Notes to prospective trainees:

  • If you’re interested in the lab, definitely read through our lab manual. There’s a ton of info there on the general lab environment, policies, helpful background reading, etc.
  • Many, many people write about positions in the lab (especially PhD positions). I’m truly sorry I can’t reply to all of them. If I did, then I wouldn’t be doing my job furthering the careers of the trainees already in my lab. I’ll try my best. (That doesn’t mean “Don’t email me!”. Just please understand, don’t get discouraged, and feel free to write again if you don’t hear back.)
  • Postdocs: Exceptional postdoc candidates will always be considered.
  • PhD students: To join the lab, a student must first be accepted by one of the relevant PhD programs at Emory or Georgia Tech – typically Biomedical Engineering, Neuroscience, or Machine learning, but also Electrical Engineering or Bioengineering. It is not possible to join the lab until a student is first accepted to a graduate program. I encourage prospective students to submit their application to the program that offers the best fit. But if you are applying and are interested in our lab, it’s super-helpful to receive a head’s up email with your background, interests, CV, and which program(s) you’re applying to, so I can keep an eye out for your application!
  • Masters students: I generally do not hire Masters students into the lab. Masters are a really short, packed period, and it’s hard to justify the amount of training/onboarding that I and other lab members have to commit. If your background is really well-aligned with what we do in the lab, and you think you can commit a really substantial amount of time, let me know. Sometimes a special projects course for a semester may help evaluate if there’s potential for a productive, longer-term research experience.
  • Undergraduate students: We’ve had some great undergraduate students in the lab. Students can receive course credit, or receive funding (either through institutions or potentially lab funding). Projects range from more computer science/AI-heavy to more neuroscience/experiment-heavy. There’s room for people across this spectrum of technical expertise and backgrounds, but everyone in the lab has a genuine interest in neuroscience and neural engineering. Make sure you know the relevant deadlines for e.g. getting course credit, write to me well in advance, and stay on top of those deadlines.

More notes (esp. for PhD students):

  • Many applicants ask if there will be openings in the lab the following year. In my experience it’s been very hard to predict whether I’ll hire new students the following year- some years I thought I’d hire but didn’t; others I thought I wouldn’t hire, yet hired multiple people. It’s a combination of factors that are hard to predict: whether we’ll have new funding, whether I meet excellent students that are a good fit for our lab, and whether there are openings on projects that align with those students’ interests.
  • Grad school is complex, and choosing a great mentor is critical for your career. Do your homework! A helpful starting point is Ben Barres’s article, How to Pick a Graduate Advisor.
  • Here’s a page from the Shackman lab with great tips and resources on the grad school applications process.
  • Since I can’t accept students directly into the lab (they have to be accepted into one of the above programs first), the best course of action is to apply to the program that’s most appropriate for your background/interests. That being said, writing to me, and letting me know which program your applying to, does help me keep a lookout for your application during admissions season. (If you’re a good candidate, it’s always helpful to make the relevant faculty aware of your application: you never know who is on the admissions committee, and those people likely don’t have time to reach out to all relevant faculty to get their opinions on applications.)