Moto-IGERT

IGERT Trainees: 2012-13

Current Trainees

  • Chris Bresee

    Chris Bresee photo
    Northwestern University

    Interdepartmental Neuroscience program
    Advisor: Mitra Hartmann

    Research: Chris is interested in active sensation, and particularly in how different sensorimotor contingencies shape spatial perception. Currently he is using the rat vibrissal system as a model to investigate the relationship between whisk kinetics and timing, and cortical activity. Chris is particularly interested in behavioral and neurobiological approaches to these questions.

  • Kyler Brown

    Kyler Brown photo
    The University of Chicago

    Committee on Computational Neuroscience
    Advisor: Daniel Margoliash

    Research: Kyler is interested in the acquisition and control of motor sequences. He uses zebra finch song behavior, biophysical models of song production, and neurophysiology to explore the neural basis of vocal behavior.

  • Brendan Chambers

    Brendan Chambers photo
    The University of Chicago

    Committee on Computational Neuroscience
    Advisor: Jason MacLean

    Research: Brendan will be examining microcircuit properties of motor cortex using whole-cell recording and two-photon imaging in mouse slices loaded with a calcium sensitive fluorescent dye.

  • Bradley Lawrence

    Bradley Lawrence photo
    Northwestern University

    Department of Neurobiology and Physiology
    Advisors: David McLean and Malcolm MacIver

    Research: Brad is interested in the ontogeny of sensory and motor systems and how these systems integrate during early development. He uses larval zebrafish prey capture as a behavioral model, examining developmental changes in behavior, neural circuit morphology, and neuronal activity.

  • Aaron Olsen

    Aaron Olsen photo
    The University of Chicago

    Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy
    Advisor: Mark Westneat

    Research: Aaron is studying the evolution of the cranial form and function in birds. He is testing whether the shapes of the mobile skeletal elements in bird skulls are related biomechanically to beak form and function in order to better understand how musculoskeletal systems evolve and function.

  • Namrata Patel

    Namrata Patel photo
    Northwestern University

    Department of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics
    Advisor: Neelesh Patankar

    Research: By integrating her backgrounds in applied mathematics and biomedical engineering, Namu is analyzing neuromuscular feedback in vertebrate. Her research currently requires her to employ immersed boundary techniques and other numerical methods to study the movement (generated by muscle contractions) of fish.

  • Alexander Rajan

    Alexander Rajan photo
    The University of Chicago

    Committee on Computational Neuroscience
    Advisor: Nicho Hatsopoulos

    Research: Alexander is interested in sensorimotor integration during naturalistic behaviors. In particular, he is investigating the communication between motor and sensory areas in the neocortex of primates during grasping.

  • Gregg Tabot

    Gregg Tabot photo
    The University of Chicago

    Committee on Computational Neuroscience
    Advisor: Sliman Bensmaia

    Gregg is interested in characteristics and functions of neurons in somatosensory cortex regarding proprioception in the hand. He is achieving this by using markers attached to the hand, the arm, and finger joints along with cameras which track three-dimensional positioning and is relating them to neural signals recorded from the brain.

  • Mukta Vaidya

    Mukta Vaidya photo
    The University of Chicago

    Committee on Computational Neuroscience
    Advisor: Nicho Hatsopoulos

    Mukta is interested in the representation and coordination of naturalistic movement in motor and premotor cortex, and using such encoding models to guide models for decoding movement information from neural signals. She is currently looking coordination of movement during reaching and grasping behavior.

  • Sarah Wohlman

    Sarah Wohlman photo
    Northwestern University

    Department of Biomedical Engineering
    Advisor: Wendy Murray

    Research: I am interested in the study of human movement through the development of biomechanical models that can accurately predict human function. Specifically I am working to develop a biomechanical model of the hand in order to quantify factors fundamental to creating movement, such as muscle activation patterns and the resulting distribution of muscle forces.

IGERT Associate

  • Justin Lieber

    Justin Lieber photo
    The University of Chicago

    Committee on Computational Neuroscience
    Advisor: Sliman Bensmaia

    Research: Mechanoreceptors of the primate hand transform stress and strain in the skin into neural signals. Justin is interested in how these signals encode information about object texture and how these codes change as information moves through the central nervous system.

Former Trainees

  • Heather King

    Heather King photo
    The University of Chicago - Graduated August 2012

    Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy
    Advisor: Melina Hale

    Research: Heather is interested in the evolution of pedestrian locomotion in aquatic vertebrates. She studies lungfish and other fish that have pelvic fins capable of propelling the animal along the bottom, and is interested in viewing the pelvic fins in these groups as biomechanical systems to determine what strategies they have in common and how they differ. She hopes to understand constraints on evolving this behavior, and potentially compare these animals to other animals to better understand how pedestrian locomotion has arisen in a wide variety of taxa.

  • Justin Lemberg

    Justin Lemberg photo
    The University of Chicago

    Department of Organismal Biology & Anatomy
    Advisors: Callum Ross and Neil Shubin

    Research: Justin is interested in questions of feeding biomechanics in early tetrapods and extant analogs. Presently, he is studying the cranial and mandibular sutures of Tiktaalik roseae, a Devonian sarcopterygian that predates the water-to-land transition but also shows many preadaptations for terrestriality. One question of interest concerns the functional constraints of aquatic feeding, and how that feeding regime compares to a terrestrial feeding regime.

  • Joanna Mandecki

    Joanna Mandecki photo
    The University of Chicago

    Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy
    Advisor: Mark Westneat

    Research: Joanna is interested in vertebrate locomotion and the use of sensory feedback in the coordination of movement. She is currently studying the integration of functional systems during pectoral fin swimming.

  • Etienne Manderscheid

    Etienne Manderscheid photo
    The University of Chicago

    Committee on Computational Neuroscience
    Advisor: Dan Margoliash

    Research: Etienne is interested in questions of motor learning and control. Presently, he is examining the chronic effects of altered auditory feedback on the song of young adult zebra finches. One question of interest concerns the active mechanisms of song maintenance, and whether they are different from those of song acquisition.

  • Charlene McCord

    Charlene McCord photo
    The University of Chicago

    Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy
    Advisor: Mark Westneat

    Research: Charlene is interested in the functional consequences of structural duplication in the adductor mandibulae complex of monacanthid and balistid fishes.

  • Christopher Schroeder

    Christopher Schroeder photo
    Northwestern University

    Department of Biomedical Engineering
    Advisor: Mitra Hartmann

    Research: Christopher is interested in utilizing robotic and simulated models of the rat whisker system to analyze whisking behavior. He plans to use high speed video to see both how a rat moves when it is exploring an object, and how its whiskers move. He is also interested in using electrophysiological recordings to figure out how first order sensory neurons encode whisker movements and contacts.

  • Thomas Stewart

    Thomas Stewart photo
    The University of Chicago

    Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy
    Advisors: Michael Coates and Robert Ho

    Tom plans to study the caudal skeleton of fishes. He hopes to integrate paleontological and developmental data to understand the evolution of morphology and patterns of vertebrate diversity.

  • Richard Williams IV

    Richard Williams IV photo
    The University of Chicago

    Committee on Computational Neuroscience
    Advisor: Melina Hale

    Research: Richard’s research interests combine neuroscience, evolution, and behavior. He currently is examining the evolutionary and behavioral consequences in the zebra fish startle response of a genetic manipulation that has eliminated one class of spinal interneuron.