Graduate Research Opportunities

Faculty with graduate research openings:

Laura Cabrera

Associate Professor and Dorothy Foehr Huck and J. Lloyd Huck Career Chair in Neuroethics

With affiliations with the Penn State Center for Neural Engineering, the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, the Rock Ethics Institute, and the Huck Institutes for the Life Sciences, Laura Cabrera seeks applicants for research assistant positions from incoming and current Penn State graduate students to contribute to research examining the ethical and social implications of neurotechnologies. These are 12-month positions with possible renewal and are to start on August 15, 2022.

Work Responsibilities: The graduate student will receive guidance from and report directly to Dr. Cabrera. The graduate student responsibilities cover two areas:

  • Research:
    • Assisting with literature reviews, analyzing data, interpreting results, and communicating findings via conference presentations and written manuscripts related to ethical and social implications of neurotechnologies.
  • Administration:
    • Organizing and facilitating lab meetings, including creating agendas and preparing materials;
    • Completing and maintaining all Institutional Review Board (IRB) procedures to ensure compliance with human subjects research regulations (if applicable).

Required Qualifications:

  • An undergraduate degree in a relevant field (bioethics/neuroethics, engineering, neuroscience, social science)
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Strong scholarly interests in ethical, legal, social and cultural implications of neurotechnologies

Desired Qualifications:

  • Strong interest in and/or prior experience with interdisciplinary collaboration
  • Very good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Publication and scientific communication experience
  • Organization skills and proficient time management
  • Ability to work independently with a high level of motivation

To Apply: Interested applicants should submit their application to with a CV and a cover letter. Only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

Nikki Crowley

Assistant Professor of Biology and Biomedical Engineering

The Crowley Lab is looking for graduate students interested in neuropeptide signaling in discrete neuronal cell types and circuits within the brain. The lab utilizes ex vivo and in vivo electrophysiology combined with circuit-specific manipulations and behavioral assessments to understand how neuropeptidergic signaling contributes to mood disorders. More information is available on our website. Please contact Dr. Crowley if interested (

Patrick Drew

Associate Director of the Neuroscience Institute
Huck Distinguished Associate Professor of Neural Engineering and Neurosurgery

The Drew Lab has openings for graduate researchers on projects investigating neurovascular coupling, brain mechanics, and cerebrospinal fluid dynamics. We use a variety of techniques (2-photon microscopy, intrinsic optical imaging, fiber photometry, electrophysiology, behavioral monitoring and computational modeling) to investigate these areas. Interested students should contact Patrick Drew at

Jian Yang

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

The Yang Laboratory aims to uncover the underexplored epigenetic and biomechanical roles of folate (Vitamin B9) for neuronal morphogenesis and develop novel epigenetically stimulating, biodegradable, elastic, and multichannel nerve guidance conduits for the repair of critically sized peripheral nerve defects.

  • Skills/tasks: Biomaterials, molecular biology, small animal studies, neurophysiology
  • Faculty: Dr. Jian Yang (lead), Dr. Francesco Costanzo and Dr. Sulin Zhang (collaborating)
  • Level: Ph.D. or Postdoctoral
  • Applicable graduate programs: Biomedical Engineering
  • Contact: | 814-865-1278

contact us


The Penn State Center for Neural Engineering is a large, interdisciplinary research group that brings together neural engineering-focused researchers from the Penn State College of Engineering, the College of Medicine, the Materials Research Institute, and the Eberly College of Science. Chartered in June 2007, the center occupies 22,000 square feet of space in the Millennium Science Complex.

Center for Neural Engineering

Millennium Science Complex

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802