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Post Doctoral Fellow - School of Biomedical Engineering Science and Health Systems

Apply now Job no: 497560
Work type: Full-Time
Location: University City - Philadelphia, PA
Categories: Drexel University, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems

About Drexel

Drexel is one of Philadelphia's top 10 private employers, a comprehensive global research university and a major engine for economic development in the region. With over 24,000 students, Drexel is one of America's 15 largest private universities. Drexel has committed to being the nation’s most civically engaged university, with community partnerships integrated into every aspect of service and academics.

Job Summary

A postdoctoral fellowship is available to conduct research with Vikas Bhandawat at Drexel Biomed. The position is for a computational neuroscientist. Experience/Interest in performing experiments is a plus but not essential.

The candidate is expected to work on two related research problems:

One research project is aimed at understanding neural control of movement – how descending neurons and thoracic (equivalent to spinal cord) motor circuits, and sensory feedback control the coordination of a fly’s leg and coordination between legs. Because each leg has many degrees of freedom, and there are 6 legs, the movement space is large. We will employ concepts from dynamical systems, statistical methods as well as machine learning/deep learning to discover latent structure from high-dimensional data, to extract movement states, and to understand how these states are regulated by interactions between behavioral demands  (carried by descending inputs), current body configuration (computed by thoracic circuits based on past limb positions), and on-going sensory feedback (through proprioceptors and load feedback).

The second research problem is aimed at understanding the control of movement at a higher-level – how activity in sensory neurons drive behavioral decisions. This project is aimed at connecting moment-by-moment activity in fly’s olfactory neurons to behavior using techniques similar to the previous research problem.

The successful candidate will have received a Ph.D. in a relevant discipline with substantial experience in Computational Neuroscience. The position will be largely computational, but there is an opportunity to perform a wide variety of experiments, including, in vivo whole-cell patch clamp, in vivo functional imaging, tethered/free behavioral assays in the Bhandawat lab.

The Bhandawat lab studies how animal behavior emerges from the complex interaction amongst the animal's nervous systems, their muscle-body dynamics, and their environment. We use fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) as our model organism because they perform many complex behaviors with a relatively simple brain, and because of the many genetic tools that are available in the flies. We employ a multi-pronged approach which includes in vivo whole-cell patch clamp recordings, imaging, and quantitative measurement of behavior, biomechanics and computation. For more information on research conducted in the Bhandawat lab, please check our website at

Essential Functions

  • Conducting research on computation neuroscience according to awarded proposals.
  • Handle ordering, lab organization as required for the project.
  • Maintains an up-to-date documentation of research activities as required
  • Provide Principal Investigator with weekly updates of study progress
  • Keep Principal Investigator informed of any unexpected events, or problems in a timely manner

Required Qualifications

PhD or Doctorate, Biomedical Engineering or related field

Preferred Qualifications

  • Ability to identify problems and possible solutions and taking appropriate action to resolve.
  • Excellent communication skills, organizational skills, and attention to details are highly valued for this position.
  • Research experience in computational neuroscience.

Physical Demands

Typically sitting at a desk/table, standing, walking

Lifting demands  ≤ 25lbs

Typically bending, crouching, stooping


University City, Philadelphia, PA

Additional Information

This position is classified as exempt with a salary grade of I. For more information regarding Drexel’s Professional Staff salary structure,

Special Instructions to the Applicant

Please make sure you upload your resume and cover letter when submitting your application.

Review of applications  will begin once a suitable candidate pool is identified.

Advertised: Eastern Standard Time
Applications close: Eastern Standard Time

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