Bionet Group Researchers
Aurel A. Lazar has been a professor of Electrical Engineering at Columbia University since 1988. He founded the Bionet Group in 2003. His primary research interests focus on the molecular architecture and the functional logic of the fruit fly brain. He leads research projects in Building Interactive Computing Tools for the Fruit Fly Brain Observatory, in Computing with Fruit Fly Brain Circuits and on Creating NeuroInformation Processing Machines. [Past Research in Communication Networks (1981-2002)]
Yiyin Zhou (Ph.D. October 2015) succesfully defended his doctoral thesis entitled "Massively Parallel Spiking Neural Circuits: Encoding, Decoding and Functional Identification". He received the Jury Award from Columbia's Electrical Engineering Department for outstanding achievement by a graduate student in May 2016. From November 2015 to October 2018 he was a Postdoctoral Research Scientist with the Bionet Group. Since November 2018 he is an Associate Research Scientist with the Bionet Group. His interests are in signal representation in neural systems, particularly in time encoding and decoding for visual signals and computational implementations thereof.
Shashwat Shukla joined the Bionet Group in August 2020 and is interested in understanding neural representations and their underlying dynamics via computational and theoretical modeling of neural circuits.
Ashley H. Kim studies computer science in the engineering school. She hopes to contribute to understanding of the mind as both a computational and philosophical system and is fascinated by the use of mathematical techniques to uncover underlying principles of complex systems.
Noah Parker is a masters student in the Electrical Engineering department at Columbia University, interested in computational neuroscience, machine learning, and their applications in neuroprosthetic devices and brain-computer interfaces. He is currently working on the application of traditional electrical simulation techniques to computational neural models.
Pranav I. Deevi is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering, with a keen interest in computational neuroscience and its practical applications. His goal is to explore the dynamic interplay between machine learning and neuroscience and how these fields can mutually benefit from cross-pollination of ideas.
Bionet Ph.D. Alumni
Tingkai (Thomas) Liu (Ph.D. February 2023) successfully defended his doctoral thesis entitled "Spatio-Temporal Divisive Normalization: Invariance and Change Detection in Biological Systems". He received the 2022 Graduate Student Service Award of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at Columbia University. As of February 2023 he is a research scientist at ByteDance.
Mehmet Kerem Turkcan (Ph.D. October 2022) successfully defended his doctoral thesis entitled "Sensory Processing and Associative Learning in Connectome-Based Neural Circuits". He received his M.S. degree in Computer Science from Columbia University in December 2016 and joined the Bionet Group in January 2017. As of November 2022 he is a postdoctoral research scientist at Columbia University.
Chung-Heng Yeh (Ph.D. October 2019) successfully defended his doctoral thesis entitled "Mechanistic Models of Neural Computation in the Fruit Fly Brain". He received the MS Award of Excellence from Columbia's Department of Electrical Engineering in 2013 and the Professional Development Scholarship from Columbia's Engineering Graduate Student Council in 2014. As of December 2020 he is a researcher at Two Sigma.
Nikul H. Ukani (Ph.D. October 2018) successfully defended his doctoral thesis entitled "Sparse Algorithms for Decoding and Identification of Neural Circuits". He received the Jury Award from Columbia's Electrical Engineering Department for outstanding achievement by a graduate student in May 2019. As of November 2018 he is a researcher at the D.E. Shaw Group.
Lev E. Givon (Ph.D. May 2016) successfully defended his doctoral thesis entitled "An Open Pipeline for Generating Executable Neural Circuits from Fruit Fly Brain Data". He received the Professional Development Scholarship from Columbia's Engineering Graduate Student Council in 2014. As of July 2020, he is a senior data scientist at Janssen R&D.
Yevgeniy B. Slutskiy (Ph.D. October 2013) successfully defended his doctoral thesis entitled "Identification of Dendritic Processing in Spiking Neural Circuits". He received the Jury Award from Columbia's Electrical Engineering Department for outstanding achievement by a graduate student in May 2014. As of July 2020, he is a senior staff data scientist at Guru.
Anmo J. Kim (Ph.D. October 2010) succesfully defended his doctoral thesis entitled "Information Processing and Representation in the Drosophila Early Olfactory System". In June 2011, he joined Rockefeller University as a postdoctoral researcher. Since March 2018 he is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea.
Eftychios A. Pnevmatikakis (Ph.D. February 2010) defended with distinction his doctoral thesis entitled "Spikes as Projections: Representation and Processing of Sensory Stimuli in the Time Domain". He received the Jury Award from Columbia's Electrical Engineering Department for outstanding achievement by a graduate student in May 2010. He was a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Statistics and the Center for Theoretical Neuroscience at Columbia University between 2010-2014. As of February 2020, he is a research scientist working on neural interfaces at Facebook Reality Labs.
Bionet Graduate Student Alumni
Bo Yuan is currently a master's student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University. Although his background is initially in mathematics, he has developed a wide range of interests spanning neural modulation, computational neurology, and deep learning. His current projects in the lab focus on reproducing the lamina layer of the early visual system of Drosophila and aligning it with real physiological representations. He is also currently working on several projects at Columbia NEC-Lab, including investigating the role of multiple neurotransmitter systems for tactile discrimination and creating a brain state decoder using state-of-the-art neural recording equipment.
Qiuyang Wang is a master’s student in the department of APAM interested in the dynamical behaviors of neural circuits and their relationship to functions& features of brains. He is currently working on the reduced models of phototransduction in the retina of Drosophila and the integration with other neuropils based on the Neurokernel.
Dewei Wang was a Master's student at the Department of Biomedical Engineering of Columbia interested in creating multiple models of the central complex of Drosophila. He is now a Ph.D. student with the VLSI Lab in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Columbia University.
Konstantinos Psychas (M.S. February 2015) was interested in visualization techniques and efficient graphics based simulation of brain activity. He received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering in 2020 and is now with Amazon Web Services.
Wenze Li (M.S. February 2012) worked on developing novel recording methods for studying olfactory signal processing in the fruit fly. He also worked on memristor-based modeling of neural circuits. He is currently a Postdoc at the Hillman Lab at Columbia's Biomedical Engineering Department.
Hanyu Li (M.S. February 2015) investigated massively parallel representations of stimuli in neural systems and analyzed spike processing of olfactory and visual signals. Since September 2015 he is a Ph.D. student in the computational neuroscience program at the University of Chicago.
Lingyu Zhang (M.S. February 2015) studied mechanisms of direction selective visual responses in starburst amacrine cells in the vertebrate retina.
Andrew Edward Pope II (B.S. February 2015) investigated the translation and efficient simulation of in vivo neuronal networks to functional in silico models.
Ban Wang (M.S. February 2014) worked on a behavior study of the olfactory system of fruit flies and genetic manipulation to find new useful features in transgenic flies. In 2020 she received her Ph.D. from the Seelig Lab in the Department of Electrical Engineering at University of Washington, Seattle. She is now a PostDoc with the Fraser Lab at Stanford.
Daniel Clark (M.S. February 2014) investigated information processing algorithms and the neural architecture of the visual system, as well as applications of massively parallel computation. As of 2014, he is a research programmer at the Child Mind Institute.
Arthur Argall (M.S. May 2014) was interested in olfactory circuits and the basic biophysical properties of olfactory sensory neurons. As a Ph.D. student in the program in Neurobiology and Behavior, he was on rotation in the Fly Lab during the summer of 2013. In 2014 he joined the NYU School of Law.
Lu Xu developed new methods for obtaining electrophysiological recordings from transgenic flies. She was on rotation with the Fly lab during the Fall semester of 2012. In 2020 she received her Ph.D. from the Firestein Lab in the Biological Sciences Department at Columbia University.
Prabhat Godse (M.S. February 2013) developed and implemented GPU-based models of auditory circuits in the fruit fly brain. He also participated in the Neurokernel Project. As of February 2013, he is an engineer at BioDigital Systems.
Robert J. Turetsky (M.S. 2003) investigated spike signal processing, dendritic computation and spike-based models of audition with an emphasis on the analogy between DSP and neural computing. He received the Millman Outstanding TA Award from Columbia's Department of Electrical Engineering in May 2010. As of 2017, he is a data scientist at Facebook.
Noah Berland (M.S. February 2008) investigated models of bursting neurons and topologies of bursting networks. He examined conditions under which small changes to neuron or synapse model parameters lead to drastically different network behaviors. As of 2013, he is a medical student at NYU Medical School.
Bionet Undergraduate Student Alumni
Jonathan Marty (a rising senior at Holmdel High School in NJ) was an intern during the summer of 2018. He packaged the Fruit Fly Brain Observatory software using Docker and implemented a model of the fruit fly early visual system using Keras and Tensorflow. His interests span machine learning, neuroscience, and cybersecurity. From September 2019 to May 2023 he was an undergraduate student at Columbia University. He is now a graduate student at Princeton University.
Feiyang (Kathy) Yu , a Computer Science major at Columbia University, was interested in the intersections of computer science and neuroscience, specifically computational models and simulation engines for the brain. She graduated in 2022 and joined the CS Department at Stanford.
Ananya Sahu is interested in the intersection of computer science and neuroscience and how computational methodologies can be applied to the field of neuroscience to gain a deeper understanding of the complex functions and systems governing the brain. She is currently a student at Barnard College.
Tess Fallon is a rising sophomore at Columbia University. Her interests surround the intersection of neuroscience and electrical engineering, particularly reverse engineering the nervous system for medical applications.
Chloe Shapiro is interested in studying the intersections of neuroscience and computer science. She finds the applications of neuroscience research in computer science such as with brain-computer interfaces and artificial intelligence fascinating. Additionally, she is passionate about neuro-ethics and hopes to work with computation and neuroscience in ways that have positive and sustainable impacts. She is in Barnard's class of 2023.
Jeffrey Xiong is interested in using computational techniques to evaluate brain function and its uses in uncovering the underlying processes behind neural phenomena. He is a student at Columbia University Class of 2024.
Hyun Dong Lee is interested in studying computer science and neuroscience to discover how a truly intelligent agents can be constructed and how they can bring advancement in the society. He is a Columbia class of 2019.
Yong Hyun (Hector) Cho is a Columbia Computer Engineering class of 2019. He is now a research staff assistant with the Issa Lab, Dept. of Neuroscience, Columbia University.
Lucas Schuermann is interested in the real-time simulation of complex neural processes using massively parallel computation including the development and implementation of neural models and corresponding low-cost, high-accuracy numerical integration schemes. He is a Columbia Class of 2018 Egleston Scholar.
Amol J. Kapoor is interested in the development of neural modeling as a way to advance long term studies in artificial intelligence and brain-computer interfaces. He is a Columbia Class of 2018 Egleston Scholar. As of July 2018, he is a software engineer at Google.
Stephanie Rager is interested in the intersection of neurobiology and computer science and how we can use the tools that advanced computing and engineering methodology provide to further our knowledge of how the brain processes and responds to stimuli. She is a Columbia Class of 2019 Egleston Scholar.
Bionet High School Student Alumni
Khyber Sen (a rising Senior at Stuyvesant High School) was an Intern during the summer of 2017. He is interested in applying GPU programming on NVIDIA Jetson Embedded System and use it to control a robotic platform. Since September 2018 he is an undergraduate student at Columbia University.
Jason Zhang (a graduate of Newman Smith High School ) was an Intern during the summer of 2017. He learnt GPU programming and applied them on processing videos streamed to a robotic platform uisng the NVIDIA Jetson Embedded System. He is now a Electrical Engineering student at the University of Texas, Austin.
Andre Kessler (a rising Senior at Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology) was an Intern during the summer of 2010. With interests in time encoding/decoding and the representation and manipulation of visual stimuli in time-domain systems, he developed a parallel implementation of a neural linear programming circuit. He graduated from MIT in 2015 and is now with Space-X.