Bionet Group Researchers


Prof. Aurel A. Lazar Aurel A. Lazar has been a professor of Electrical Engineering at Columbia University since 1988. He founded the Bionet Group in 2003. His current research interests are in computing with neural circuits (in silico), and on reverse engineering the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) brain (in vivo and in silico). In silico, his research interests are in Neural Computing Engines and NeuroInformation Processing Machines. In vivo, his interests are in Reverse Engineering the Fruit Fly Brain. He initiated the Neurokernel project, a potentially transformative open-source software platform for the isolated and integrated modeling, design, emulation and biological validation of fruit fly brain neural circuits, their connectivity patterns, and other parts of the fly's nervous system on clusters of GPUs.

[Past Research in Communication Networks (1981-2002)]




Yiyin ZhouYiyin 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. Currently he is a Postdoctoral 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.




Nikul H. UkaniNikul H. Ukani is primarily interested in the representation of video signals by populations of neurons and the subsequent processing of signals thus encoded.




Chung-Heng YehChung-Heng Yeh is interested in the analysis of dynamic phenomena in neural systems and spike processing of olfactory signals. 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.




Tingkai (Thomas) Liu Tingkai (Thomas) Liu joined the Bionet group in August of 2016 and is primarily interested in the intersection between theoretical neuroscience research and application of modern computational tools.




Amol J. Kapoor 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.




Lucas Schuermann 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.




Stephanie Rager 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 Visitors




Yu-Chi Yu-Chi Huang is a Ph.D. candidate at National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan. He visited the Bionet Lab from Jan 6 to Jan 18 in 2016.




Ta-Shun Su Ta-Shun Su is a master student at National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan. He visited the Bionet Lab from Jan 19 to Feb 3 in 2016.




Adam Tomkins Adam Tomkins is currently a postdoc at Sheffield University, UK. He visited the Bionet Lab from July 14 to Aug 3 in 2016.




Bionet Alumni


Bionet Ph.D. Alumni




Lev E. GivonLev 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 June 2016, he is a computational modeling and machine intelligence scientist at the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory.




Yevgeniy SlutskiyYevgeniy B. Slutskiy (Ph.D. October 2013) succesfully 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 March 2015, he is a data scientist with RJMetrics.




Anmo KimAnmo 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.




Eftychios PnevmatikakisEftychios 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 2014, he is a research scientist at the Simons Foundation.




Bionet Graduate Student Alumni




Konstantinos Psychas Konstantinos Psychas (M.S. February 2015) was interested in visualization techniques and efficient graphics based simulation of brain activity.




Wenze LiWenze 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 doctoral candidate at the Hillman Lab at Columbia's Biomedical Engineering Department.




Hanyu Li 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 Lingyu Zhang (M.S. February 2015) studied mechanisms of direction selective visual responses in starburst amacrine cells in the vertebrate retina.




Andrew Edward Pope Andrew Edward Pope II (B.S. February 2015) investigated the translation and efficient simulation of in vivo neuronal networks to functional in silico models.




Vivek Garg Vivek Garg (M.S. February 2014) developed scalable middleware for large-scale neural circuit simulation on multiple GPUs.




Lujia Chen Lujia Chen (M.S. February 2014) built a simulator and created a graphical user interface for the compound eye of the fruit fly.




Ban Wang 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. Since September 2014 she is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical Engineering at University of Washington, Seattle.




Daniel Clark 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 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.




Jignesh Patel Jignesh Patel (M.S. May 2013) investigated the interfacing of parallel computational systems with neurons in the fly brain.




Lu Xu Lu Xu is interested in developing new methods for obtaining electrophysiological recordings from transgenic flies. She was on rotation with the Fly lab during the Fall semester of 2012. Currently she is a Ph.D. student in the Biological Sciences department at Columbia University.




Daniel S. Chevitarese Daniel S. Chevitarese participated in the Neurokernel Project as a visiting scholar in 2012. As of 2015, he is a researcher at IBM in Rio de Janeiro.




Prabhat Godse 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.




Mingyang SunMingyang Sun (M.S. February 2013) worked on GPU-accelerated superresolution methods for improving microscope images.




Robert J.  TuretskyRobert 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 2014, he is a financial researcher at Global Headlands Markets.




Yunseong  NamYunseong Nam (M.S. February 2012) investigated GPU-based models of the antennal lobe of the fruit fly olfactory system.




Noah BerlandNoah 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 High School Student Alumni



Andre Kessler 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.