The Schwerdt Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh has an opening for a Postdoctoral Associate in Neural Engineering and Primate Neurophysiology. The research involves building next-generation multi-modal brain implantable probes and applying these in non-human primates (NHPs) to uncover the co-active molecular dopamine and electrical neural signaling underlying key decision making, mood regulation, motor control behaviors, and how these evolve (i.e. learning) over time in health and in disease (e.g. Parkinson’s disease, major mood disorder). Our lab previously established cutting-edge methods to look at brain activity in a new way, that is, by recording both chemical (i.e. dopamine) and electrical (spike and local field potential) neural activity, and to be able to do this over chronic year-long time scales. The position involves leading experiments to collect and analyze large-scale neural signals (dopamine, spikes, and oscillations) made from striatum and interconnected cortical and basal ganglia regions of task performing rhesus monkeys as well as microfabrication and implantation of the micro-invasive neural interfaces used to accomplish these measurements.
The position offers opportunities for growth and expansion of skills in advanced primate neurophysiology and brain activity mapping (e.g. electrochemistry, electrophysiology, microstimulation, neurosurgery, task design), microfabrication, and systems neuroscience. The individual is expected to work as a team with the principal investigator and other undergraduate and graduate students, and laboratory technicians. The individual is expected to prepare and write high quality journal papers for peer-review and scientific dissemination, present significant research progress in scientific workshops and/or conferences, and participate in grant writing.
Candidates should hold a Ph.D. in neuroscience, engineering (electrical, bio-, biomedical, chemical, or mechanical), biology, psychology, computer science or another computational major, mathematics, physics, or other related fields (e.g. chemistry, neurobiology, etc.) and have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, organizational skills, strong work ethics and motivational drive, the ability to design and carry out research independently, and evidence of sufficient research experiences (e.g. publication record). Highly competitive applicants will have experience in one or more of the following: non-human primate electrophysiology; neuroscience; behavioral training and task design; microfabrication; electrical engineering; computational analysis, modeling, and programming in Matlab; data science, statistics, machine learning or other advanced mathematical computational and analytic techniques to analyze neural data; animal handling and surgeries; and/or grant writing.