People

Here are my most important collaborators, students, and people involved in current and past research projects, since 2012. A very brief description follows their name, although it is too short to tell how wonderful they are! In the Research section you can find out more about the projects we work(ed) together on.

Current

Collaborators

Ao-Lin Allen Hsu, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular & Integrative Physiology at the University of Michigan Medical School. His laboratory works on the regulation of longevity by heat-shock transcription factor, the effect of dietary restriction on the rate of aging, and the development of drugs that affect the rate of aging. We collaborate on C. elegans learning and decision making in mazes, and we study how aging affects this behavior.

Victoria Booth, Professor, Departments of Mathematics and Anesthesiology, University of Michigan. Her research in mathematical and computational neuroscience focuses on constructing and analyzing biophysical models of neurons and neuronal networks in order to quantitatively probe experimental hypotheses and provide experimentally-testable predictions. Together we are working toward developing a mathematical model of C. elegans neuronal circuits underlying chemotaxis and learning in mazes.

Carlotta Mummolo, Assistant Professor, BioMedical Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology. She is the director of the Coppélia Research Lab, which studies the principles of bipedal locomotion and balance stability, with applications in motor rehabilitation. Our teams joined forces in early 2020, and we are looking for novel and multidisciplinary motor and cognitive performance indexes (biomarkers) that decline with aging, across species.

Shai Revzen, head of the BIRDS lab, is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in the College of Engineering, and holds a courtesy faculty appointment in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts. Under his supervision, the lab combines work in three disciplines: robotics, mathematics, and biology. Shai is interested in animal locomotion dynamics, so we are exploring ways to decipher C. elegans locomotion traits with regard to learning.

Post-graduate research assistants

Abrielle (Brie) Fretz, BS in Biology, MS in Physiology. Brie is testing aging C. elegans in mazes, and she is exploring the behavior of worms that carry mutations related to degenerative diseases. In addition, she is preparing for the Medical track.

Michael Ivanitskiy, 2020 graduate, major in Mathematics. Michael is working on the computational model of spatial learning in C. elegans, including the implementation of reward-modulated plasticity. Michael is interested in the intersection between computational neuroscience and machine learning. GitHub: https://github.com/mivanit

Graduate students

Shurjo Banerjee, PhD student, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Dept. Shurjo is a PhD student with Jason Corso at EECS, and is using data analytics and computer vision to process worm maze video recordings and help us extract valuable information on the worms’ locomotion features.

Brian Bittner, PhD student, Robotics Institute and Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Dept. Brian’s research is on bio-inspired robotics, and along with his advisor, Shai Revzen, at U-M EECS Dept, are interested in deciphering the locomotion and gait of various animals, including worms! With Brian and Shai we are exploring ways to study learning in C. elegans, expressed in locomotion changes. Update: Brian graduated in December 2020! He will continue his research endeavors in Johns Hopkins, Baltimore. Congratulations, Brian!

Maria Schiavone, Master’s student, Mechanical Engineering Dept. Maria is recording C. elegans locomotion to discover changes in motion features, related to aging and genetic background. She is also working on the dynamics of C. elegans locomotion.

Srinivasa Cheekati, M.S.E, Electrical Engineering, Optics and Photonics Focus: Srin is working on developing a custom 3D-imaging system with mirrors and lenses, which will allow for 3dimensional imaging of C. elegans traveling in mazes.

Undergraduate Students

Zhaoyuan (Vincent) Zhang, senior, EECS Dept: Vincent is working on methods to analyze C. elegans locomotion, based on open source tracking algorithms. He is looking for ways to quantify target locomotion features, which can be used as aging biomarkers.

Jakub Kraus, junior, major in Mathematics and Data Science. Jakub is using open source worm tracking software to extract motion data from videos of C. elegans. He is also writing code to organize the data into an hdf5 file format and make the data accessible for computations.

Jiwen Chen, ME; Manali Desai, BSI and Arts&Design; Richard Wall, ME: Multidisciplinary group, working on our ArtsEngine project “LuCelegans: a 3-dimensional, interactive prototype of C. elegans connectome”, 2019-today. Former members: Melinda Li, ME; Fee Cristoph, Arts&Design & CSE; Amanda Taylor, Arts&Design and Socio-Anthropology. More details on the fascinating LuCelegans project here!

Allison LaMonica, sophomore in Neuroscience and Psychology. She is running experiments on the C. elegans spatial learning project, emphasis on mutations that alter neurons’ physiology. She is a UROP Research Scholar.

Emily Branch, junior in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, major in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience, minor in Spanish. She is running experiments on the C. elegans spatial learning project, and she is also working on exploring analogous expressions of aging across different species.

Hongru Lu, senior in Computer Science Engineering, EECS. Hongru is working on a G-code parser for our Tayget 2.0 3D printer, which is customized to print with hydrogel. He is also improving the heat control and extrusion process of Tayget 2.0, and he is testing the printing efficacy of various designs.

High school volunteers

Audrey Wu, Huron High School, Ann Arbor; Audrey is getting familiar with microscopy techniques and C. elegans biology, and she has been working in the lab since January 2019. She is an enthusiastic C. elegans fan. Currently she is exposing her worms to short … earthquakes and heat shock!

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Former Collaborators

Bogdan Epureanu, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan. We worked together on the dynamics of a wide range of non-linear biological systems, spanning neurons to worms to yeast populations.

Nikos Chronis, Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering, UoM. Nikos was my postdoc advisor, we worked together on using microfluidics to study how oxidative tress and aging affects calcium transients in one of C. elegans’ major sensory neurons.

A. John Hart, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, MIT. In collaboration with John’s lab, back when he was still at Michigan, we have used a soft-lithography technique to build on-demand behavioral arenas for worms.

Former collaborating post-doctoral researchers

Lai Yu Leo Tse, postdoctoral scholar at the Barton Lab, ME Dept.  Leo has offered his technical assistance on building a customized 3D-printer, for our 3D-printed worm behavioral arenas project.

Former Students

Bennet Sakelaris, senior, Major in Mathematics, Minor in Computer Science, and in Business (Ross Business School). Bennet built a mathematical model for C. elegans chemotaxis and locomotion neuronal circuits, and their involvement in maze learning. Update: Bennet graduated in May 2019. Congrats, Bennet! He continued with us as an independent researcher. Update #2: Bennet is joining Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, to pursue a PhD degree in Applied Mathematics (starting in Fall 2020).

Zi Jun (Justin) Yuan, senior majoring in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science: Justin enjoys research that involves designing and implementing innovative solutions to solve challenging problems. He worked on developing the Tayget 2.0 3D printer, and he meticulously explored NGM (hydrogel) properties.

Eric Chandler, 3rd year electrical engineering major (EECS). Eric is interested in radios and analog circuits. He also has a lot of building and machining skills, and he worked on the development of Tayget 2.0 3D printer.

Zongyu Li, Master’s student in EECS Department. Zongyu developed a custom tracking algorithm for worms that traverse mazes, and he managed to tackle a lot of unique challenges.

Jiawei Sun, Master’s student in EECS Department. Jiawei helped with building a custom tracking algorithm for worms that traverse mazes.

Steel Cardoza, senior, Materials Science and Engineering Dept, Honors Program. Steel used 3D printing technology to improve our maze mold design and to build a real 3D maze playground for worms. Steel was a UROP* student for 2017-2018, and then he continued as an independent research assistant. (2017-2019) Update: Steel graduated in December 2019. He will come back to UoM in Fall 2020 to earn a Master’s degree.

Jaimee Moline, freshman majoring in Biomedical Engineering. She worked on analyzing video recordings of worms traversing mazes, to help us decipher C. elegans’ spatial learning. (2019-2020)

Abdul Hasib, junior, ME Dept. Abdul was a RISE student (Research, Innovation, Service and Entrepreneurship program for ME undergraduate students). He built a 3D rotary base for 3dimensinal observation of samples under the scope. (2019)

Anne Goettemoeller, senior, Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology Dept, Neuroscience Honors Program. Annie was studying the time-frame of memory retention in worms, and how dietary restriction is affecting their learning ability. (2016-2019) Update: Anne is a PhD candidate in Emory University,  Atlanta, Georgia.

Hijiri Woodberry, sophomore, Biomedical Engineering Dept. Hijiri was testing the effect of different training patterns on C. elegans‘ learning ability. Hijiri was a UROP* student for 2017-2018, and a UROP* Research Scholar  for 2018-2019.

Himaja Motheram, freshman, Computer Science Major. She was a UROP* student and she worked on the C. elegans maze project. (2017-2018)

Vikas Dhiman, PhD student, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Dept. Vikas and Shurjo, both PhD students with Jason Corso at EECS, have usied data analytics and machine learning to process worm maze video recordings and help us extract valuable information on the worms’ locomotion features. Update: Vikas graduated in December 2018. He is now a post doctoral researcher at UC San Diego.

Drew Clayborn, graduated from UoM with a bachelor on Mathematical Biology and plans to apply to the Bioinformatics Master’s Program. Drew has worked on a mathematical model for C. elegans chemotaxis and locomotion machinery. Update: Drew paused his research activities in January 2019, to focus on his applications for grad school and on his physiotherapy efforts. For more inspiring details on Drew’s unique story, check out his blog. (2018)

Amin Ghadami, PhD student at the Epureanu Group, Mechanical Engineering Dept. Our collaboration was about forecasting bifurcations in microbial populations, by combining experiments and mathematical models. (2016-2019) Update: Amin graduated in 2019. He continues as a postdoctoral researcher in Epureanu group, ME, UoM.

Rahul Hingorani, senior, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Dept. Rahul is working on developing algorithms to label fluorescent worm populations. (2017-2018) Update: Rahul graduated in May 2018 and is a Master’s student in UoM-EECS.

Ehsan Mirzakhalili, PhD student at the Epureanu Group, Mechanical Engineering Dept, University of Michigan. We worked together on modeling the dynamics of calcium transients in C. elegans neurons, and the dynamics of impaired neuronal networks. (2014-2018) Update: Ehsan is currently a post doc in Scott Lempka‘s lab, Biomedical Engineering Dept, UoM.

Yang Zhang, senior, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Dept, UoM. Yang has been exposing worms to magnetic field. Yang was a SURE** student for one semester, and then continued to work with us independently. (2016-2017) Update: Yang is now a Master’s student at the Robotics System Development, Carnegie Mellon University.

Kavya Adiga, senior, Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology Dept, UoM. Kavya has worked on C. elegans ability to learn under conflicting environmental cues. (2015-2017) Update: Kavya is a PhD candidate in UC Berkeley, California.

*UROP: Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, University of Michigan.

**SURE: Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering, University of Michigan.