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Postdoc Postion: Multiscale Modeling Methods & Simulator Dev

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:41 am
by ramcdougal
Mosaic Multiscale Modeling Postdoctoral Fellowship available for combining cell biology (reaction-diffusion) and electrophysiology in the NEURON simulator (

The position involves an unusual mix of software engineering and science, depending on the candidate’s background and interests. Mathematically, interesting challenges arise in coupling 1D and 3D simulations and coupling deterministic with stochastic simulation. Biologically, dendrites and spines produce complex morphologies with much possibility for spatial variation in concentration. At the network level, the molecular scale interacts in unexpected ways with cellular and network dynamics. Although the work is technical and focused on software development, paper writing is expected with opportunity for both methods papers and biological papers, typically in collaboration with experimental labs.

The postdoc will receive training in a wide range of interdisciplinary skills from computer science, applied math, biophysics, cell biology, electrophysiology, etc. The work is being performed in close collaboration with experimental laboratories, giving the opportunity to immediately determine how closely a modeling technique can match the experimental reality (or how experimental artifact can be reduced so as to match a model).

Candidates should have a strong background in computer programming, with demonstrated proficiency in C/C++, Python, or some other major language. Familiarity with any or all of threading, MPI, SBML, or user interface design is a strong plus. Strong interest, though not necessarily research experience, in cell biology and/or neuroscience is a must. Some experience with NEURON is desirable.

We are part of the team that develops and disseminates the NEURON multiscale modeling (MSM) environment, used by thousands of researchers over decades (now in year 40). As with most simulators, NEURON has historically emphasized neuronal network connectivity and cell membrane electrical dynamics. Recent advances in genomics and proteomics require that the scales of cell biology be added to the MSM mosaic. This extension is particularly important for understanding major problems in learning and memory (the genesis of long-term potentiation in the interaction of chemo- and electro-) and in understanding and developing treatments for brain disease.

The work is being done as a collaboration between SUNY Downstate and Yale University under the auspices of a 5 year continuation of an ongoing grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. The NIH and other agencies (FDA, NASA, NSF, DARPA, others) are making a strong push to enhance multiscale modeling in biomedical engineering across organ systems, but particularly with respect to brain function and brain disease -- this is a major growth area in bioscience.

Based on the candidate's background and preferences, job could be in Brooklyn, New Haven or via telecommuting. The labs maintain frequent (sometimes seemingly constant) communication via instant messaging (Slack) with software sharing via git and mercurial.
Applicants should contact Bill Lytton or Robert McDougal by email (billl at robert.mcdougal at; no snail mail please) with a CV and cover letter. SUNY is an equal opportunity employer.