Open PhD positions

Here at the bioengineering department, prospective graduate students may apply for available PhD positions. Featured below are the most recent positions available.

 

Current Openings

Positions at the Computational & Experimental Neuroplasticity Laboratory (CENlab)

Job Description:

The Computational and Experimental Neuroplasticity Laboratory (CENlab) investigates synaptic plasticity's circuit, cellular and subcellular mechanisms. This research is conducted in collaboration with several researchers from different institutions. Projects include developing parameter optimization algorithms, developing data-driven models of neurons and networks, developing software for simulation reaction-diffusion networks, and creating data-driven models of signaling pathways

Desired Student Background and Skills:

Strong background in computational modeling, mathematics, and programming as well as a desire to learn about neuroscience are desired.

Funding Support:

We anticipate 1 fully funded Graduate Research Assistantship starting in Fall 2023.

Faculty Contact:

Kim “Avrama” Blackwellkblackw1@gmu.edu

Positions at the Biomedical Imaging Lab

Job Description 1:

BMIL has an open PhD position for a student interested in developing wearable ultrasound sensors and portable imaging systems. Students will engage in a multi-disciplinary research team to develop new imaging systems that can provide dynamic imaging and functional measures associated with musculoskeletal function and injury.

Desired Student Background and Skills:

Strong background in biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, or physics; Prior experience in ultrasound imaging and/or fabrication of sensors and electronic devices desired.

Funding Support:

The project is currently funded by several grants. We anticipate 1 fully funded Graduate Research Assistantship position starting in Fall ‘23.

 

Faculty Contact:

Parag Chitnis, pchitnis@gmu.edu

Positions at the Computational Hemodynamics Lab

Job Description:

The Lab for Computational Hemodynamics investigates mechanisms of cerebral aneurysm disease and healing processes after endovascular treatment using patient-specific computational fluid dynamics models constructed from 3D medical images. This research is conducted in collaboration with several researchers and neurosurgeons from different institutions. Projects include modeling thrombus formation, fibrin deposition, and endothelialization after endovascular treatment, analyzing surgical videos, ex-vivo imaged tissue samples, and connecting blood flow dynamics to wall characteristics and aneurysm instability. 

Desired Student Background and Skills:

Strong background in computational modeling, CFD, mathematics, physics, and programming as well as a desire to learn about cerebral aneurysms and stroke are desired.

Funding Support:

We anticipate 1 fully funded Graduate Research Assistantship starting in Fall 2023.

Faculty Contact:

Juan Cebral, jcebral@gmu.edu

Positions at the Spatial Cognition Lab

Job Description 1:

The Dannenberg lab investigates neural mechanisms underlying the coding of spatial memory and spatial navigation. This project studies the role of cholinergic modulation in the coding of location and running speed in the medial entorhinal cortex in freely behaving mice. Students will be part of a multi-disciplinary research team and acquire experimental data using fiber photometry recordings of cholinergic activity, electrophysiological measurements of neural activity, and measurements of behavioral states and navigational parameters.

Desired Student Background and Skills:

The ideal candidate will be an ambitious, highly motivated, team-oriented student with a background in neuroscience, biomedical engineering, biological science, or a related field. Prior research experience with animal experimentation and electrophysiology techniques is advantageous.

Funding Support:

The position is currently fully funded by departmental start-up funds.

Faculty Contact:

Holger Dannenberg, hdannenb@gmu.edu

Job Description 2: 

The Dannenberg lab investigates neural mechanisms underlying the coding of spatial memory and spatial navigation. This project tests hypotheses on the modulation of neuronal codes for memory-guided navigation by medial septal projection neurons. As part of a multidisciplinary research team, students will conduct behavioral experiments in freely behaving mice using optogenetics and multiple single unit recordings of grid cells.

Desired Student Background and Skills:

The ideal candidate will be an ambitious, highly motivated, team-oriented student with a background in neuroscience, biomedical engineering, biological science, or a related field. Prior research experience with animal experimentation, optogenetics, and electrophysiology techniques is advantageous.

Funding Support:

The position is currently fully funded by departmental start-up funds.

Faculty Contact:

Holger Dannenberg, hdannenb@gmu.edu

Job Description 3:

The Dannenberg lab investigates neural mechanisms underlying the coding of spatial memory and spatial navigation. This computational project tests hypotheses on the time scales of firing rate modulation in functionally defined cell types in the hippocampus and medial entorhinal cortex such as grid cells, head direction cells, and speed cells by sensory inputs, theta rhythmic activity, and cholinergic activity. Experimental data sets acquired in the lab as well as publicly available data sets will be analyzed to advance our understanding of rate codes and tuning curves in the formation of a cognitive map for memory-guided navigation.

Desired Student Background and Skills:

The ideal candidate will be an ambitious, highly motivated, team-oriented student with a background in neuroscience, biomedical engineering, biological science, or a related field. Coding skills in Python or Matlab are required, prior experience with signal processing and statistical models is advantageous.

Funding Support:

The position is currently fully funded by departmental start-up funds.

Faculty Contact:

Holger Dannenberg, hdannenb@gmu.edu

Positions at the Center for Neural Informatics

Job Description 1:

The project aims to develop informatics resources and web solutions to foster large-scale analysis, modeling, and visualization of digital reconstructions of neuronal morphologies for NeuroMorpho.Org

Desired Student Background and Skills:

Strong background in Python, JavaScript, PostgreSQL, and Unix servers; interest in neuroscience.

Funding Support:

NIH funding is available for at least 2 years.

Faculty Contact:

Giorgio Ascoli, ascoli@gmu.edu

Job Description 2: 

The project aims to develop informatics resources and web solutions to enable real-scale, data-driven simulations of spiking neural networks of the hippocampal formation from Hippocampome.org

Desired Student Background and Skills:

Strong background in PHP, MATLAB, and computational neuroscience.

Funding Support:

NIH funding is available for at least 2 years.

Faculty Contact:

Giorgio Ascoli, ascoli@gmu.edu

Positions at US Naval Research Labs

Job Description 1:

Open PhD position for a student interested in applying multistep enzyme catalysis towards the synthesis of new molecules. Students will be part of a multi-scientist, multidisciplinary research team that creates nanoparticle-enzyme systems that access enhanced biocatalytic processes.  These materials are meant to form the basis for next generation de novo synthetic biology.

Project/Lab Name:

Nanoparticle Enhanced Cell Free Enzymatic Catalysis

Desired Student Background and Skills:

Strong background in molecular biology, biochemistry, bioengineering, physics, mathematics, and chemistry. Prior experience with molecular biology, bacterial and eukaryotic cell culture, along with enzymes desired but not necessary.

Funding Support:

The project is currently funded by the US Naval Research Laboratory. We anticipate 1 fully funded Graduate Research Assistantship position starting in Fall ’22 or 23.

Faculty Contact: 

Igor Medintz, igor.medintz@nrl.navy.mil

Job Description 2:

Open PhD position for a student interested in applying DNA nanotechnology and photonics to energy harvesting, energy transfer, and creating diagnostic and theranostic nanodevices.

Project/Lab Name:

DNA-Based Nanophotonic Devices

Desired Student Background and Skills:

Strong background in molecular biology, biochemistry, bioengineering, physics, mathematics, and chemistry. Prior experience with DNA nanotechnology and DNA-based diagnostics is desired but not necessary.

Funding Support:

The project is currently funded by the US Naval Research Laboratory. We anticipate 1 fully funded Graduate Research Assistantship position starting in Fall ’22 or 23.

Faculty Contact:

Igor Medintz, igor.medintz@nrl.navy.mil

Positions at the ImPoWeR Lab

Job Description:

The goal of the ImPoWeR lab is to develop innovative, globally relevant robotic devices for rehabilitation, and assistive technology to enhance the quality of life of individuals who have experienced a neurological injury. To that end, the lab applies knowledge in intelligent assistive technology, neuromuscular control, wearable sensor technology, and rehabilitation robotics to evaluate and restore (either through retraining or assistance) sensorimotor function. The lab also strives to keep minimalistic design at the forefront in order to develop affordable robotic devices for developing countries and those from low economic backgrounds

Desired Student Background and Skills:

Two positions are available for students with different backgrounds including biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, neuroscience, or a related field. The ideal candidate (s) will be ambitious, intrinsically motivated, hard-working, and team-oriented. Experience with CAD and coding in MATLAB, Python, or C++ is desired. Prior research experience in areas such as robotics, neurorehabilitation, and motor control is advantageous but not necessary.

Funding Support:

The positions are currently fully funded by departmental start-up funds.

Faculty Contact:

Quentin Sanders, qsanders@gmu.edu