Alison is a PhD candidate in physics at the University of Washington and completed her undergraduate degree in physics at Yale University. Between graduating and beginning at UW, Alison lived in Changsha, China for two years, taught physics, and made art professionally. At UW she works with Dr. Adrienne Fairhall and Dr. David Perkel investigating motor learning by modeling the bird song learning circuit. She explores how a neural network generates and modulates the variability necessary in a trial and error learning process. Techniques she uses for this work are at the intersection of physics, neuroscience and nonlinear dynamics. When Alison is not doing research, she enjoys making art, writing and running.
Tim Oleskiw received his undergraduate education from the University of Regina in 2008, and went on to complete a Master's of Computer Science at York University's Center for Vision Research in 2010. His research interests focus on the computational processes of vision, particularly in regard to the perception and representation of two-dimensional shape. Entering the University of Washington's Ph.D. program in applied mathematics, Tim has joined the labs of Dr. Anitha Pasupathy, Dr. Wyeth Bair, and Dr. Eric Shea-Brown to study and model the recurrent dynamics of shape selective neurons in cortical area V4.
Outside of his research, Tim enjoys a variety of hobbies including electronic role playing games, chess, and discussions of philosophy, especially over a good pint. Also a fan of the outdoors, Tim participates in a number of recreational activities including hiking, camping, and recreational sports such as ultimate frisbee, snowboarding, and squash.
Tim's website is http://tim.oleskiw.ca.
Dina is a PhD student in the Neurobiology & Behavior program at UW. Her interests lie broadly in sensory systems; they include perception, learning, multimodal integration and the neural basis of behavior. In the lab of Anitha Pasupathy, she is working to understand how neurons in visual cortical area V4 encode information about shape and color. Dina is also interested in how behavioral context or experience can affect sensory representation.
Dina received her Bachelor's from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2010 (in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Ancient Studies). When taking a break from studying the brain, she enjoys visual arts, traditional needlecrafts, and rooting for the Sounders.
Jeremiah is a PhD student in the Bioengineering department at UW. He graduated from North Carolina State University in 2005 with degrees in electrical engineering and computer engineering. Between graduating from NCSU and beginning his graduate program at the UW, Jeremiah worked as an electrical and controls engineer for a pharmaceutical filtration company, played music professionally and spent a year and a half building houses for Habitat for Humanity in Costa Rica. Jeremiah works with Drs. Jeff Ojemann and Rajesh Rao investigating the role of neural plasticity in Brain Machine Interfacing (BMI) applications. The majority of his research is done with human subjects who are undergoing long-term monitoring for intractable epilepsy. His primary research interests are: evolution of causal and non-causal relationships between motor cortex and higher-order processing areas during BMI task learning; plasticity induction through activity driven, recurrent cortical stimulation; and the impact of task structure on BMI learning.
Jason is a Psychology PhD student with Ione Fine and Geoff Boynton in the Vision and Cognition Group. His research interests include the functional and anatomical organization of the human visual system, cortical plasticity as a result of sensory deprivation, visual illusions, perceptual organization, and 3D perception. His current research is evaluating high-level auditory processing in the ventral temporal cortex (typically involved in visual processing) in the congenitally blind. Jason received a BS in Computer Science through the Foundation Coalition at University of Alabama, which synchronizes and integrates instruction across the sciences, mathematics, and software development. Before entering the PhD program at UW, Jason was a lab manager and research technician for the Kanwisher Lab at MIT and later a research scientist with the VisCog Group at UW. Outside of the lab, he enjoys playing guitar, drawing, exploring nature, and philosophical discussion.
Lars is currently majoring in Neurobiology and is thoroughly enjoying the computational focus provided by the Computational Neuroscience Program. He is thoroughly interested in the brain at all scales and the use of technology to answer questions about it as well as the reverse: learning from the structure and function of neuronal systems to inspire the design of new technologies. The program has provided an excellent avenue for the learning and intersection of both. Lars’s interest in technology motivates his current research in modeling the layout and coverage of functional maps upon the primary visual cortex under Dr. Wyeth Bair. His future goal is to become a neural engineer, designing devices that interact seamlessly with the body in an effort to replace loss of function and potentially, someday, even augment the human form.
Teresa is an undergraduate Neurobiology major who is also minoring in Bioethics and Humanities. Her academic interests are broadly in developmental neurobiology and neurological disease research. She is currently working in the developmental neurobiology lab of Dr. William Moody on spontaneous waves of neural activity in the developing mouse cortex. In the future, she hopes to concurrently pursue her interests in research and in medicine. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, playing music, and running.
Karl Marrett is a junior majoring in Neurobiology with departmental honors and minoring in applied math. He came from a research background in ecology and plant physiology, and worked in public and global health research at Battelle in Seattle. His current research is with Professor Adrian KC Lee designing a high bit-rate auditory P300-based brain computer interface (BCI) for patients with ALS or for commercial use. The Computational Neuroscience Training Program and involvement with the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering has instilled a passion for pursuing research in the biophysics of neural engineering problems. He is interested in pursuing projects on learning models in relation to BCIs and continuing his academic education in areas of applied math, biophysics, or biomedical engineering at the graduate level.
Thida was born in Myanmar and moved to Washington when she was 10. She is currently majoring in Neurobiology, with a focus in Computational Neuroscience. She previously worked in a nuclear chemistry lab at the UWMC, helping analyze data to develop a better synthesis for fluorescent tags targeting the HER2 protein. She is currently working on developing a neural network model in Dr. Bill Spain’s lab, in order to explore neural resonance and the generation of oscillatory systems. Thida is interested in how the brain controls coordination of homeostatic functions, especially as it relates to the heart. Her future goal is to go to medical school, complete the surgical residency and become a cardiothoracic surgeon.
Mathew is a Neurobiology and Biochemistry double major, with a minor in Applied Mathematics. He works in Fred Rieke’s lab supplementing electrophysiological data with psychophysical experiments to better understand the neural circuitry underlying interactions between rod and cone photoreceptors. Mathew is broadly interested in the biophysical mechanisms through which neural systems operate, and the implications these modes of action have for the organism as a whole. He intends to pursue a PhD program in neuroscience upon his graduation in the spring of 2015.
Phanith is majoring in Neurobiology with college honors. He comes from a research background in cardiology and molecular biology. Previously in the Dichek Lab, Phanith helped with two projects aimed at clarifying the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and aortic aneurysms. He soon realized after entering the Neurobiology major that systems of the brain such as the visual system captivates his curiosity and engages him intellectually. This curiosity led him to Jay Neitz’s lab where he works with current models of color vision to develop a thorough neurobiological explanation of hue appearance across individuals. Phanith is enjoying the computational neuroscience training program and is excited to utilize what he is learning within a research setting. Outside of his academic life, he enjoys reading historical fiction and playing the guitar.
Former Graduate Students
Guillaume’s research interests lie at the intersection of mathematics and neuroscience. More specifically, his work aims at developing and applying mathematical tools to approach problems of driven neural networks. Guided by this theme, he works on projects falling in two main categories. The first relates to synchrony, or lack thereof, in neural populations receiving a common input. This is intimately linked to studies of neural pathologies such as Parkinson’s disease and their treatments via neuroprosthetics. Here, synchronous dynamics within certain neural nuclei disrupt normal brain functions and electrical stimulation can restore them. How do these networks synchronize? How can we break this synchrony with global inputs? He uses a variety of tools such as geometric perturbation theory, discrete dynamical systems and numerical simulations to approach such problems.
The second category is motivated by neural coding, or the ability of neural networks to encode information from a stimulus that perturbs its dynamics. He investigates the reliability of excitable neural networks, driven by a given input signal. Reliability can be described as the ability of a dynamical system to reproduce the same output, given a single stimulus, on many trials where initial conditions change. Moreover, he wishes to address questions on information carrying capacities of such networks and the role of reliable behavior in this context: When are excitable neural networks reliable? What are the implications for possible encoding schemes given a reliable (or unreliable) network? Here, he uses a blend of bifurcation theory, numerical simulations and information theoretic tools to attack these questions.
Before he joined the applied mathematics department at UW, in 2008, he completed an undergraduate degree and a masters degree in mathematics at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He specialized in the study of dynamical systems theory. He then got interested in applying my acquired knowledge to one of the most complex and exciting system found in nature: the brain. This is the main reason why I moved to Seattle and joined the computational neuroscience research community at UW. He also admits that apart from its academic merits, he was attracted to the Seattle area for its proximity to an amazing vertical playground. Indeed, when he is not working, you can almost surely find him in the mountains, where he gets my fix of rock and alpine climbing.
Former Undergraduate Students
Omar was born in Egypt, but has been living in Bellevue for the last 8 years. He is a neurobiology major and a Japanese minor. He has worked as an undergraduate assistant in Dr. Horacio de la Iglesia's Biological Rhythms Lab and will be undertaking another research project in the laboratory of Dr Scott Murray, working on fMRI studies of context dependence in vision. His research interests include sleep, learning/memory, and neuroimaging.
David is primarily interested in Brain-Computer Interfaces and their application to prosthetics. He works in the Chet Moritz laboratory which focuses on spinal cord injury and developing therapeutic neuroprostheses in the rat. He hopes to ride the wave of innovation in prosthetic engineering, using his education in neurobiology and computational principles to better enhance the lives of those with physical disabilities. He plans to attend graduate school in Neural Engineering after working in research in the Seattle area.
Bethanny Danskin is an undergrad majoring in Neurobiology with a minor in Applied Mathematics. She plans to attend grad school in the field of neurobiology. She works in the lab of Dr. Marti Bosma, a developmental neurobiology lab that studies spontaneous neural activity in the developing mouse hindbrain using optical imaging and electrophysiological techniques. More specifically, Bethanny uses simultaneous calcium dye imaging and patch clamp to observe characteristics of depolarization waves and the properties of cells at the initiation zone. She has always been curious about how something as complicated as a brain develops with both such plasticity and precision.
Michelle is currently majoring in Neurobiology and Biochemistry with departmental honors, and minoring in Bioethics and Humanities, as well as participating in the program in Computational Neuroscience. She comes from a research background in Pathology, working in the lab of Dr. George M. Martin and Dr. Junko Oshima - where she has helped with several different projects on genetic factors in geriatric disorders and normative aging. Her thesis project focuses around gaining a better understanding of certain cell cycle abnormalities in the pathological progression of Alzheimer's Disease. She is also involved in UW's Department of Nuclear Medicine, and has recently become very interested in the use of radiology as a way of seeing into the brain, for diagnosis and beyond - while as an ethicist keeping her eye on the implications such technology might have bioethically. In the computational arena, she is particularly interested in getting involved in research that utilizes radiological techniques, or research with applications in neuropathology.
Cameron is from the one-stoplight town of Naches, Washington. He is studying Neurobiology. He mentors high school seniors through the UW Dream Project and is a Resident Advisor. He would like to research in a part of the neuroscience field that is closer to the intersection of psychology and neurobiology, or where the mind meets the neuron. He has joined the laboratory of Nino Ramirez, at Childrens’ Research Institute, to work on mechanisms of brain oscillations.
Derek is majoring in Neurobiology and Biochemistry with an interest in brain-computer interfaces as therapeutic means for neurological diseases. He hopes to pursue research that uses computational methods as the basis for disease modeling or in development of biomedical technologies and is aiming for a career in medical sciences. He has joined the lab of Dr Adrian Lee to research auditory scene analysis.
Igor was born in the Ukraine but immigrated here with his family in 1993. At 17 he entered the running start program at Highline CC and got his Associates in Science with an emphasis on biology. He transferred to the UW and is currently doing a double major in Neurobiology and Biochemistry. He got interested in Neurobiology because his 27 year old sister suffers from mental retardation and the physicians have not been able to explain what is wrong with her. He is very interested in joining a neural engineering lab that deals with prosthetics and finding ways to connect them to the nervous system. Another area of interest is cochlear implants or research on the visual system. Igor is doing his research project in the lab of Lee Osterhout, working on language processing.
Jenny is majoring in neurobiology and biochemistry,
with a minor in global health. In the long term, she plans on going to
medical school. Currently, she is involved in neuropharmacological
research on the role of the cannabinoid system in Huntington's
disease. Having always been interested in the intersections between
computation and biology, she is very excited to be a part of the
computational neuroscience training program and to learn to use
computational approaches to solve problems in neuroscience.