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 the Training Program in Emotion Research administrator, Ms. Jane Lambert, 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: Lyn Y. Abramson, Reid S. AlischJohn J. Curtin, Richard J. DavidsonSimon B. Goldberg, Diane C. Gooding, Ryan J. Herringa, Ned H. Kalin, Michael R. Koenigs, James J. Li, Bilge Mutlu, Paula M. Niedenthal, Seth D. Pollak, Melissa A. Rosenkranz, Carol D. RyffSarah J. Short, Alvin Thomas, Katie L. Walsh and Earlise C. Ward.

Post-doctoral Applicants

The Training Program in Emotion Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will have one, 1-year post-doctoral position starting in Fall 2022. (We will submit our competitive five-year renewal proposal in May 2022 for the period of 8/1/2023-7/31/2028. If the training grant is successfully renewed, we may be able to offer two additional years of funding for this position.) Applications are due on Tuesday, February 15th, 2022.

The following faculty all desire post-doctoral candidates:

Richard J. Davidson: Dr. Davidson is recruiting for two separate post-doctoral scholar positions:

1) Postdoctoral scholar in collaboration with Dr. Stacey M. Schaefer for a large multimodal neuroimaging and psychophysiological R01 study (current n=159, goal n=350) examining how individual differences in emotional response time courses and stress response time courses (e.g., responses to the Trier Social Stress Test) relate to mental health, brain structure and function, immune function, cognitive abilities, reward learning, affective biases, diurnal cortisol, daily emotional dynamics  (via ecological momentary assessment), and coping with real life stress and adversity experiences, including the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicants with interest and/or specialization in any of the above are encouraged to apply as this large dataset affords the opportunity to gain training in many different methodologies and test varied hypotheses regarding the intersection of emotion, stress, life experiences, cognition, the brain, health, and wellbeing.

2) Postdoctoral scholar in collaboration with Dr. Christine Wilson-Mendenhall to conduct research focused on characterizing and measuring emotional skillsets that may underlie beneficial change in contemplative interventions, such as mindfulness-based or compassion-based interventions. This research investigates behavioral and experience sampling methods for assessing target emotional skills and qualities, with an emphasis on feasibility and remote implementation. This work also includes a theoretical focus on characterizing key constructs, which often occurs through interdisciplinary collaboration with scholars of Buddhist philosophy and traditions.

Ryan J. Herringa: The BRAVE Research Center focuses on neurodevelopmental mechanisms of risk and resilience in youth following trauma.  Current R01 funded studies include 1) a longitudinal neuroimaging study examining maltreatment-related trajectories in adolescent affective disorders, 2) neurobehavioral mechanisms of parent-child fear learning and extinction in pediatric PTSD.  Candidates with interest and experience in neuroimaging analyses as well as advanced analytical skills such as machine learning will be strongly considered.

Melissa A. Rosenkranz: Dr. Rosenkranz’s program of research is focused on investigating the biology of the bi-directional mind-brain-immune pathways through which emotion and inflammation are mutually influential. She uses a wide range of tools for this purpose, including functional and structural neuroimaging (multi-modal MRI and PET). Behavioral interventions, such as meditation, are an important aspect of this work, where the neural processing of stress and emotion are examined as modifiable targets for treatment of chronic inflammation. More recently, she has begun pursuing questions related to the impact of inflammation in the body on brain health and long-term cognitive function.


Please send the following items by Tuesday, February 15, 2022, to the Training Program in Emotion Research administrator, Ms. Jane Lambert, 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, and will be accepted until February 18th.)

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 administrator, Jane Lambert, 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 University of Wisconsin–Madison Graduate School.