The CAP Lab trains outstanding undergraduate, postbaccalaureate, and masters students, and doctoral students from the CUNY doctoral programs in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience, and Health Psychology & Clinical Science.
Pre-doctoral level training in the lab is particularly relevant for students who plan to apply to doctoral programs in cognitive neuroscience or clinical science, including students who plan to pursue MD/PhD programs. As with all research labs at Hunter, there usually is a waiting list for potential entry, although we are always interested in strong candidates.
The goal of undergraduate and post-baccalaureate training in the CAP lab is to prepare trainees exceedingly well for entry into doctoral training in neuroscience or clinical science. The goal of doctoral training in the lab is to thoroughly prepare students for research positions. Potential trainees with other goals should carefully consider whether the lab would be a good fit for their interests and plans. Please see the FAQs below for additional information.
We are most interested in a good fit between the work in the lab and the interests and goals of the applicant. Applicants who are highly motivated, dependable, mature, team-oriented, and intellectually curious, and who hope to eventually apply for doctoral training in neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, or clinical science are the best fits. Applicants whose goals are to pursue primarily clinical careers (i.e., providing psychological services) generally are not a good fit, as the content and process of training in the lab is designed to develop trainees' research proficiency. The CAP Lab also is a team-oriented environment, and evidence of willingness and ability to be a good team player is extremely important.
Successful applicants already will have taken research methods or experimental psychology, statistics, brain and behavior, and abnormal psychology. In some cases an exception might be made for a person who is currently taking one of the required courses. In all cases trainees will be responsible for acquiring the prerequisite skills. Successful applicants also will have basic working knowledge of SPSS and will have experience reading scientific articles critically. Students also should strongly consider building their computer science skills; familiarity with Linux/Unix and/or Matlab is especially useful.
Research assistants are expected to schedule 10 hours in the lab each week, although diligent RAs also realize that additional time often is necessary for a full training experience. Potential RAs should be aware that training in a lab is not like taking a course; scheduling is more flexible, but the responsibilities require active participation and a consistent level of self-initiated hard work. In addition, research labs operate year-round, not just during the academic semester. There is a weekly two-hour lab meeting at which attendance is mandatory.
MA students should expect to enroll in one semester of independent study prior to receiving approval to proceed with the thesis (and enrollment for MA thesis credit). All RAs are also expected to commit to one year minimum duration, although Dr. Weierich reserves the right to discontinue an RA's lab membership at any time given evidence of a poor fit.
RAs train in all steps of the research process. New RAs learn the basics of human subjects protection, run participants through lab studies, and enter and manage data. As RAs continue to develop their knowledge and skills, they begin training to conduct structured clinical interviews, conceptualize and design independent projects, write and submit IRB applications, lead smaller teams on small projects, and analyze data and prepare conference presentations. Advanced, highly motivated students also have the opportunity to participate in manuscript and grant writing. All RAs are expected to help other lab members with projects and training.
The CAP Lab employs a variety of methods to answer our research questions. Some of these methods (e.g., fMRI, neurohormone assay) require intensive attention to detail, a very high level of motivation, and a willingness to take the time to learn new skills. A subset of CAP Lab personnel are selected to work on projects that incorporate the higher-tech methods.
We also spend some lab time on professional development topics, including preparation for graduate school applications. One of Dr. Weierich's goals for training is to build a strong pipeline of highly qualified applicants from the CAP Lab into doctoral training in neuroscience and clinical science (including the doctoral portion of MD/PhD programs). Although the lab is relatively new, we already have a strong track record of lab alumni entering doctoral training.
Please note that we do NOT provide clinical training. In our lab we take a quite rigorous multi-method approach to answering research questions about both normative and clinically-relevant states and disorders. Although some of our questions are clinical in nature (e.g., mechanisms underlying symptom episodes in PTSD), and we conduct the research versions of clinical interviews, we are mainly interested in uncovering the neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms underlying a range of affective responses. We are NOT a clinic, and we do not provide treatment nor training in the conduct of treatment. Hunter students who are interested in volunteer experiences with clinical populations should contact the Hunter Office of Career Services, who maintain a list of such opportunities.
Yes, but with a caveat. Dr. Weierich's policy is that potential thesis advisees must be admitted to the lab as regular RAs and train for at least one semester before Dr. Weierich will consider mentoring a thesis. During this first semester the student should enroll for independent study credit. This policy helps to ensure a good fit between the student's interests and goals and the general progress of the lab. Dr. Weierich does not advise student projects that fall outside the scope of CAP Lab research, as quality advising requires that the advisor is well-versed in the topic.
Students should be aware that the expectations are high for a thesis in the CAP Lab, and students should expect that the process will take a minimum of one year. In return, the student will experience the process of conducting an independent research project from beginning to end, which is invaluable preparation for doctoral training.
CAP Lab members are especially well-trained for clinical science and neuroscience doctoral programs and have been highly successful in gaining admission. For example, recent lab members have received offers of admission from:
Neuroscience doctoral programs:
Washington University in St. Louis
Clinical Science doctoral programs:
Stony Brook University
University of Minnesota
University of Texas at Austin
Washington University in St. Louis
Clinical Psychology doctoral programs:
Bowling Green State University
Eastern Michigan University
Long Island University
Miami University of Ohio
Northern Illinois University
Oklahoma State University
University of Missouri Kansas City
University of Missouri St. Louis
University of Nevada Reno
Western Michigan University
Cognition and Perception doctoral programs:
Yes, Dr. Weierich will consider incoming doctoral students for Fall 2018 in the Behavioral & Cognitive Neuroscience program or the Health Psychology & Clinical Science program.
Please note that all CAP Lab members, regardless of individual training emphasis, are required to achieve proficiency in ALL basic level lab skills (i.e., knowledge of the relevant neuroscientific, cognitive, clinical, and translational literature, conduct of behavioral studies, development of computerized behavioral tasks, basic data management and analysis, clinical interviewing, and professional development). Neuro Team members also are responsible for learning saliva assay and neuroimaging techniques and analysis.
Doctoral training obviously involves much more than the standard research assistant positions. Prospective doctoral students should contact Dr. Weierich via email with their research interests and CVs.
The lab currently is full, however we will place RA applications on file for potential positions in Spring 2018. Please send your CV, a description of your research interests, your plans and timeline for graduate education, and a list of relevant skills and experience to caplab [at] hunter.cuny.edu. When we are not considering new applicants, you will be placed on the waiting list, and when a new position becomes available you will be considered for potential interview. You should also consider applying for positions in other labs (see next FAQ).
Pre doctoral-level trainees should seek a position in any active research lab that shares the basic approach of interest (e.g., if you are interested broadly in research with human participants, you could try clinical, social, cognitive, or developmental labs). At pre doctoral levels of training, the most important purpose of a research assistantship is learning the process of research, and only secondarily the content (i.e., topic).
If you find a position in a lab that focuses on something other than your topic of interest, (a) work hard to learn the process, (b) take time to think about the common elements between that lab's topic and your topic, (c) keep up with the literature in your primary area of interest, and (d) talk with your PI regarding how to frame the transferable elements of your training in your application materials.