We’re always interested in talking to qualified postdoc candidates. Particularly those with backgrounds in Statistics, Computer Science, Physics, or any other field where you do applied math for a living. Neuroscience experience is not required, though neuroscience interest is.
The laboratories of Dr. John Pearson and Dr. Richard Mooney at Duke University are seeking a postdoctoral scholar in conjunction with an NIH BRAIN Initiative-funded project investigating the contributions of basal ganglia to vocal motor exploration and reinforcement learning. Candidates will combine computational methods with state of the art viral, electrophysiological, and imaging techniques and work as part of a multi-institution team that also includes Dr. Carlos Lois, in the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering at CalTech, and Dr. Tim Gardner, in the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact at the University of Oregon.
The postdoc, appointed in the Department of Biostatistics & Bioinformatics, will perform computational modeling of reinforcement learning in the birdsong system, including development of new statistical machine learning methods for the analysis of song, electrophysiology, and calcium imaging data. The postdoc will work closely with experimentalists to design studies, analyze data, and refine hypotheses. Candidates should hold a PhD in a quantitative discipline such as computational neuroscience, physics, statistics, or computer science. Previous experience in neurobiology is a plus but not required. This postdoc will work closely with a related postdoc hire in the Department of Neurobiology, as well as team members across the other institutions.
Candidates should send a cv and brief statement of interest to Dr. Pearson to discuss further.
Min Degree Requirements: Relevant Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate (e.g. Sc.D., M.D., D.V.M.). If the candidate has completed all of the requirements for a degree, but the degree has not been formally conferred; the candidate may present evidence of completion of the degree requirements, together with a statement documenting the date on which the degree is to be conferred. Other Credential/Experiential Requirements: This position is limited to those with no more than 5 years combined of Duke and external postdoctoral experience, or no more than 4 years of Duke experience if that is the only postdoctoral experience.
Duke University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual’s age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.
Duke aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas-an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values.
Duke provides a wonderful environment for students interested in pursuing the kind of interdisciplinary research we do. As a result, P[λ]ab accepts graduate students through multiple programs:
Biostatistics and Bioinformatics. The PhD in biostatistics is a rigorous program that focuses on statistical theory and its application to biomedical research. The program is small, and like most programs at Duke, highly competitive. Compared to neuroscience PhD programs, the number of required courses is high, and many admitted students enter having completed a master’s degree. This is John’s home department.
Cognitive Neuroscience Admitting Program. Unlike most PhD programs, CNAP is not tied to a single department. Rather, it gives students the opportunity to explore interdisciplinary research in cognitive neuroscience before ultimately affiliating with a department like Psychology & Neuroscience, Neurobiology, or Electrical and Computer Engineering. CNAP is administered by the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, which includes faculty whose interests range from speech and development to neurons and computation. Students do three semester-long rotations and are often jointly mentored. The typical CNAP student has a strong interest in cognition and is looking to pursue research that crosses traditional departmental boundaries. John is a core faculty member of CCN.
Neurobiology. The Department of Neurobiology offers a PhD through its graduate training program. Research in the department focuses on biological and mechanistic approaches, typically at the cellular and molecular or systems and circuits level. John is a member of the training faculty and can accept students for rotations or PhD mentorship.
Psychology and Neuroscience. The department offers a PhD program with emphases in multiple areas, including Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience and Systems and Integrative Neuroscience. John has a secondary appointment in the department and can accept students.
Electrical and Computer Engineering. The department offers a PhD program and has an exceptional faculty in Signal and Information Processing. John has a secondary appointment in ECE and can accept students. The program is by direct admission, so interested students should reach out to John in advance and mention the lab in their applications.
If you plan on applying, keep a few things in mind:
We sometimes advertise positions for research associates/data scientists. These roles are best-suited to post-baccalaureate students who plan to go on to graduate school or careers in data science. Applicants should send a cv, cover letter, and code sample (GitHub/BitBucket/Gitlab profile preferred) to John for consideration. Again, we prioritize applicants with strong coding and quantitative skills.
P[λ]ab offers undergraduates several opportunities to contribute to the work of the lab:
A few points to note: