nonhuman primates (NHPs), and humans. The consortium is also an effective platform for developing and testing virally delivered constructs in primates and is an important step towards development of next-generation therapeutics.

The Senior Scientist for the CBPC will lead and coordinate collaborative experiments among members of the CBPC. They will plan and perform MR guided stereotaxic surgeries in nonhuman primates. In addition, the scientist in this position will have the opportunity to develop cutting edge, next-generation viral techniques for use in non-human primates, gain experience in planning and organizing projects, and mentor fellows.

General Position information

• Location: National Institutes of Health Main Campus, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20892

• Work Schedule: Full time: 40 hours per week, in person. Telework eligible.

• Education Requirements: PhD in the scientific field of neuroscience or related field of study with at least 3 years of postdoctoral experience

Statement of Work

The Senior Scientist will primarily perform collaborative experiments and surgeries in nonhuman primates. They will work together with the members of the CBPC to advance the scientific goals and mission of the consortium.

Examples of the duties include:

• MRI scans in NHPs.

• Plan coordinates of stereotaxic injections from MRI files.

• NHP neurosurgery.

• Coordinate and facilitate collaborative experiments.

• Prepare and assist in animal protocol writing.

• Coordinate with staff from the Central Animal Facility, and NIMH laboratories to manage NHP acquisition and housing.

• Communicate and interact with principal investigators, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students that are members of the consortium.

• Prepare reports and presentations on the progress of the collaborative experiments.

• Contribute to the writing of manuscripts for publication and grant applications.

• Order and manage supplies for the consortium.

• Train and co-mentor junior fellows


• Strong animal surgical skills

• Viral vector knowledge.

• Brain anatomy knowledge.

• Highly dependable, proactive person with the ability to complete projects independently.

• Excellent interpersonal skills with a positive “can do” attitude, and ability to communicate clearly.

• Strong writing, creative problem-solving, and critical thinking skills.

• Strong time management and organizational skills to coordinate several projects at once.

• Flexibility to handle different tasks across a broad range of areas.

• Attention to detail. Ability to proofread and edit for accuracy and quality.

• Understands, supports, and adheres to NIH’s policies, philosophy, and procedures


How to Apply and Contact Information

Candidates interested in the position should send email including CV, statement of interest, and the names and contact information of three individuals who can serve as reference to Sebastian Pena Vargas at


CBPC Contacts

Mark Eldridge, Ph.D.
Staff Scientist, NIMH

Zayd Khaliq, Ph.D.
Senior Investigator, NINDS

Sebastian Peña-Vargas
Program Analyst, CCB



Research Lab Principal Investigator NIH Institute
Laboratory on Neurobiology of Compulsive Behaviors Veronica Alvarez NIMH
Section on Learning and Decision Making Bruno Averbeck NIMH
Cellular Neurophysiology Section Zayd Khaliq NINDS
Section on Cellular and Synaptic Physiology Chris McBain NICHD
Circuits, Synapses, and Molecular Signaling Section Lorna Role/David Talmage NINDS