2018 is Banner Year for LIMBS Lab Research Grants

LIMBS Laboratory receives unprecedented funding

Multiple grants to study spatial representations in the brain with Jim Knierim

In collaboration with Jim Knierim, professor of neuroscience at the School of Medicine and the Krieger Mind/Brain Institute at Johns Hopkins University, we aim to further our understanding of the hippocampus, a component of the brain that plays a major role in learning, memory, and spatial navigation.The team has recently funding from two NIH grants, as well as a part of a $7.5M Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) project spearheaded by Daniel Koditschek (PI). Together the JHU Team’s research grant awards total about $5M to Johns Hopkins University.

Multiple grants to study human sensorimotor control with Amy Bastian.

Teaming up with Amy Bastian, the LIMBS laboratory has secured funding from the NIH and NSF to investigate visuomotor control in patients with cerebellar ataxia. One of these projects is a collaboration with Jim Freudenberg and Brent Gillespie at the University of Michigan.

Details of current awards to the LIMBS Laboratory

  • ARO #72929-EG-MUR: 09/01/2018–08/31/2023. “Science of Embodied Innovation, Learning and Control.” Investigators: Daniel E. Koditschek (U Penn, PI); Juliy Baryshnikov (UIUC), Robert J. Full & Lucia Jacobs (UC Berkeley), and Noah J. Cowan and Jame J. Knierim (JHU). Award: $7,500,000 (Subaward to JHU: $956,999).
  • NSF #1830893: 09/15/2018–08/31/2022. “EFRI C3 SoRo: Programming Thermobiochemomechanical (TBCM) Multiplex Robot Gels.” Investigators: David Gracias dgracias@jhu.edu (PI), Noah Cowan, Thao (Vicky) Nguyen, Rebecca Schulman. Award: $2,000,000 (Suballocation to NJC: ≈$500,000)
  • NIH-NINDS 2R01HD0402859-15: 09/01/2017–08/31/2022. “Mechanisms and Rehabilitation of Cerebellar Ataxia.” Investigators: Amy J. Bastian (KKI, PI) and Noah J. Cowan Agency: National Institutes of Health–NINDS.” Award: $30,000 (Amount of Subaward from KKI to Cowan, JHU).
  • NSF #1825489: 08/01/2018–07/31/2021. “Collaborative Research: Identifying Model-Based Motor Control Strategies to Enhance Human–Machine Interaction
    Investigators.” James S. Freudenberg (PI), Noah J. Cowan, R. Brent Gillespie, and Amy J. Bastian Award: $381,470 (Amount to Cowan, JHU/KKI).
  • NIH-NIMH 1R01MH118926-01: 7/01/2018–3/31/2023. “CRCNS Research Proposal: Collaborative Research: Dynamics of Gain Recalibration in the Hippocampal-Entorhinal Path Integration System.” Investigators: James J. Knierim (PI), Noah J. Cowan, Kechen Zhang, and Kathryn R. Hedrick. Award: $1,488,302 (Suballocation to NJC: $547,227)
  • NIH-NINDS 1R21NS103113: 07/01/2017–06/30/2019. “Using Feedback Control to Suppress Seizure Genesis in Epilepsy.” Investigators: Sridevi Sarma (PI), Noah J. Cowan. Award: $410,437 (To NJC: ≈$29,000).
  • NIH-NINDS 5R01NS102537-02: 07/01/2017–06/30/2022. “A Control Theoretic Approach to Addressing Hippocampal Function.” Investigators: Noah J. Cowan (PI) and James J. Knierim. Award: $2,095,459 (≈ split between PI’s).
  • NSF-IOS #1557858: 04/01/2016–03/31/2020. “Collaborative Research: Neural Mechanisms of Active Sensing Investigators: Noah J. Cowan (PI) and Eric S. Fortune.” Award: $425,000 (To JHU)

Brittany Nixon wins second place at NSF REU Presentation Contest!

LIMBS Lab summer REU student Brittany Nixon won Second Place out of 15 talks at the annual JHU / LCSR Summer REU Program for her excellent oral presentation entitled “A Mathematical Model of the Fish Tracking Response of the Weakly Electric Glass Knifefish”. Special thanks to her mentor Ismail Uyanik.


Left: A day in the lab. Right: Brittany & Ismail at Brittany’s poster the day before.

Brittany joins a long list of successful REU students from the LIMBS lab!

2010: Rohan Ramesh (1st Place), Rachel Jackson (2nd Place)
2012: Daniel Price (1st Place)
2016:  Luke Arend (1st Place)
2018: Brittany Nixon (2nd Place)

Introducing Dr. Erin Sutton!

On July 6, 2016, Erin Sutton successfully defended her PhD Dissertation “Bioelectric Sensing and Navigation: Multimodal Control in Electric Fish and Endovascular Interventions”, becoming the 10th PhD graduate of the LIMBS Laboratory.

Congrats 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.

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