Malcolm is a director of the Neuroscience and Robotics Laboratory at Northwestern University, where he is Professor with joint appointments between Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, and an additional appointment in the Department of Neurobiology (courtesy).
His work focuses on extracting key mechanistic principles underlying complex animal behavior, focusing on interactions between biomechanics, neuronal processing, and sensory system properties while animals are actively acquiring information during natural behaviors. He then incorporates these mechanisms into advanced biorobotic systems, or large scale simulations on computing clusters, for synergy between technological and scientific advances.
For this work he received the 2009 Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering from President Obama at the White House. MacIver has also developed interactive science-inspired art installations that have exhibited internationally, and frequently consults for science fiction film and TV series makers.