The Brunton Lab is broadly interested at the intersection of brain, behavior, and data---how can we best leverage data-intensive approaches to help us make sense of our minds? We bridge the gap between experimental neuroscience data and computational modeling techniques. Projects in the lab span the space between methods development to data-driven modeling, using model organisms from invertebrates to rodents to primates, including humans.

A few particular research areas we are excited about:

  • Data-driven dynamic models of large-scale neural data.

  • Neural computations underlying long-term, naturalistic behavior.

  • Neural-inspired sparse sensing and control for biological and engineered systems.

Research Support

We gratefully acknowledge funding support for our research from:

  • Washington Research Foundation




  • NSF

  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

  • Burroughs-Wellcome Foundation 

  • The Boeing Company.

Recent News

January 01, 2020

Welcome new postdocs!

Happy new year! We have three new postdocs who have joined the lab: Ali Weber, Alice Schwarze, and Katie Stanchak. Come say hi to them on the third floor of LSB.

October 01, 2019

Welcome new graduate students!

Welcome to the 3 new graduate students who have joined the group! Come say hi to Michelle Hickner (Mech Eng), Ellie Strandquist (CS), and Zoe Steine-Hanson (CS).

January 01, 2020

Two new preprints

Read more from Kameron on Time-varying autoregression with low-rank tensors and from Seth on how Centering data improve DMD.

April 08, 2019

MURI awarded

Our team has received one of this year's Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grants awarded by the DOD/AFOSR to investigate neural-inspired sparse sensing and control for agile flight.


I'll be leading the team from UW and working with collaborators Steve Brunton (UW Mech Eng), Tom Daniel (UW Bio), Nathan Kutz (UW AMath), Sarah Bergbreiter (CMU Mech Eng), and Jon How (MIT Aero Astro). 

March 11, 2019

Full steam ahead.

Just got the official news: I've been promoted with tenure, effective Sept 2019.

November 30, 2019

Congratulations to Dr. Nancy X. R. Wang!

Nancy defended her thesis on "Brains in the wild!" The lab celebrated with hot pot and karaoke. Dr. Wang is headed off to start a position at IBM Research.

October 19, 2018

Lab moved to new Life Sciences Building, and welcome Steve Peterson!

A warm welcome to Steve Peterson, who started as a new postdoc this week, just in time to miss all the responsibility of moving the lab and enjoy the brand-new building! Come say hi to meet Steve and to check out the new space.

September 14, 2018

Check out our new paper in PNAS (with Thomas Mohren, Tom Daniel, and Steve Brunton)

Winged insects perform remarkable aerial feats in uncertain, complex fluid environments. This ability is enabled by sensation of mechanical forces to inform rapid corrections in body orientation. Curiously, mechanoreceptor neurons do not faithfully report forces; instead, they are activated by specific time histories of forcing. We find that, far from being a bug, neural encoding by biological sensors is a feature that acts as built-in temporal filtering superbly matched to detect body rotation. Indeed, this encoding further enables surprisingly efficient detection using only a small handful of neurons at key locations. Nature suggests smart data as an alternative strategy to big data, and neural-inspired sensors establish a paradigm in hyperefficient sensing of complex systems.

April 04, 2018

Aaron Garcia receives the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!

This award is in addition to his UWIN graduate fellowship in Neuroengineering, as well as receiving of the computational neuroscience training grant. Congratulations, Aaron!

March 26, 2018

Two new graduate students have joined lab.

They are Daniel Zdeblick and Satpreet Singh, both first-year PhD students in Electrical Engineering. Welcome!

February 09, 2018

AJILE paper and dataset published

Nancy presented her paper on AJILE at the AAAI conference, and the dataset is now published.

See also her video abstract on YouTube.

Also, in the same month, her baby daughter was born. Congratulations, Nancy, we can't wait to meet her!

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