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Electromechanical Engineer, MCN-NET

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)
United States, Maryland, Chevy Chase
4000 Jones Bridge Road (Show on map)
December 02, 2023
Primary Work Address: 19700 Helix Drive, Ashburn, VA, 20147 Current HHMI Employees, click here to apply via your Workday account.

Janelia Research Campus is a pioneering research center in Ashburn, Virginia, where scientists pursue fundamental questions in neuroscience and imaging. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) launched Janelia in 2006, establishing an intellectually distinctive environment for scientists to do creative, collaborative, hands-on work. Our integrated teams of biologists, computational scientists, and tool-builders pursue a small number of scientific questions with potential for transformative impact. We share our methods, results, and tools with the scientific community. It is a uniquely innovative and collaborative atmosphere that reflects HHMI's reputation for excellence.

About the role:

The Mechanistic Cognitive Neuroscience NeuroEngineering Team (MCN-NET) serves as a resource across all MCN labs at Janelia, developing groundbreaking engineering tools to further the capabilities of neuroscience research. This position is highly collaborative, with project scopes spanning the needs of different labs and teams. The NeuroEngineer must have strong knowledge of the relevant engineering field's basic concepts, practices, and procedures, and will be expected to coordinate efforts between MCN labs and Janelia support teams, especially Janelia Experimental Technology and Scientific Computing. Additionally, this role will support Janelia Open Science by creating rigorous documentation for broadly useful tools. The ideal MCN NeuroEngineer candidate will be passionate about supporting significant scientific endeavors and have some experience bridging and communicating across engineering and neuroscience fields. We are currently searching for an MCN NeuroEngineer with a background in electromechanics/mechatronics.

What we provide:

  • A competitive compensation package, with comprehensive health and welfare benefits.

  • A research setting that fosters close collaboration between tool builders and biologists.

  • Access to world-class engineering and research facilities.

  • Mentoring and training from experts in diverse fields.

  • The opportunity to support high-impact scientific research across multiple labs.

  • A healthy work-life balance, with on-site childcare, free gyms, on-campus housing, vibrant social and dining spaces, and free shuttle service to Arlington.

What you'll do:

  • Design, develop, build, and test a wide variety of engineering tools and systems to support neuroscience research with project scopes spanning multiple labs.

  • Identify and understand the needs of scientific researchers to develop project requirements and specifications. This will require interfacing with MCN labs and identifying end users who will use the engineering tools post-development.

  • Work collaboratively with MCN labs and Janelia support teams, coordinating project sub-tasks with support teams as needed.

  • Support Janelia Open Science through documentation and resource availability for developed tools.

  • Communicate regularly with end-user labs, providing periodic status updates, as needed.

  • Manage multiple projects simultaneously and effectively prioritize tasks.

What you bring:

  • B.S., M.S., or Ph.D. in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, mechatronics, or a related field.

  • Degree in neuroscience or a related field may be considered with demonstrated understanding and practice of applied engineering principles.

  • 3+ years of experience engineering tools for research applications.

  • 2+ years in a neuroscience research setting.

  • Experience with hardware-software integration.

  • Hands-on experience designing, fabricating, and testing electromechanical systems.

  • Programming skills in MATLAB, Python, or equivalent. Additional programming skills in languages such as C++ are desired.

  • Ability to translate needs of scientific researchers into project requirements and specifications.

  • Demonstrated broad problem-solving abilities and flexibility. Projects are expected to span multiple engineering and scientific areas.

  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively across multiple groups.

Physical Requirements:

Remaining in a normal seated or standing position for extended periods of time; reaching and grasping by extending hand(s) or arm(s); dexterity to manipulate objects with fingers, for example using a keyboard; communication skills using the spoken word; ability to see and hear within normal parameters; ability to move about workspace. The position requires mobility, including the ability to move materials weighing up to several pounds (such as a laptop computer or tablet).

Persons with disabilities may be able to perform the essential duties of this position with reasonable accommodation. Requests for reasonable accommodation will be evaluated on an individual basis.

Please Note:

This job description sets forth the job's principal duties, responsibilities, and requirements; it should not be construed as an exhaustive statement, however. Unless they begin with the word "may," the Essential Duties and Responsibilities described above are "essential functions" of the job, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Compensation and Benefits

Our employees are compensated from a total rewards perspective in many ways for their contributions to our mission, including competitive pay, exceptional health benefits, retirement plans, time off, and a range of recognition and wellness programs. Visit our site to learn more.

Compensation Range

$85,648.00 (minimum) - $107,060.00 (midpoint) - $139,178.00 (maximum)

Pay Type:


HHMI's salary structure is developed based on relevant job market data. HHMI considers a candidate's education, previous experiences, knowledge, skills and abilities, as well as internal equity when making job offers. Typically, a new hire for this position in this location is compensated between the minimum and the midpoint of the salary range.