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!

Graduate Students


Travis Tune

Ph.D. Candidate


Travis studies muscle.


Megan Matthews

Ph.D. rotation student


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.

Research Technicians

Steven Chandler

Physics (Emory) & Aerospace Engineering (Georgia Tech)

Steven brings with him a variety of university lab experience from a dual degree program in physics and aerospace engineering from Emory and Georgia Tech respectively. His current work involves experimental set-up, lab maintenance, becoming strangely attached to the lab's insect colonies, and investigating moth flight.

Chidinma "Chi Chi" Chukwueke

Biomedical Engineering

Chi Chi recently graduated from GT and is pursuing her interests in biomechanics and muscle physiology in rehabilitation. She hopes to one day apply concepts of animal biomechanics to the development and design of custom devices for disabled individuals. In the meantime Chi Chi spends her time playing rugby, doing her best not to hurt anything important, and learning the best methods of recovery in case she does.

Rachel Barker


Rachel recently graduated in physics from GT. She has a lot of interest in neuro-mechanics and muscle physiology. Rachel really loves to dance, and she enjoys finding connections between her work in the lab and the understanding of movement that she has developed through experience and training as a dancer.


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.

Gabriela Maria Hernandez

Physics/Mathematics (Maimi Univ.)

Gabriela Maria is starting her senior year at the University of Miami, pursuing a double major in Physics and Mathematics. She is fascinated by the world’s unknown truths, and, in particular, the role neuroscience plays behind them. Back home she has seven pets to which she happily devotes most of her free time.

Lab Alumni

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. -- B.S.)