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 five (5) 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 a year-long seminar on emotion theory and research that is co-taught by the training program faculty, 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, Vaishali Bakshi, Christopher L. Coe, John J. Curtin, Richard J. Davidson, Morton Ann Gernsbacher, H. Hill Goldsmith, Diane Gooding, Ryan Herringa, Ned H. Kalin, Michael Koenigs, Wen Li,Paula Niedenthal, Jack B. Nitschke, Seth D. Pollak, and Carol D. Ryff.

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, 2017. 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:

Dr. Richard Davidson: Dr. Davidson's Center for Healthy Minds, is recruiting for a post-doctoral fellow with functional and/or structural neuroimaging experience and expertise in affective or contemplative neuroscience to study the effects of meditation on the neural substrates of emotion and emotion regulation.

Dr. Hill Goldsmith (with potential for co-mentorship with Dr. Davidson): Drs. Richard Davidson and Hill Goldsmith are recruiting post-docs to contribute to large-scale pediatric neuroimaging studies that include extensive longitudinal behavioral phenotyping with both twins and singletons focused on the neural bases of affective style. Data collection will be approx. 75% complete for the fall 2017 start date. Many themes have RDoC relevance. Possibility of co-mentorship between the Davidson and Goldsmith labs.

Dr. Ryan Herringa: Dr. Herringa’s lab is studying neurodevelopmental trajectories of acute threat in youth with trauma exposure and post-traumatic stress symptoms. These biomarkers are being leveraged in clinical psychotherapy trials as potential treatment targets for traumatized youth.

Dr. 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.

Dr. Seth 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.


Please send the following items by Tuesday, January 31st, 2017 to The Training Program in Emotion Research 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)

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 608-890-0143, or 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