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Bing Wen Brunton
Principal Investigator

Ph.D. in Molecular Biology & Neuroscience, Princeton University, 2012

B.S. in Biology, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), 2006

Postdoctoral Researchers

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Tanvi Deora, Ph.D.

HFSP Postdoctoral Fellow

UW Data Science Postdoctoral Fellow

Tanvi is co-advised with Tom Daniel. She studies the role of touch in plant pollinator interactions. Moths and butterflies use a long straw-like mouthpart, the proboscis to actively explore the flowers and extract tactile information from it. Moreover, proboscis is a flexible structure and its mechanics is actively tuned as the insect is sensing. Using tools of behavioral analysis and neurophysiology, Tanvi wants to understand the sensory processing and biomechanics underlying the fundamental percept of touch. 

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Chris Dallmann, Ph.D.

Sackler Scholar in Biophysics

Chris is a postdoc co-advised with John Tuthill. He tries to better understand how the nervous system controls movement. He is currently studying how populations of motor neurons drive natural leg movements in walking fruit flies. He uses genetic tools and optical imaging to measure neural activity, markerless tracking to measure behavior, and dimensionality reduction techniques to understand the link between the two.
 

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Ali Weber, Ph.D.

Washington Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow
UW Data Science Postdoctoral Fellow

Ph.D., University of Washington, Neuroscience
B.A., University of Chicago, Biological Sciences


Ali
is a postdoc co-advised with Tom Daniel. She is studying how organisms make efficient use of limited information to perform complex tasks. Taking the hawkmoth as a model system, she investigates how information from a small number of mechanoreceptors on the wings are used in flight control. She employs a combination of experimental and computational techniques to study how these sensors respond during flight and how one might optimally array a set of these sensors to best provide feedback during flight.

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Alice Schwarze, D.Phil.

UW Data Science Postdoctoral Fellow

DPhil (Ph.D.), University of Oxford, Mathematics
M.S., Technische Universität at Berlin, Theoretical Physics
B.S., Technische Universität Berlin, Physics

Alice is a postdoctoral scholar and a Univeristy of Washington data science postdoctoral fellow. She received a DPhil in Mathematics from the University of Oxford for research advised by Mason Porter on entropy and robustness of dynamics on networks. Her research interests include mathematical modelling of dynamical processes on networks and applications in neuroscience, computational biology, and complex systems.

 

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Katie Stanchak, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Ph.D., University of Washington, Biology
B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mechanical Engineering 

Katie is a postdoc co-advised with David Perkel. She is an evolutionary biologist primarily interested in how anatomical novelty influences the evolution of animal locomotion. Her doctoral project in the lab of Sharlene Santana at UW focused on a unique skeletal element in the bat hindlimb wing membrane. Currently, she is trying to understand the exceptional lumbosacral spinal cord of birds, which may act as a mechanosensory structure that helps birds balance. She is also working with a team to study the evolution of distributed sensor placement on insect wings and the implications of sensor placement on sensing ability for different wing morphologies.

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Urban Fasel, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Ph.D., ETH Zurich, Mechanical Engineering

B.S., ETH Zurich, Mechanical Engineering

Urban is a postdoc co-advised with Steve Brunton and Nathan Kutz. His research interests range from adaptive structures and composite additive manufacturing to intelligent flight systems and data-driven modeling and control. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at ETH Zurich, developing numerical optimization and control methods for morphing wings applied to Airborne Wind Energy. At UW, his research efforts are focused on advancing the fundamental understanding of intelligent flight, and on developing data-driven methods for modeling and control of fluid flows and flexible structures.

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Affiliated Researchers

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George Plummer, M.D.

Neurology Resident

A.B., Harvard College, Neurobiology

M.D., Tufts University

George is interested in data driven models to analyze clinical EEGs to understand the brain and deliver better patient care.

Graduate Students

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Aaron Garcia

Ph.D. student in Neuroscience
UWIN Neuroengineering Grad Fellow
NSF Grad Fellow

B.A., Boston University, Neuroscience
 

Aaron is co-advised with Beth Buffalo. His primary research interests revolve around trying to better understand the neural correlates of learning and memory in monkeys. He is currently applying dimensionality reduction techniques to high-density local field potential data recorded from the hippocampus of monkeys playing video games. The goal is to reduce the complexity of the data and try to deduce task-relevant oscillatory activity. When he's not being MATLAB's slave, he is likely either playing a fighting game, on a boat/hiking, or at one of the many awesome breweries in Seattle.

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Pierre Karashchuk

Ph.D. student in Neuroscience
NSF Grad Fellow

B.A., University of California, Berkeley, Statistics and Computer Science

Pierre is a graduate student co-advised with John Tuthill. He aims to deconstruct the contributions of proprioception within walking at a computational level, by studying how flies react when their proprioceptive neurons are perturbed. In his work, he uses 3D tracking and muscle imaging. He has written the Anipose 3D tracking toolkit and continues to develop it. Outside the lab, Pierre likes exploring all the wonderful parks around Seattle or participating in Synaptech, a student club exploring neurotechnology.

 

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Michelle Hickner

Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering

M.S., University of Washington, Applied Mathematics
B.A., Oberlin College, Physics

Michelle is co-advised with Steve Brunton. Her current research is on sparse sensor placement for control and categorization in biological and engineered systems. She is interested in bio-inspired mathematical methods.


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Ellie Strandquist

Ph.D. student in Computer Science & Engineering

NSF Grad Fellow

B.S., Virginia Commonwealth University, Computer Science
 
Gabrielle (Ellie) is co-advised with Rajesh Rao studying electrocorticography (ECoG) recordings of natural behaviors. She received her B.S. in Computer Science while researching deep neural networks to solve bioinformatics problems. She enjoys studying multiple disciplines to further her research, and is currently employing techniques from machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) to analyze speech and neural processes. Outside of the lab she can be found traveling, tango dancing or making pastries. 

 

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Zoe Steine-Hanson

Ph.D. student in Computer Science & Engineering

NSF Grad Fellow

H.B.S., Oregon State University, Computer Science
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Zoe is co-advised with Rajesh Rao. She came to Seattle to work in the fascinating intersection between Neuroscience and Machine Learning. Her research interests broadly cover Machine Learning, Cognitive Science and Neuroscience. In her undergrad, she was involved with research on how gender biases manifest in software interfaces and how to fix these biases.


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Biraj Pandey

Ph.D. student in Applied Mathematics

NSF Grad Fellow

B.S., University of Texas at Austin, Mathematics
B.S., University of Texas at Austin, Neuroscience

Biraj is a graduate student in the Applied Mathematics department broadly interested at the intersection of theoretical neuroscience and machine learning. He is co-advised by Kameron Decker Harris. Currently, he is using frameworks from statistical learning to model and make inferences about randomly connected sparse neural systems in insect model organisms. During his undergraduate years, he used manifold learning methods and dynamical systems theory to visualize and verify the theoretically predicted ring attractor present in the mammalian head direction system. In his free time, he loves making delectable dishes in the kitchen, bumping hip-hop music, and hiking difficult trails.

 

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Max Gray

Ph.D. student in Computer Science & Engineering

B.S., University of Texas at Austin, Computer Science​ 

 

Max is broadly interested in understanding behavior quantitatively. He is currently working on two projects. One project is a theoretical study that aims to generate hypotheses about the function of an ill-understood organ in many bird species’ spinal cord. The second project is a control-theoretic approach to understanding the neural mechanisms behind behavioral changes observed in mice after varying periods of social isolation. This interest also leads him to read widely to try and understand the role of these scientific discourses in our understanding of humans, and the ethics of producing this knowledge with engineering tools and terminology.
 

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Raveena Chhibber

Ph.D. student in Neuroscience

NSF Grad Fellow

Raveena is a rotating graduate student co-advised by John Tuthill interested in motor control and Machine Learning. Before grad school, she used information-theoretic methods to understand the timescale of motor sequencing in songbirds.

Undergraduate and
High School Students

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Zeynep Toprakbasti


Zeynep is an Honors computer science student at the University of Washington, expecting to graduate by 2023. Zeynep is fascinated by the intersection between CS and brain sciences. Outside of her studies, she is an artist and an activist!

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Abna Moalin

 

Abna is a Biology student at Highline College expected to graduate in 2022 and transfer to a 4 year university. Abna is fascinated by the complexity of the nervous system and wants to help advance the treatment of neurological diseases. Outside of her studies she is a big reader and baker!

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Vanshika Balaji

 

Vanshika is a High School senior interested in computer science, neurology, and robotics.

Alumni

Postdocs:

Kameron Decker Harris, Ph.D. (next position: Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Western Washington University)

Aditya G. Nair, Ph.D. (next position: Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Nevada Reno)

Steven Peterson, Ph.D. (next position: Facebook)

Students:

Nancy X. R. Wang, Ph.D. in CSE, 2018  (next position: IBM Research)

Nate Linden (next position: Ph.D. student at UCSD Mechanical Eng.)

Seth Hirsh, Ph.D. in Physics, 2020 (next position: Lyft)

Sara Ichinaga (next position: Ph.D. student at UW Applied Math)

Satpreet Singh, Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, 2021

Prospective Grad Students

Students interested in joining the lab for graduate studies should submit applications for admission through one of the following University of Washington Ph.D. graduate programs:

  1. Biology

  2. Neuroscience

  3. Computer Science & Engineering

  4. Applied Mathematics

Postdoc Researcher Positions

We are actively recruiting talented new postdocs to join the group! If you are excited about doing research in big data, applied mathematics, machine learning, and neuroscience, email Bing (please include a copy of your CV).