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) on together.



Victoria Booth, Professor, Departments of Mathematics and Anesthesiology. 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 work toward developing a biomechanical model of C. elegans neuronal circuits underlying chemotaxis and learning in mazes.

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

Hongyi Xiao, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering. His research group aims to reveal the physics and mechanics behind disordered media with a focus on how they deform, using a combination of experiments, discrete particle simulations, as well as machine-learning informed modeling. He is also interested in how to better interact with these media in robotic locomotion. Together we explore C. elegans interactions with granular media.

Current students in the group~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Oliver Kozler, major in Biology. He is working on C. elegans maze learning, and is exploring how sensory enriched environments may delay the onset of aging-driven decline of cognitive-like functions in nematodes.

Noah Brooks, major in Mechanical Engineering. Noah is working on the second generation prototype of the hydrogel-extruding 3D-printer, the Menalon printer.

Silas Stewart, major in Biology. Silas is exposing C. elegans nematodes to reduced gravity conditions and he is studying the effects of microgravity on locomotion and nematodes’ overall morphology.

Kaisheng Li, Master’s student in Aerospace Engineering. Kaisheng is designing and prototyping a Random Positioning Machine (RPM) for artificial microgravity experiments on nematodes in the lab.

Haoyu Du, senior in Mathematics. Haoyu is exploring the C. elegans biomechanical model of locomotion, and she is emphasizing on the integration of proprioceptive feedback. Shared mentoring with Victoria Booth.

Kübra Akbaş, PhD student in Biomedical Engineering and Robotics, New Jersey Institute of Technology. Although Kübra is not a Wolverine, she is working on analyzing gait and motor performance indices in young and aged human subjects, in a way that will allow a direct comparison with the gait of aging nematodes.

Yishun (Daphne) Zhou, PhD student in BIRDS Lab, Electrical and Computer Engineering Dept (advisor: Shai Revzen). Yishun is working on a project we have with BIRDS lab, and she is analyzing nematodes gait and locomotion using a phase estimator, to predict behavioral changes.


Former 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.

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. Update: Carlotta has moved to Bari Politecnico, Bari, Italy.

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. Eleni’s 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 used a soft-lithography technique to build on-demand behavioral arenas for worms.

Former Students ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Post-graduate research assistants

Abrielle (Brie) Fretz, BSc in Biology, MSc 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 School.

Michael Ivanitskiy, BSc, 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:

Leen Sharba, BSc, major in Biology, Health and Society, and International Studies on Global Health. Leen is exploring the effect of microgravity on C. elegans touch sense, and she is preparing for the Medical track.

Graduate students

Ray Yang, Master’s student, Mechanical Engineering. Ray is working on the second generation prototype of the hydrogel-extruding 3D-printer, the Menalon printer.

Zhaoyuan (Vincent) Zhang, Master’s student, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science: 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Undergraduate Students

Zihan Zhou, major in Mechanical Engineering. Zihan built a GUI for running simulations of the C. elegans biomechanical model, and she explored the impact of key parameters on the behavior of the model worm. Shared mentoring with Victoria Booth.

Shuang Di Zhang, major in Biology. Shuang Di is running maze experiments to explore how long-lived mutants perform as they age, compared to wild type animals.

Lindsay Berardi, major in Biology. Lindsay is running maze experiments to explore whether nematodes grown in enriched environments retain their maze learning ability for longer in life.

Cameron Smith, major in Microbiology. Cameron is exposing C. elegans nematodes to reduced gravity conditions and he is studying the effects of microgravity on the egg laying pattern and brood size.

Jakub Kraus, 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.

Allison LaMonica, majoring in Biopshychology, Neuroscience and Cognition. She was running experiments on the C. elegans spatial learning project, emphasis on mutations that alter neurons’ physiology. She was a UROP Research Scholar and a recipient of an LSA Scholarship.

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!

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.

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

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. He also developed the Nematode Game! 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).

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)

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

High school volunteers

Yash Mehta, North Farmington High School, Farmington Hills, Michigan. Yash is running simulations of our in-progress C. elegans chemotaxis neuromechanical model and he is generating beautiful plots!

Tanisha Panchal, Troy High School, Troy, Michigan; Tanisha is interested in space technology and space biology. She is studying the literature on C. elegans learning so that she can design devices that allow for behavioral experiments in space conditions!

Audrey Wu, Huron High School, Ann Arbor, Michigan; 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!