Graduate Students


If you are passionate about investigating the neural circuits underlying motivated behavior and reward, I encourage you to contact me to discuss a rotation in my lab.  Under Cornell’s uniquely flexible graduate study system, graduate students can work with essentially any advisor in any department, as long as your advisor is a member of your field.  We are currently looking for students from a variety of academic backgrounds, including neuroscience, engineering, psychology, molecular biology, physics, and mathematics.


If you are not a current graduate student and are interested in working with me, the most direct way would be to apply to the Neurobiology and Behavior graduate field. I am also a member of Cornell's Biomedical Engineering, Biomedical & Biological Sciences, and Psychology graduate fields. Please contact me if you would like to discuss our graduate program or the research in my lab.




Postdoctoral Fellows


We are seeking exceptional postdoctoral fellows to join a creative and multidisciplinary team of researchers, led by Dr. Melissa Warden, in the department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University.  The broad goal of our research program is to understand the neural circuits underlying motivated behavior in the mammalian brain.  We study these neural circuits with an observational and causal approach, combining monitoring and decoding of neural activity with control of defined circuit elements, and utilize an array of techniques including optogenetics, imaging, high-density freely moving neurophysiology, patch clamp electrophysiology, behavior, and computation.


Ideal candidates will have a background in neuroscience, physics, engineering, computer science, biology, or psychology, and an interest in neural circuits, brain states, neuromodulation, or motivated behavior. Previous experience with imaging, electrophysiology, behavior, or data analysis would be helpful but are not required.


Cornell has a vibrant neuroscience community spanning a wide range of departments and institutes, including Neurobiology and Behavior, Applied and Engineering Physics, Biomedical Engineering, Psychology, Mathematics, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Biomedical & Biological Sciences, an environment which provides a unique opportunity to bring the latest technological innovations to bear on fundamental problems in neuroscience.  Cornell is located in Ithaca, New York, an intellectually and culturally rich city in the heart of the Finger Lakes.


Interested candidates should send a research statement, a curriculum vitae with publications, and the contact information for three references to Dr. Melissa Warden (mrwarden [at]  Informal inquiries are welcome.


Melissa R. Warden, Ph.D.

Department of Neurobiology and Behavior

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY 14853

mrwarden [at]