Associate Research Scientist
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 will be 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 47 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 on dissecting the neuronal circuits underlying the learning of novel actions through reinforcement. To learn novel skilled actions, the brain has to causally link specific movements with an outcome, reselect these movements, and refine them to reliably elicit the desired outcome. While employing a novel joystick paradigm, the successful candidate will use in vivo calcium imaging to measure neuronal activity in corticostriatal and subcortical circuits engaged during the task, and chemo- and optogenetic tools to causally test how specific cell-types within these circuits are involved in the refinement of different action components and the learning of distinct control strategies through outcome reinforcement.
The ideal candidate will have expertise in viral and operant behavioral methods, and strong in vivo imaging skills, as well as superior motivation, drive and demonstrated aptitude for research.