Clinical Research Assistant I/II

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Clinical Research Assistant I/II

Date Posted May 24, 2017
Job Type Regular
Hours Per Week 40
PAVIR Job ID TAY1701.17
Salary Range DOE


The Palo Alto Veterans Institute for Research (PAVIR) is seeking a Clinical Research Assistant position to assist in conducting human clinical research to study the efficacy of repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) in healthy older adults who have mild cognitive impairment (MCI). There are currently no effective treatments for MCI; yet, persons with MCI are at risk of progressing to dementia.

The Research Assistant will support research to determine if this method of noninvasive brain stimulation improves memory and cognition, and if so, for how long.  Secondly, this position will assist in examining differences related to the site of cortical stimulation, as assessed by cognitive tests and functional neuroimaging.

This is a regular, full time (40 hours/week), non-exempt (hourly-paid) position.

PAVIR is a nonprofit foundation affiliated with the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS). As a condition of employment, all PAVIR employees are required to have an approved appointment with VAPAHCS and complete a background check before they can commence work.


  • Test research participants: Administer neuropsychological tests, questionnaires, and collect medical information according to the study protocols;
  • Assist in Study Coordination: Schedule study procedures, which includes MRI brain scans, physician assessment, blood draws, and rTMS treatment sessions. Handle study correspondence; Maintain participants study binders, progress notes, and study logs;
  • Enter data in databases: Accurately score and enter neuropsychological scores. Enter all study data into research database;
  • Assist with brain image acquisition and image pre-processing: Assist in pre-scan safety screening. Accompany study participants to the University MRI Research Center for scans.  May assist in MRI acquisition after completing the MRI Research Center’s safety and operational training procedures and maintaining refresher training. Pre-process imaging data under the supervision of the Math Programmer and PI;
  • Collect vital signs (blood pressure, pulse) via an electronic vital sign monitor;
  • Facilitate collection of blood-derived genetic and other biomarkers: Accompany study volunteers to clinical research unit for fasting blood draws. Hand-deliver tubes of blood and/or saliva samples to the research wet-lab.
  • Manage and maintain scientific and regulatory files: Maintain IRB approval. Keep the Study Regulatory Binder up to date. Perform online literature searches (Endnote and PDFs); Assist in preparing research reports and articles for publication, including tables and graphs;
  • Provide occasional backup to other research staff working on related clinical research projects. Occasionally provide general clerical assistance when needed, e.g. answer phones, greet subjects; photocopy study forms.



Required: Bachelor degree (or equivalent combination of education, training and experience) in Cognitive Neuroscience, Psychology, Human Biology, or a related field.


Required: at least 6 months of related experience; Previous experience with subject recruitment in a research environment;

Desired: 12 months or more of related experience.

Knowledge / Skills / Abilities:

  • Highly reliable with demonstrated organizational ability;
  • Accurate record keeping and attention to detail;
  • Experience with cognitively impaired elderly, or anxious or difficult subjects highly desired;
  • Research experience in psychological test administration highly desired;
  • Knowledge of medical terms and abbreviations relevant to obtaining and coding medical history desired;
  • Exposure to image acquisition and image processing desired;
  • Knowledge of standard concepts, practices, and procedures within the research field gained through education or experience;
  • Ability to understand and follow VA regulations and procedures regarding research;
  • Basic math/statistical skills;
  • Effective communication skills, both orally and in writing; Ability to communicate clearly in English;
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Outlook, and Excel;
  • Experience in database management or experience using statistical programs desired;
  • Familiarity with PowerPoint, FileMaker Pro and Endnote desired.
  • Willingness to work flexible hours due to limited scanner availability. Employee may need to work 1 week-end day per month.

Environmental Conditions / Physical Demands:

Physical: Frequently stand, walk, and sit to perform desk based computer tasks; meet with study subjects. Must be able to sit and stand for long periods of time. Occasionally lift, carry, push, pull objects that weigh up to 15 lbs. Will encounter occasional patients who are anxious and/or difficult.

Environmental: Exposure to office and hospital/clinical environment. Exposure to office and imaging (i.e. MRI) equipment. Some exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

PAVIR engages in nonprofit medical research and works with sponsors and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) in administering funds for conducting research to find new and improved ways to combat human disease and help people with disabilities. Please refer to our website for additional information:

PAVIR is pleased to be an Equal Opportunity Employer for Minorities, Females, Protected Veterans, and Qualified Individuals with a Disability. If you need special assistance or an accommodation to apply for a posted position, please contact – Human Resources department.


  • Medical Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Life Insurance – paid by PAVIR
  • Long-term Disability Insurance – paid by PAVIR
  • Short-term Disability Insurance – paid by PAVIR
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Vacation
  • Sick Leave
  • Holidays
  • 401(k) Retirement Plan with Company Match and Profit Share
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Commuter Benefits
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