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
Dunn Family 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 C205
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. 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.
You can find him at:

Graduate Students

Usama Bin Sikandar

Ph.D. student

Electrical Engineering

Usama received his B.S. from LUMS and M.S. from Georgia Tech. He is interested in biomechanics, control systems and dynamics. He uses models of flapping flight, control systems and integrative biology approaches to understand how hawkmoths display remarkable agility in their flight. In his spare time, you might find him doing road trips, exploring restaurants, listening to some really good music or just watching cricket (not the insect).

Varun Sharma

Ph.D. student

Quantitative Biosciences

Varun is a Quantitative Biosciences (QBioS)  PhD student interested in the Neuroscience of flight behavior. He got his B.E. in Mechanical Engineer at Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani,  and his MS in Mechanical Engineering at CU Boulder. His work involves control theoretic analysis of flight behavior, and electrophysiological study of sensory and motor processes.

Leo Wood

Ph.D. student

Quantitative Biosciences

Leo obtained his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M, and his M.Sc. in zoology from the University of British Columbia. His prior research always focused on how matter capable of changing shape can be arranged and controlled to produce motion. Now at Georgia Tech, he’s studying how nervous systems can interact with and control muscle mechanics to produce locomotion. In his spare time, he likes to play with his dog, make music, watch bad movies, read, and get demolished by friends at chess.

Ethan Wold

Ph.D. student

Quantitative Biosciences

Ethan is in the Quantitative Biosciences (QBioS) PhD program interested in the mechanisms of superfast and powerful organismal movement. He received his ScB in  Biology and Geophysics at Brown University in 2020. His work in the lab involves resonant mechanics and strain-dependent muscle activation in insect flight. Outside of research, he enjoys playing the guitar, cooking, and hanging out with his dog Remy.

Ellen Liu

Ph.D. student

Quantitative Biosciences

Ellen received her B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering in 2021 from the University of Limerick, Ireland. Her interests are in biological locomotor systems and how features from these systems can be applied to robotics. She is investigating neuromechanical control architectures under various conditions to determine optimal control strategies. When she’s not in the lab she likes to play music, video games and travel.


Emine Zeynep Ulutas


Emine is an undergraduate Neuroscience major interested in systems and cellular neuroscience. She is working with Brett on understanding how contextual cues and neuromodulation can regulate behavioral plasticity in moths. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with my friends, playing violin, and trying out new restaurants/coffee shops.

Haritha Sigili


Haritha is an undergraduate neuroscience major with a minor in health and medical sciences. Her interests lie within systems neuroscience. She is working to understand the process behind how hawkmoths learn and apply that knowledge. In her spare time, she enjoys having out with her friends and learning to cook new recipes.

Miguel Zadorosny

Mechanical Engineering

Miguel is a third-year Mechanical Engineering student interested in biomechanics and computational physics. He is working with Usama on models for flight analysis of flower-tracking moths. In his free time, he likes to rock climb, play soccer, and watch bad movies with friends.

Julianne Cato


Julie is an undergrad biology major. She is working with Leo to help understand the interactions between the nervous system and the muscular system and how movement is impacted as a result. She likes reading, baking, finding new coffee shops, and spending time with friends.

Manon Harris


Manon is a Physics major and is pursuing a concentration in Physics of Living Systems and a minor in Biology. She is currently working with Ethan to gain knowledge on the spring constants and resonant frequencies of different species of moths. In her free time, Manon likes to crochet, paint, and to spend lots of time with her friends and family.

Lab Alumni

Dr. Joy Putney (Ph.D. Quantitative Biosciences, Georgia Tech)

Dr. Stephanie Gage (Post-doc, Ph.D. Neurobiology & Neuroscience, University of Arizona)

Dr. Megan Matthews (Ph.D. Physics, Georgia Tech)

Dr. Jeff Gau (Ph.D. BioEngineering, Georgia Tech)

Dr. Travis Tune (Ph.D. Physics, Georgia Tech)

Dr. Izaak Neveln (Post-doc, Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University)

Marc Guasch (Research Technician -- now a grad student at Georgia Tech)

Gabriel Montes (Physics undergrad)

Harrison Fu (BME undergrad)

Manognya Sripathi (BME undergrad)

Sofia Russo (Physics REU)

Rebecca Burns (Physics REU)

Tobias Niebur (ECE -- now a grad student at JHU)

Brandon Pratt

Gabriela "Ella" Small (Swarthmore -- Physics)

Martha Rimniceanu (Research Technician -- now at Frye Lab, UCLA)

Amoolya Tirumalai (BME -- now at Bhandawat Lab, Duke)

Elizabeth Veith (Bio)

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

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

Steven Chandler (Research Technician)

Gabriela Maria Hernandez (Physics, Univ. of Miami)

Brittany Bayley (Physics -- Masters)

William Xia (ECE)

Natalie Murray (Physics)

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

Hunter Hakimian (Physics)

Ravi Chauhan (Mech. Eng.)