The Training Program in Emotion Research is directed by Richard J. Davidson and funded by an NIMH Institutional National Research Service Award training grant. The program provides specialized, non-degree training for University of Wisconsin-Madison students at both the pre- and post-doctoral levels. A total of four (4) pre-doctoral students are supported by the grant in any given year. In addition, three (3) post-doctoral trainees are supported each year.

The major activities of the training program include participation in the annual Wisconsin Symposium on Emotion, attendance at monthly meetings of faculty and students on topics in emotion research, ethics training, as well as other relevant activities on campus. Please contact us at for more information.

We look for diverse candidates with strong potential for future academic success, whose research interests are well aligned with those of the program and the desired faculty mentor.

Program Research Areas & Faculty

Our training program is focused on four areas of current emotion research:

  1. Personality, temperament and individual differences: Lifespan developmental, genetic, cognitive and biological approaches;
  2. Affective neuroscience;
  3. Emotions and health; and
  4. Emotion and psychopathology.

Trainees may work with any of the following faculty: Heather C. Abercrombie, Lyn Y. Abramson, Reid Alisch, Joshua Cisler, Christopher L. Coe, John J. Curtin, Richard J. Davidson, Morton Ann Gernsbacher, H. Hill Goldsmith, Diane Gooding, Ryan Herringa, Ned H. Kalin, Michael Koenigs, James Li, Paula Niedenthal, Seth D. Pollak, Carol D. Ryff and Sara Short

Post-doctoral Applicants

The Training Program in Emotion Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will have one, 3-year postdoctoral position starting in Fall, 2019. The following faculty all desire candidates with expertise in structural and/or functional neuroimaging, and an interest in affective neuroscience utilizing human and/or nonhuman primate models:

Joshua Cisler: Dr. Cisler’s research focuses on defining the neurocircuitry mechanisms associated with trauma and PTSD, with a particular emphasis on computational modeling of learning and large-scale network analyses. Current projects include 1) a clinical trial and imaging study testing pharmacological modulation of fear extinction learning in PTSD, 2) cross-sectional imaging study investigating social decision-making and risk for re-victimization among adolescent girls exposed to interpersonal violence, and 3) a real-time fMRI neurofeedback study of implicit emotion regulation in PTSD. Link to lab website for more information:

Richard J. Davidson: Dr. Davidson's Center for Healthy Minds, is recruiting a post-doctoral fellow to work with Dr. Melissa Rosenkranz. Melissa's research investigates the neural processes that underlie the relationship between emotion and inflammation in both healthy individuals and those with chronic inflammatory conditions such as asthma. She also studies the mechanisms through which behavioral interventions, like mindfulness-based stress reduction can buffer the effects of stress and emotion on immune system function. Melissa's research employs both fMRI and PET imaging modalities, as well as a diverse set of peripheral physiological, immune and endocrine measures. For more specific information: Postdoctoral Fellow Recruitment

H. Hill Goldsmith (with potential for co-mentorship with Dr. Davidson if the applicant is interested in affective neuroscience approaches using MRI in children and adolescents): Dr. Hill Goldsmith is recruiting a post-doc whose interests lie in developmental and genetic approaches to emotion and psychopathology, including themes with RDoC relevance.

James Li: Research in my lab examines how genes and environments independently and jointly influence pathways of psychopathological development, with a focus on the childhood externalizing disorders. Our work incorporates cutting-edge genome-wide approaches to better understand how polygenic variation underlying the development of these disorders may also be moderated by environmental adversity and enrichment. In addition to conducting longitudinal studies on children with behavioral problems, our lab is also at the forefront of integrating data from “big datasets” with rigorous psychological methods. Please read about our on-going projects at our website:

Ned Kalin The Kalin lab works with human and animal models to understand the factors that contribute to the risk to develop stress-related psychopathology with the ultimate goal of developing new treatments. Our translational and reverse translational studies integrate across a number of modalities including multimodal neuroimaging, genetics, behavioral and physiological variables, and molecular measures.

Seth D. Pollak:The Child Emotion Research Laboratory will consider those interested in the effects of early life stress and/or family poverty on children’s health, emotional development, and well-being. Our laboratory provides a rich variety of resources, access of many at-risk populations of children, and integration of diverse methods. There are ample opportunities for post-docs to initiate independent lines of research. Please contact Dr. Pollak directly prior to submitting an application.

Dr. Sarah Short: Dr. Sarah Short (with co-mentorship from Dr. Rasmus Birn) is recruiting a postdoc who is interested in developmental cognitive neuroscience. Dr. Short is currently conducting a study looking at the impact of poverty on infants' structural and functional brain development. This work will additionally examine relations between infants' brain development, their home environment, and the emergence of executive functions and social/emotional skills in early childhood.


Please send the following items by Thursday, January 15th, 2019 to The Training Program in Emotion Research Administrator at

1. Cover Letter: Identify the program faculty member(s) with whom you wish to train

2. CV

3. Research Statement

4. Three letters of reference (These can be submitted separately by the letter writers themselves, will be accepted until January 31st)

Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply. We are an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer

Pre-doctoral Information

UW-Madison faculty can nominate pre-doctoral students for the program, but pre-doctoral students cannot apply directly to the program themselves.

Pre-doctoral nominees must apply to or be enrolled in a degree-granting graduate program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. If your application is seriously considered by a program faculty member, he or she may decide to nominate you for consideration by the selection committee by contacting the Training Program in Emotion Research at If you are interested in participating in the program, be sure to discuss this with your prospective advisor.

According to federal funding regulations, in order to be eligible for support, all applicants must be U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals or lawfully admitted permanent residents. Individuals on temporary or students visas are not eligible for financial support.


This program is supported by NIMH grant 5T32MH018931, with additional funding from The Graduate School at UW-Madison.

UW-Madison | Department of Psychology | Department of Psychiatry | Waisman Center