Columbia University in the City of New York

Advanced Instrumentation

Inventing one-of-a-kind tools that spur new scientific experiments

Jackson Welles, an undergraduate student in Electrical Engineering at Columbia, builds a new tool in the Advanced Instrumentation lab (Credit: Bruce Gilbert).

The tools that drive scientific progress are often made from scratch, not bought off a shelf.

At the Advanced Instrumentation Group, we work closely with researchers to design, build and test commercially unavailable instruments, equipment and software. Our team includes experts that span electrical, mechanical, and optical engineering; we have created everything from a device that maps the steps of a fruit fly to new approaches to probing the brain without harming it. Our in-house facilities, available for researchers to use, include a machine and fabrication shop, a metrology and optics lab, and workshops for the design, development and testing that supports new products throughout their life cycles. We believe that engineers and life scientists must work closely together to bring to life next-generation solutions and answer fundamental questions about the brain.


Movement May 27, 2016

Tracing the Steps that Guide Movement

For Richard Mann, answers to some of biology’s biggest puzzles, such as how our brains direct our muscles to move, can be found in the tiniest of places.

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The Flywalker

A new device tracks the footsteps of fruit flies.



  • Tanya Tabachnik
  • Senior Director, Scientific Platforms, Shared Resources and Advanced Instrumentation
  • [email protected]
  • 212-853-0472