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Position Details

Academic Personnel

Post-Doctoral Fellowship: Impact of Early Mobility on Learning and Brain Development in Children with Disabilities

Position Overview

School / Campus / College: School of Medicine

Organization: Rehabilitation Medicine

Title: Post-Doctoral Fellowship: Impact of Early Mobility on Learning and Brain Development in Children with Disabilities

Position Details

Position Description

The University of Washington’s School of Medicine, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Center for Research and Education on Accessible Technology and Experiences (CREATE) and Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences (I-LABS) has an opening for a Postdoctoral Scholar focused on investigating how motor experience and mobility, cognition, and communication interact in child development. Postdoctoral scholar appointments are full time, with a 12-month service period. Reappointments may be possible up to 5 years total, inclusive of all postdoctoral experience at other institutions. Anticipated start is September 2021. We are focusing on how access to self-initiated mobility technology (adapted ride-on cars, power wheelchairs) may impact early learning, linguistic and other communication, and brain development in children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy (CP), down syndrome, or genetic conditions. This individual will work closely with a team of psychologists, neuroscientists, rehabilitation professionals, and engineers from CREATE and I-LABS to improve evidence for and access to mobility technology for children ages 1-3 years, using a combination of DIY mobility devices, commercial powered mobility devices, and developmental outcome measures.

For this donor-funded research, the primary responsibilities of the postdoctoral scholar will be to engage in device fabrication, programming, and maintenance, create and implement protocols for tracking responses to various mobility conditions, facilitate caregiver interviews, and conduct developmental assessments. We are looking for candidates who have a passion for multidisciplinary research and have expertise in both the technical aspects and developmental outcomes of mobility technology deployment. You will be working closely with children with disabilities and their families, psychologists, rehabilitation professionals, and other scientists throughout the research project.  This research is led by Dr. Heather Feldner from the UW’s Department of Rehabilitation Medicine and Disability Studies Program, Dr. Kat Steele from the UW’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Patricia Kuhl and Dr. Andrew Meltzoff from I-LABS. Dr. Feldner will directly supervise the postdoc and all other faculty will provide mentorship. The postdoc will also have an opportunity to engage with other CREATE faculty and projects.

The overarching mission of CREATE is to make technology accessible and make the world accessible through technology. We take a need-based, human-centered approach to accessibility research and education, work closely with stakeholders in disability communities, and apply knowledge and skills across computer science, rehabilitation medicine, engineering, design, and disability studies to improve access and quality of life for diverse populations. More information about our center and on-going research can be found at:

The overarching mission of I-LABS is to understand the mechanisms of human learning, especially in early development. More information about I-LABS can be found at: (

Postdoctoral scholars are represented by UAW 4121 and are subject to the collective bargaining agreement, unless agreed exclusion criteria apply. For more information, please visit the University of Washington Labor Relations website:


Applicants should have a PhD or foreign equivalent, in engineering, human centered design, or rehabilitation science. Other life sciences may be considered. Rehabilitation professionals should be licensed or eligible for licensure in their respective discipline in the State of Washington. Strong oral and written communication skills and the ability to work as an effective member of a multidisciplinary team are critical for the success of this research.


Applicants should provide (1) a cover letter clearly describing your interest and relevant background in this project, (2) a CV, (3) copies of two representative publications, and (4) contact information for three references. Project and application questions may be submitted via email to Heather Feldner at 


Application Deadlines:

The application period is now open. Application review will begin on April1, 2021 and continue until the position is filled. Start date is flexible but late spring or early summer 2021 is preferred. 

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

University of Washington is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All
qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, creed,
religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, genetic information,
gender identity or expression, age, disability, or protected veteran status.

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