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Vijay Balasubramanian

investigates the principles underlying computation and communication in the brain.  He considers how large-scale functions and behaviors emerge from the collective activity of very large numbers of neurons of many functional types interacting in complex networks.  He uses theoretical and computational methods applied to data gathered from his own lab (multi-electrode array probes of retinal function function) and from the labs of collaborators. His work on the early visual system has established that many aspects of the structural and functional organization of the retina can be understood as adaptations to the statistical structure of natural scenes subject to biophysical constraints. He has also worked on optimization principles in neurobiology such as maximization of information transmission at fixed metabolic cost, and on problems in statistical inference.  He is currently working on the visual perception of textures and shapes,  on spatial cognition (i.e. our "sense of place" supported by  circuits in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex), and olfaction (i.e. our "sense of smell").   [Personal Website ➤]

Philip Nelson

has worked extensively on the physics of artificial biomembranes, biopolymers such as DNA, and other “soft” condensed matter systems. He is currently thinking about a variety of problems in systems biology. He is especially interested in learning and adaptation by biological networks at many scales, ranging from signaling and regulatory networks in single cells to decision-making networks of neurons in the brain. [Personal Website ➤]

Ann Hermundstad

is a postdoc in the group working on problems in theoretical and computational neuroscience, focusing both on specific sensory pathways and integrated whole-brain studies.  She employs a range of theoretical, computational, and data-driven techniques to probe how different cellular architectures support and constrain emergent biological function.  Her work touches on a broad set of related questions that elucidate how resources are distributed across populations of cells, how local interactions shape information flow across the population, and how the structure of interactions adapts over time and in response to stimulus variations.  Current projects relate to population coding in the retina, visual perception of higher-order spatial statistics, olfactory processing, and structure-function relationships in the human brain.    [Personal Website]

Xuexin Wei

is a graduate student in the psychology department.  He is working on the organization of our "sense of place", created by circuits in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex.

John Briguglio

is graduate student in the physics department.  He is working on problems in neuroscience, focusing on the visual and olfactory systems.

Kamesh Krishnamurthy

is a graduate student in the neuroscience graduate group interested in theoretical and computational approaches to problems in systems neuroscience.

Serena Bradde

received her PhD from SISSA, Italy and did postdocs at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and the Institut Pasteur in Paris.  She is currently a postdoc at the Initiative for the Theoretical Sciences at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and a long-term visitor in the group at Penn.   She has always been fascinated by the ability of living systems to adapt to changing environments.  Her research is presently focused on understanding the principles shaping the survival strategies of bacterial behavior and, more generally, of unicellular organism.   She has developed theoretical models that describe how bacteria modulae their size according to nutrient availability, and, more recently, how microbes can acquire adaptive immunity against phage infection.

Tiberiu Tesileanu

received a PhD in theoretical physics at Princeton University and did postdoc in the Systems Biology group at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.  He is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Initiative for Theoretical Sciences at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and a long-term visitor in the Computational Neuroscience Initiative at Penn.  He is  interested in problems in theoretical neuroscience ranging from learning to sensory representation and processing in the brain. He is currently working on motor learning in songbirds, texture perception in the visual cortex, and olfactory representations in the piriform cortex. Apart from neuroscience, he is also interested in modeling adaptive immunity, in particular the CRISPR system in bacteria.

Vijay Singh

received his PhD in theoretical physics from Emory University and is presently a Fellow in the Computational Neuroscience Initiative at Penn.    He is interested in understanding information processing in complex biological systems.   His current work focuses on collective signal processing in the olfactory and visual systems.

Gaia Tavoni

Gaia received her PhD in Statistical Physics from École Normale Supérieure in Paris and she is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Penn Computational Neuroscience Initiative. She develops theories and models to explain how the brain processes information to learn, memorize and predict.

Alex Keinath

is a graduate student in Psychology who studies spatial representation in the broader hippocampal formation. To do so, she employs a range of techniques including in vivo rodent electrophysiological recording, computational modeling, and behavioral experiments in both rodents and humans. Her recent projects focus on understanding how boundaries shape and anchor spatial representations and navigation behavior at multiple levels of explanation.