Associate Research Scientist in the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute

New York City, New York (US)
commensurate with experience
June 07 2019
Life Sciences
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
Other Corporate

Columbia University’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute (the Zuckerman Institute) brings together researchers to explore aspects of mind and brain, through the exchange of ideas and active collaboration. The Zuckerman Institute’s home is the Jerome L. Greene Science Center on Columbia’s new Manhattanville campus. Situated in the heart of Manhattan, at full capacity the Zuckerman Institute will house approximately 55+ laboratories employing a broad range of interdisciplinary approaches to transform our understanding of the mind and brain. In this highly collaborative environment, labs work together to gain critical insights into human health by exploring how the brain develops, performs, endures and recovers from trauma or disease.

A lab within the Zuckerman Institute seeks an Associate Research Scientist (ARS) to facilitate research in the egg laying behavior of the fruitfly, Drosophila. Decision-making can be seen as a collection of goal-oriented behaviors. Indeed, decisions are realized through actions. For animals that lay eggs, deciding when and where to deposit their eggs represents one of the most important decisions they must make. The behaviors required to achieve a goal often are comprised of multiple discrete components, many of which themselves invoke aspects of decision-making. This project aims to look more closely at “how” flies lay eggs, realizing that the execution of the decision may reveal fundamental principles regarding the organizational hierarchy of decision-making circuits. We have identified the sequence of component behaviors that compose egg-laying behaviors, and revealed they are executed in a flexible manner depending on the context. Moving forward, we will attempt to identify key sources of input that shape the behavior, derived from both internal and external sensory feedback, as well as the neural circuit within the ventral nerve cord that integrates and transforms these signals into action.

The candidate will have the conceptual knowledge and facile experimental abilities to become an integral member of the lab capable of functioning independently. They will be quantitatively sophisticated and be able to perform experimental science independently. They will possess an experimental facility that combines genetics, optical imaging of neural activity, and behavior. At the same time, being able to integrate data into theoretical modeling.

The ideal candidate will have expertise in olfactory guided behaviors and other behaviors guided by sensory feedback as well as strong theoretical, experimental, and computational skills. The candidate should also possess superior motivation, drive and a demonstrated aptitude for research.


MD, PhD, or doctorate in related field

Strong candidates will be interested and focused on interdisciplinary work.


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