Ravi Jayakumar passes his GBO!

Congratulations to Ravi Jayakumar who passed his Graduate Board Oral exam on February 14, 2017. Welcome to PhD Candidacy, Ravi!

LIMBS REU Student Takes First Place

Luke Arend took First Place in the Final Presentations at the LCSR’s 2016 CSMR REU program. Congratulations Luke!

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New postdoc position available

The LIMBS Laboratory has a new postdoc position available — see our Opportunities page.

UPDATE: This postdoc position has been filled.

Erin Sutton passed her GBO!

On on Feb 9, 2016, Erin Sutton passed the dreaded Graduate Board Oral Exam…. Congratulations, Erin!!

LIMBS Lab receives NSF grant

CowanFortuneLIMBS Lab director Noah Cowan and his colleague, neuroscientist Eric Fortune, were awarded a $805,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, entitled “Neural Mechanisms of Active Sensing”. 

Animals, including humans, routinely use movement to sense the world around them. For example, to sense the texture of an object, a person might move her hand over the surface, whereas to measure the object’s weight, she might hold it in her palm and move it up and down. This use of different movements to sense features of the environment is called Active Sensing. Although active sensing is commonplace in human behavior, how the brain generates and controls these movements is poorly understood. The goal of this project is to reveal and describe (in mathematical equations) the brain’s strategies for active sensing. This will be achieved by studying a specialized animal species, the weakly electric glass knifefish. This animal was chosen because it has a suite of properties that make it ideally suited for the experimental approach. The expected findings will have broad implications for active sensing in other animals (including humans) because active sensing behaviors are similar across species. This work will have broad societal impacts, including the possible transformation of robotic control systems and enhanced understanding of the brain that may ultimately improve our understanding of neurological disorders. Further this work includes multidisciplinary training of promising students in critical STEM fields.

Noah Cowan and James Knierim receive two grants

CowanKnierimHow do you keep track of where you are as you walk through a known environment, such as your house or a shopping mall?  To study this question, Mechanical Engineering professor Noah Cowan and Neuroscience professor James Knierim were selected to receive two awards that aim to use engineering approaches to shed new light on the brain’s “inner GPS”.

  • 2015 Johns Hopkins Discovery Award, entitled “Engineering Approaches to Studying Spatial Representations in the Brain”. PI: Noah J. Cowan. $100,000.
  • A National Institutes of Health R21, entitled “A Control Theoretic Approach to Addressing Hippocampal Function“, PI: Noah J. Cowan. $202,500.

Prof. Whitcomb (Uncle Louie) steps in and hoods our three most recent PhDs

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Shahin Sefati, Alican Demir, and Mert Ankarali (left to right, Hopkins gold regalia) were hooded today by  ME Professor Louis Whitcomb (Yale regalia). Sadly, I am out of town and didn’t get to do it myself, but was very happy that my colleague and academic brother stepped up and did the honors for me!

-Noah

Electric Fish Charges up Research on Animal Behavior

News articles

Related articles

S. Sefati, I. D. Neveln, E. Roth, T. R. T. Mitchell, J. B. Snyder, M. A. MacIver, E. S. Fortune and N. J. Cowan. “Mutually opposing forces during locomotion can eliminate the tradeoff between maneuverability and stability”. PNAS, 110(47):18798-18803, 2013. [pdf] [Supp. pdf]

M. S. Madhav, S. A. Stamper, E. S. Fortune, and N. J. Cowan. “Closed-loop stabilization of the jamming avoidance response reveals its locally unstable and globally nonlinear dynamics”. J Exp Biol, 216:4272-4284, 2013. [pdf]

S. A. Stamper*, M. S. Madhav*, N. J. Cowan, and E. S. Fortune. “Beyond the Jamming Avoidance Response: Weakly electric fish respond to the envelope of social electrosensory signals”. J Exp Biol, 215:4196-4207, 2012 . [pdf] *Contributed equally. Ranked as one of the top 3 publications in 2012 in J Exp Biol. Highlighted in Inside JEB: “Gregarious Electric Fish Adjust to Maintain Social Envelope”

S. A. Stamper*, M. S. Madhav*, N. J. Cowan, and E. S. Fortune. “Beyond the Jamming Avoidance Response: Weakly electric fish respond to the envelope of social electrosensory signals”. J Exp Biol, 215:4196-4207, 2012 . [pdf] *Contributed equally. Ranked as one of the top 3 publications in 2012 in J Exp Biol. Highlighted in Inside JEB: “Gregarious Electric Fish Adjust to Maintain Social Envelope”

E. Roth, K. Zhuang, S. A. Stamper, E. S. Fortune, and N. J. Cowan. “Stimulus predictability mediates a switch in locomotor smooth pursuit performance for Eigenmannia virescens.” Journal of Experimental Biology. 214:1170-1180, 2011. [pdf] [Download cover illustration]

N. J. Cowan and E. S. Fortune. “The critical role of locomotion mechanics in decoding sensory systems.” Journal of Neuroscience, 27(5):1123-1128, 2007. [pdf]

Two LIMBS students tie the knot!

As proof that the LIMBS lab has a friendly lab culture (maybe too friendly?), LIMBS members Alican Demir and Erin Sutton tied the knot on January 3, 2015. All joking aside, warm congratulations, Alican and Erin!

Alican & Erin's Wedding

Alican Demir defends his PhD thesis

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On Thursday December 11 Alican Demir presented his PhD dissertation research to a packed seminar room at Johns Hopkins. Alican joined the lab as a Freshman in 2013, performed MSE thesis research in the lab, worked as a research specialist for a few years, and then completed his PhD, so his contributions have been monumental in shaping the LIMBS laboratory over the years. Congratulations Alican!

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