Postdoctoral Positions in Neuronal Circuit Reconstruction

Pasadena, California
According to NIH standards + benefits
October 15 2018
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
Job Type

Postdoctoral Positions in Neuronal Circuit Reconstruction

The Wagenaar Lab at Caltech is seeking to hire up to two postdocs to participate in the reconstruction and interpretation of the connectome of the nervous system of the medicinal leech, a well-established model organism in electrophysiology. Segmental ganglia of invertebrates such as the medicinal leech represent a unique opportunity to connect network anatomy at the single-synapse level with functional significance at the level of the animal, since individual neurons in these ganglia play well-defined roles in behavior that are preserved from animal to animal. We have already obtained anatomical data at the nanometer scale using serial block-face electron microscopy (SBEM) from an individual animal in which we also recorded neuronal activity using a double sided microscope and voltage-sensitive dyes (VSD) during several important behaviors. Our next target is to combine the anatomical and functional data to study how the animal’s nervous system supports its behavior. Within this framework, we are looking for candidates to work on two projects:

  1. Development and application of automated or semi-automated circuit reconstruction strategies;
  2. Electrophysiological and/or VSD imaging experiments to further our understanding of various neural circuits underlying leech behavior.

We also have an ongoing project on crossmodal sensory integration in which the successful applicant could participate, but the two projects above would be of higher priority.

Successful candidates will have the opportunity to interact closely with Dr Mark Ellisman and his team at the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research (NCMIR) at the University of California, San Diego, our main collaborator on the project. You will also have the opportunity to present your work at relevant national or international conferences and to fully participate in the richness of academic life at Caltech.

Applicants should have:

  • A PhD in computer science (for project 1) or neuroscience (for project 2), or a closely related field relevant to the respective project;
  • Strong technical skills in modern EM image analysis (for project 1) or electrophysiology (for project 2) as well as in general data analysis and interpretation;
  • The ability to work independently, set priorities, multitask, seek technical input from diverse sources, and maintain good familiarity with related scientific literature.

The position is for an initial 1-year term with the possibility of several 1-year reappointments assuming satisfactory performance and availability of funding. Applicants should send a CV including list of publications and a statement of research interests to Daniel Wagenaar ( and arrange for three reference letters to be sent to the same address. Applications received by November 15, 2018 will receive full consideration, but review of applications will continue until the position is filled. More information about our lab is at

Caltech is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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