Principal Investigator

Simon Sponberg

Simon moved to Georgia Tech in the fall of 2014. He studies how the versatile, agile locomotion of animals arises from their physiological components using the perspective of physics and comparative biology. He completed his graduate training at UC, Berkeley and postdoctoral research at the University of Washington. 

University Contact Info

Simon Sponberg
Assistant Professor
School of Physics
School of Biological Sciences
Adjunct in Biomedical Engineering
Bioengineering Graduate Program
Quantitative Biosciences Graduate Program
Georgia Institute of Technology
Howey Physics Building
837 State St. NW
Atlanta, GA 30313

The Sponberg Group @ Georgia Tech
Agile Systems Lab
837 State St. NW
Howey Physics Building W208/W209
Atlanta, GA 30313


Dr. Izaak Neveln

Ph.D. from Northwestern Univ.

Biomedical Engineering

Izaak Neveln is a post-doctoral researcher with a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University where he studied the infomechanics of weakly electric knifefish using bio-inspired robotics. Infomechanics studies the flow of information between the brain, body, and environment in an attempt to study how animals interact with their world. Currently he is investigating the centralization vs. decentralization of control in running by measuring shared information in motor signals and mechanical variables in cockroaches. He is excited that his research has emerged from the seas, crawled onto land, and might soon take to the skies!

Dr. Brett Aiello

Ph.D. from University of Chicago

Integrative Biology

Brett Aiello is a postdoctoral researcher in the Sponberg Lab. Brett received his Ph.D. in Integrative Biology from the University of Chicago where he studied the correlated evolution of limb mechanics and mechanosensation in the pectoral fins of fishes. In the Sponberg Lab, Brett will continue studying the evolution of neuromechanical systems using a diverse superfamily of moths, Bombycoidea.

Graduate Students

Travis Tune

Ph.D. Candidate


Travis studies muscle.

Megan Matthews

Ph.D. Candidate


Megan studies fluids, moths, and their interactions.

Joy Putney

Ph.D. Candidate

Quantitative Biosciences

Joy obtained her B.S. in Biology and Physics-Engineering from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA. While there, she researched how electrical signals for gastrointestinal motility are altered by disease states. She has an interest in the interface between biomechanics and neural control that started with her undergrad research, and is excited to work in the Sponberg lab, because--let's face it--moths are a lot cuter than guts. When not in lab, she enjoys reading books, going to the movies, hiking, and playing video games.

Jeff Gau

Ph.D. Candidate


Jeff is a first-year Bioengineering PhD student. He is excited to apply his mechanical engineering training to study the control of movement. His work investigates the mechanics of wing flapping and the resonance properties of that enable flight at small scales. He has previously worked on projects investigating the control of high-velocity throwing and designing mechanical simulation software.

Brandon Pratt

Ph.D. Rotation Student

Quantitative Biosciences

Brandon Pratt  comes to us from the University of Washington, where he received Bachelor of Science degrees in neurobiology, and molecular, cellular, and developmental biology. Prior to joining the lab, Brandon conducted research on novel neuraminidase mutants involved in influenza evolution in the Bloom laboratory at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and on the sensory capabilities of insect wings in the Daniel laboratory at the University of Washington. He is broadly interested in how the nervous systems of animals encode, process, and integrate sensory information relevant for locomotion. In the lab, Brandon intends to use control theoretical and neuroscience approaches to reveal how the visual system of flying insects processes the complex visual information associated with flower tracking in order to produce behaviorally relevant locomotor outputs.   

Research Technicians

Martha Rimniceanu

Biology & Psychology (Tufts Univ.)

Martha is the newest member of the Sponberg lab and is still struggling to bond with the lab roaches. She graduated from Tufts University, MA, with bachelors in Biology and Psychology. There, she worked in a neuromechanics lab to uncover the neural processes that underlie thermosensation in Manduca caterpillars. She's now excited to learn how to use principles of neural dynamics and information theory to try and understand how insect brains have gotten wicked good at processing visual information. Martha enjoys pestering people to go salsa dancing with her and is looking forward to getting lost on some of Atlanta's running trails. 


Philip Aden

Biomedical Engineering

Philip is biomedical engineering major with an interest in the control of animal movement. He works with Izaak on the centralization and decentralization of control in running animals and is the resident cockroach wrangler.


Isabel Veith


Isabel is a biology major interested in neuroscience and behavioral biology. When she is not working in the lab with Megan and the moths, she is running, reading, or trying to capture moths around campus.

Amoolya Tirumalai

Biomedical Engineering

Amoolya is an undergraduate in Biomedical Engineering major with a strong background in dynamical systems and other fields of applied mathematics. He is currently working with Izaak on a stochastic coupled oscillator model of the neural patterns of stride in cockroaches to investigate how decentralized and centralized control can be described mathematically. When not working, Amoolya can be found running around Atlanta, cooking or eating.

Kyle Heiss

Mechanical Engineering

Kyle is an undergraduate Mechanical Engineering major interested in biomechanics and its application to robotic design. He works with Izaak on centralization and decentralization of control using a highly variable robotic model. 

Lab Alumni

Rachel Barker (Physics -- now at Sober Lab Emory)

Chidinma "Chi Chi" Chukwueke (BME -- now at Abbott Labs)

Steven Chandler (Research Technician -- now at Gravish Lab UCSD)

Gabriela Maria Hernandez (Physics, Univ. of Miama)

Usama bin Sikandar (EE -- Masters)

Brittany Bayley (Physics -- Masters)

William Xia (ECE)

Natalie Murray (Physics)

Frank Adams (Physics/Mech. Eng. Clark Atlanta Univ.)

Ravi Chauhan (Mech. Eng.)