The LIMBS Laboratory is a highly interdisciplinary research group at the nexus of robotics, neuroscience, and integrative biomechanics. Our students and postdoctoral scholars perform cutting-edge research in engineering, integrative biology, and neuroscience and publish in top field-specific journals and interdisciplinary journals. We are fortunate to collaborate with some of the best scientists in the world, many of whom are right here at JHU. Our students and postdocs go on to successful academic and industrial careers and become thought leaders in their fields. If you are interested in becoming a member of this research group, please read below.

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Post-Doc Positions


Postdoc Positions Available for Multiple Projects
Navigation and Locomotor Control in Augmented Reality
PI’s: Noah Cowan & James Knierim
Johns Hopkins University

The Cowan and Knierim laboratories have multiple funded projects from NIH and DOD investigating the neural computations that underlie navigation in the physical world. We are using a novel augmented reality apparatus and multi-electrode neural recordings of place cells, grid cells, head direction cells, and other cell types of the hippocampus and related brain regions to reverse engineer the interplay between navigation and locomotor control in freely behaving animals (see https://limbs.lcsr.jhu.edu/ and http://sites.krieger.jhu.edu/knierim-lab/ ). We are seeking dynamic and ambitious postdoctoral candidates who are interested in experimental research in potentially diverse areas (e.g. biomechanics, neuroscience, robotics, control systems, or physics). There will be opportunities to get training in neurophysiology, behavior, and computational approaches.

Qualifications: PhD in Engineering, Neuroscience, Biology, Physics, Computer Science, or related fields. Strong computational and experimental background a must.

How to apply: Interested applicants should send a single PDF including a brief (1 page) cover letter, CV (no more than 4 pages, including a list of 3 references), and up to two papers to ncowan@jhu.edu.

Laboratory Technician

The Locomotion in Mechanical and Biological Systems (LIMBS) laboratory is seeking a research technologist to work in a highly dynamic and interdisciplinary engineering and neuroscience laboratory on the Homewood campus at the Johns Hopkins University. The LIMBS lab develops and applies advanced experimental and modeling techniques to study the interplay between neural systems and biomechanics in a wide range of biological systems (see https://limbs.lcsr.jhu.edu/ for more information). Duties include building, maintaining, and programming custom experimental hardware; training animals in behavioral tasks; assisting in collection of data; analysis of behavioral and neurophysiological data; ordering lab supplies; and upkeep of animal care facility as well as general lab maintenance. Flexible hours, including some weekends, is a requirement.

Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in engineering, physics, computer science, neuroscience, or related fields is essential and prior experience in a laboratory setting is highly desirable. Strong technical skills in one or more areas (e.g. computer skills such as programming in Matlab, facility with hand tools, knowledge of basic hardware/electronics) are desirable.

Interested? Please send a single PDF including a brief (1 page) cover letter and resume / cv (no more than 2 pages, including a list of 2 references) to ncowan@jhu.edu

Prospective Graduate Students

Graduate recruiting is idiosyncratic and varies between universities, graduate programs and/or departments within a university, and labs within a program or department. The purpose of this text is to explain how things work in several programs at Johns Hopkins, and in my laboratory in particular, as well as give you information about how to apply to become a part of the LIMBS laboratory working with Prof. Cowan as a thesis advisor.

At Johns Hopkins, some graduate programs (such as the Biomedical Engineering Department and Neuroscience Graduate Program) admit a cohort of students in a “pool” who then perform research rotations. This model has its advantages for the students in terms of flexibility: your advisor is not “assigned” to you at the time of matriculation. Other programs, such as the Mechanical Engineering Department’s PhD program, admit students either directly to a lab, or in some cases create an offer letter that lists a handful of possible advisors, based on a conversation between the student and potential advisors. These conversations generally occur after the student has applied so all of her or his applications materials have been reviewed by the appropriate faculty members.

Prof. Cowan maintains a research group of about 5 PhD students, and therefore recruits 0-2 graduate students per year for research in the fields of robotics and/or biological systems research. Prospective graduate students interested in admission (typically for Fall enrollment cycle) must submit a complete official application for consideration; Prof. Cowan cannot “pre-evaluate” graduate applications. You may apply through Prof. Cowan’s primary department of Mechanical Engineering or through another graduate program that he is a member of, such as Biomedical Engineering, Computer ScienceElectrical and Computer Engineering. Your undergraduate field of study need not be one of these disciplines; for example, physicists, applied mathematicians, and biologists with a strong mathematical and/or computational background are encouraged to apply.

If you are interested in working in the LIMBS laboratory be sure to mention your interest in Prof. Cowan’s laboratory in your written statement. You may also send Prof. Cowan a brief personal email, especially after you have applied to one of the above programs. Unfortunately, Prof. Cowan is unable to pre-evaluate your application and may not be able to respond to each pre-application email inquiry.

JHU Graduate Program Rotations

In addition to Prof. Cowan’s primary appointment in Mechanical Engineering, he also participates in the graduate programs of several programs, including Biomedical Engineering, Computer ScienceElectrical and Computer Engineering. Prof. Cowan routinely provides rotation projects for students in these programs. Some of these projects have evolved into thesis projects. If you are currently a student at JHU in one of these programs, a simple email to Prof. Cowan is all that is needed to apply. Please include a bit of information, such as CV and a list of courses you’ve taken at JHU (or an unofficial transcript), as well as a brief description of your research interests.

Undergraduate Student Positions

We usually have several undergraduate student researchers working in the LIMBS Lab each year. We look for students who are proactive, responsible, independent, good “lab citizens”, and have a strong academic record. We have to limit the number of undergraduate student researchers due to the availability of mentors, but we always have a lot of ideas for undergraduate research projects.

Prospective undergraduate researchers from JHU should ncowan@jhu.edu email Prof. Cowan their resume and unofficial transcript. Prof. Cowan’s website has more information on working in his lab.

Teaching Assistant Positions

This is only for current JHU graduate and undergraduate students; the ME Department does not admit new graduate students as TAs. Each of Dr. Cowan’s classes uses one or more teaching assistants. However, currently all positions are filled.