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

Joy Putney


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.

Usama Bin Sikandar

Ph.D. candidate

Electrical Engineering

Usama received his B.Sc. from LUMS. He is an electrical engineer interested in control systems and dynamics. He uses models of flapping flight and control systems to understand how hawkmoths display remarkable agility in their flight. He is also working on two collaborations: 1) With Brett in a quest to answer why silkmoths and hawkmoths fly differently; 2) With Dr. Ferrari's lab (Cornell) in remodeling their RoboBee to make it a better flier by taking inspirations from insect flight.

Varun Sharma

Ph.D. candidate

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

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

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.


Emine Zeynep Ulutas


Emine is an undergraduate Neuroscience major interested in systems and cellular neuroscience. She is working with Brett and Stephanie on understanding how contextual cues and neuromodulation can regulate behavioral plasticity in moths. In her spare time, she enjoy 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 with Stephanie in understanding 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.

Gabriel Montes


Gabriel is a second-year Physics major currently pursuing a CS and math double minor. He works with Usama to refine a model describing moth flight aerodynamics. He mostly spends his spare time with friends, swimming/lifting weights, cooking and reading/watching sci-fi.

Harrison Fu

Biomedical engineering

Harrison is an undergraduate biomedical engineering major. He works with Brett to study mudskipper blinking. In his free time, he enjoys rock climbing, kayaking, and trying new recipes.

Manognya Sripathi

Biomedical Engineering major with a Computer Science minor

Manognya is a 3rd year undergrad majoring in Biomedical Engineering with a Computer Science minor. Manognya works with Brett on researching the causes of blinking in mudskipper fish - mainly through evaporation and visual stimuli. In her free time, she enjoys singing as part of an a cappella team, painting, hiking, and hanging out with my friends.

Lab Alumni

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)

Sofia Russo (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.)