Research Opportunities

Our lab is a fast-paced and exciting environment that engages students from a wide range of Vanderbilt undergraduate and graduate programs and staff from diverse backgrounds.


We are currently at full capacity for staff RA positions. Feel free to send your CV to Dr. Reyna Gordon ( or Dr. Lense ( if you would like us to keep your CV on file in case an opportunity opens up in the future.

New Staff Scientist Position - Genetics-focused.

We will soon (early 2020) be posting an open Staff Scientist Position. This individual will work under Dr. Gordon's supervision to develop and carry out NIH-funded studies focused on the genetic basis of human musicality traits and exploring potentially shared genetic architecture with other communication traits (i.e. language), health traits, and related neural endophenotypes. The candidate must have strong programming/computational skills, experience working with genomic data, meticulous organizational and data analytic skills, and an interest in the brain and cognitive phenotypes. Research activities will take place in collaboration with colleagues at the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute. Position application link will be posted when available. See for project areas.



Open Postdoc positions are listed here:

It is possible that Dr. Gordon will recruit an additional PhD student and/or postdoctoral trainee in the area of genetics of language and music ( If you have computer programming experience and an interest in this area, and would like to be notified about new opportunities for doctoral and postdoctoral training for this line of research, please send your CV to Please note that Dr. Gordon can supervise PhD students at Vanderbilt solely through the Neuroscience PhD program (and the IGP).

Dr. Lense does not currently have any open PhD or postdoctoral positions. You are welcome to share your CV with if you would like to be notified about new opportunities. Please note that Dr. Lense can supervise PhD students at Vanderbilt solely through the Neuroscience PhD program (and the IGP).


The Music Cognition Lab engages highly-motivated and detail-oriented Vanderbilt undergraduate and graduate students for part-time Research Assistant positions (minimum commitment of 10 hours per week, plus at least one summer in the lab).

Research duties may include administering assessments of language, music, development, and cognitive skills in children, participant recruitment, data entry, data analysis, and development of new experimental paradigms. These lab experiences are intensive and students are expected to be reliable, organized, and know how to work both independently and in a group. Students will be pushed to learn and grow and to contribute significantly to our scientific program of research. If you are looking for research experience only to satisfy a degree requirement or a pre-graduate-school requirement, we are probably not for you. Students who have done well in our lab thus far have been from many different degree programs and backgrounds but share the following qualities: they are highly attentive to detail, have good problem-solving abilities, know how to take initiative and follow through, and are not afraid to learn new things.  Their good work is rewarded with opportunities to contribute to posters and journal articles, conference travel depending on funding availability, partial stipend, career mentorship, and the joy of being part of a close-knit community of young people who share a love of music and science.

Interested applicants should send a CV, writing sample, and a brief description of why they are interested in this research to Peyton Coleman at, and please cc: Dr. Reyna Gordon ( and Dr. Miriam Lense (


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