Animals are remarkably adept at acquiring and processing information to navigate complex, dynamic environments. Understanding how sensory systems are used to accomplish this requires not only direct investigation of the nervous system, but also requires we ask how incoming stimuli are transformed by the physical properties of the body in which sensory structures are embedded. Taking insect flight as a model system, the overarching goal of my research is to understand the principles governing how sensory information is acquired and processed — both by body structures and by the nervous system — through combined experimental, computational, and comparative approaches.
I was first able to investigate the neuroscience questions that fascinate me as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago (BA Biological Sciences, 2011), where I worked in the lab of Dr. Sliman Bensmaia studying the perception and neural encoding of tactile texture. I then joined the University of Washington (PhD Neuroscience, 2019), working with Drs. Fred Rieke and Eric Shea-Brown. My thesis work focused on how adaptation and response variability impact sensory encoding in the retina. In my current postdoctoral work with Drs. Tom Daniel and Bing Brunton, I’m interested in how rapid sensory feedback is used to stabilize flight in hovering insects.
When I’m not sitting in front of a computer or experimental rig, I can often be found mountain biking, hiking, or playing volleyball.