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Embedded Systems Engineer I – Allen Institute for Neural Dynamics

Department: Neural Dynamics - Engineering

Embedded Systems Engineer I – Allen Institute for Neural Dynamics

Our mission at the Allen Institute is to advance our understanding of how the brain works in health and disease. Using a team science approach, we strive to uncover the neural basis of behavior through technological innovation, cutting-edge experiments, modeling, and theory.

The mission of the Allen Institute for Neural Dynamics is focused on fundamental discoveries in systems neuroscience. We are interested in how the brain builds our understanding of the complex world to guide the flexible behaviors that address our biological needs. The answers will be in terms of defined neuron types and circuits interacting across the whole brain and body. We will develop next-generation methods and theories and employ a team-based approach for discovery neuroscience. Knowledge, data, models and tools will be widely shared, in part to support the development of therapies for brain disorders.

We are seeking an embedded systems engineer to address challenges related to data acquisition, behavioral control, and automation in our experiments. The embedded systems engineer will interface closely with scientists and other engineers to design, implement, and maintain the hardware, software, and firmware comprising these systems. The ideal candidate will be versatile across multiple disciplines, diligent about documentation and reproducibility, agile, and collaborative.

The Allen Institute believes that team science significantly benefits from the participation of diverse voices, experiences, and backgrounds. Progress in science benefits from multiple perspectives. We are committed to increasing diversity across every team and encourage people from all backgrounds to apply for this role.

Essential Functions

  • Design and manufacture data acquisition and control electronics for use in electrophysiology, optophysiology, and molecular anatomy experiments
  • Develop firmware for microcontroller boards: bare-metal, RTOS, and bootloaders for AVR and ARM architectures
  • Develop drivers and control software for interfacing with hardware
  • Build and maintain multiple implementations of these systems across various experiments and configurations
  • Work with scientists and engineers to determine design specifications
  • Work with PCB fabrication and assembly services to streamline the manufacture of these systems at scale (design-for-manufacture)
  • Collaborate as part of an agile engineering team working to support instrumentation at Allen Institute for Neural Dynamics

Required Education and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, computer science, or computer engineering or equivalent combination of degree and experience
  • Experience with PCB design: schematic capture, layout, and manufacturing
  • Experience with firmware development in C/C++
  • Experience with digital protocols like SPI, I2C, UART, USB, DMA
  • Experience with analog design principles: amplification, filtering, isolation

Preferred Education and Experience

  • Advanced Degree in electrical engineering, computer science, computer engineering or a related field
  • 1+ years of professional experience designing embedded systems
  • Fluency with open-source tools (Linux, KiCad, GNU ARM/AVR toolchain, Makefiles, Git, etc)
  • Interest in reproducible, open science
  • Proficiency with data analysis software (preferably Python)
  • Familiarity with agile, team-based engineering methodologies
  • Excellent documentation and communication skills

Work Environment

  • Frequently required to sit, stand, walk, stoop, kneel, or reach
  • Laboratory environment - possible exposure to chemical, biological, or other hazardous substances. This may include wearing personnel protective equipment (PPE)

Physical Demands

  • Fine motor movements in fingers/hands to operate computers and other office equipment; repetitive motion with lab equipment
  • Stooping, bending, crouching
  • Reaching, or climbing ladders

Position Type/Expected Hours of Work

  • Occasional evening and weekend hours required
  • This role is currently working onsite and remotely when possible, due to COVID-19 and our focus on employee safety. We continue to evaluate the safest options for our employees.

Additional Comments

  • **Please note, this opportunity offers relocation assistance**
  • **Please note, this opportunity offers work visa sponsorship**

It is the policy of the Allen Institute to provide equal employment opportunity (EEO) to all persons regardless of age, color, national origin, citizenship status, physical or mental disability, race, religion, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, genetic information, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. In addition, the Allen Institute will provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities.





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