Research Technician - Quantitative Fly Behavior


Research at Janelia includes a portfolio of team projects focused on neuroanatomy and neuronal function in several animal models, including Drosophila. Anatomical data of the fly brain are used to guide behavioral experiments aiming to elucidate neuronal circuits from sensory input to behavioral output. The Project Technical Resources team at Janelia provides technical support to various team projects and to Janelia laboratories.

The Project Technical Resources team is seeking a research technician to perform and develop high-throughput quantitative behavioral assays. These assays test various fly behaviors, such as locomotion, phototaxis, optomotor responses, courtship, or sleep. By either activating or inactivating individual or groups of neurons we study the behavioral readout of the animal, which aids in understanding how the nervous system functions. The technician will work under limited supervision, collaborating closely with other team members, support groups, labs, and other project teams to contribute to Janelia's integrative effort to correlate brain anatomy, neural circuits and behavior.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Help design and execute day-to-day experiments for quantitative behavioral assays.
  • Perform computer automated analysis and quality control on large data sets.
  • Maintain accurate lab notes and databases of experimental results.
  • Customize assay designs to expand upon current protocols according to developing scientific needs and possibilities.
  • Optimize experimental logistics and workflows.
  • Establish data analysis paradigms for new assays (in collaboration with scientists and computing specialists).
  • Perform preparative work for behavioral experiments, such as fly crosses and fly sorting.
  • Communicate efficiently with the manager, team members, researchers, and other support groups at Janelia.

Preferred Qualifications:
  • M.S., or B.S. with equivalent education and experience, in a relevant scientific or engineering field.
  • Minimum of two years of experience in programming (Matlab, Python, Java)
  • Minimum of two years of experience in at least one of the following additional areas:
    • Drosophila genetics
    • Process or systems engineering
    • Systems neuroscience
    • Animal behavior research
    • High-throughput experimentation
  • Interest in Drosophila biology and neuroscience
  • Strong interest in new technologies and development of instrumentation
  • Work experience in a team-oriented environment

Skills and Abilities:
  • Ability to organize and conduct large-scale experiments
  • Aptitude to run repetitive protocols while constantly monitoring important details
  • Ability to monitor and troubleshoot technical issues with custom electronic instruments
  • Strong computer skills and a solid foundation in programming (familiarity with Matlab) in order to use and develop custom software for data analysis
  • Precision and speed performing complex motor tasks (sometimes while looking through a microscope)
  • Ability to concentrate in a fast paced and dynamic environment
  • Ability to review scientific literature and contribute actively to scientific discussions
  • Excellent interpersonal skills to communicate efficiently with colleagues and customers
  • Attitude and capacity to be a good team player
  • Commitment to the team's goal of providing outstanding technical support for research projects

HHMI is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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