Rockefeller University Mechatronics Engineering in New York, New York

Job Title Mechatronics Engineering

Laboratory / Department Neurophysiology and Behavior

Department Description

The Ruta lab takes advantage of the relatively simple nervous system of the fruit fly Drosophila to examine how flexibility is engineered into the nervous system to give rise to adaptive behaviors, at the level of both individuals and species. We examine how learning rapidly shapes neural pathways to allow each member of a species to respond appropriately to their unique experience of the world. We also consider how neural circuits are adapted over longer evolutionary time scales to give rise to species-specific behaviors. Our lab uses a wide array of techniques, from biochemistry to behavior, with goal to reveal the explicit neural basis for flexible behavior at high resolution. Engineering methods to generate more precise and quantitative measures of neural activity and behavior are central to this goal.

Detailed Description

The Mechatronics Engineer will work closely with neuroscientists and biologists to develop and support custom software/hardware systems for behavioral and neurophysiological experiments in fruit flies. The Mechatronics Engineer's responsibilities will entail software development, primarily in Matlab, Python, and C++, working with soft and hard real-time systems. Will be responsible for maintaining and extending upon a virtual-reality system that combines real-time video-image analysis of fly behavior and physiological data-acquisition of neuronal activity, develop a flexible, real-time software platform and efficient machine vision algorithms to facilitate the behavioral and neurophysiological experiments, perform complete project cycles, from design to fabrication, with support from a small engineering core in the university's fabrication and machining facility, and use existing image-registration routines to align neural imaging data from experiments across multiple insects. Depending on expertise and interest, other projects may involve designing and manufacturing tiny plastic platforms for restraining flies (micro-machined with CNC mills), optical systems for biological imaging applications, and simple electronic devices for measuring fly behavior (utilizing Atmel microcontrollers and custom-designed printed circuit boards).

Job Requirements

Bachelor's degree in engineering, math, or physics required. Must have experience writing code in multiple languages including Python, C++, and Matlab, and be comfortable designing and building small mechanical and electronic devices. Must have an interest in neuroscience and working closely with biologists on engineering approaches, willingness and ability to rapidly assimilate new fields of knowledge, from machine vision algorithms to electronic circuit design, for the purpose of building functional electro-mechanical devices or completing medium-sized coding projects, ability to clearly communicate engineering principles, design, and coding with biologists and have the capacity to work collaboratively with members of the lab to optimize systems and coding as experimental needs require. Must have the ability to multitask and assist in the design and optimization of different systems simultaneously to support multiple ongoing and evolving projects. Must be detail-oriented, accurate, and creative in the process of design development. Must be capable of working both independently and within a small team.

Additional Details

The Rockefeller University is an Equal Opportunity Employer - Minorities/Women/Disabled/Veterans