Category: news (page 2 of 8)

UWIN faculty member John Tuthill named 2017 Searle Scholar

UWIN faculty member John Tuthill has been named a 2017 Searle Scholar!  The Searle Scholars Program supports “exceptional young faculty in the biomedical sciences and chemistry”, seeking out those with “the most creative talent” working on high-risk, high-reward projects.  His research investigates the “Transformation of Somatosensory Signals from Sensory Input to Motor Output.”  In addition to this honor, Dr. Tuthill was also recently awarded a prestigious Sloan Fellowship.

More information about the Searle Scholars program is at:

April UWIN seminar: Melina Hale, University of Chicago

UWIN’s April seminar features a talk by visiting speaker Melina Hale from the University of Chicago’s Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy.

Her talk is entitled: “Mechanosensation by deformable biological structures and its role in behavior”

The seminar is on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 3:30pm in Husky Union Building (HUB) 337.  Refreshments will be served prior to the talk.


Abstract: My lab examines the mechanosensation and movement of fish fins and bodies, flexible structures that power locomotion and function in a range of other behaviors. We examine morphology and physiology of mechanosensory neurons, neural circuit structure, biomechanics, and locomotor movements to determine how mechanosensation modulates movement. We also compare mechanosensation across species to explore its evolution. I will discuss these projects and how they are informing our approach to the mechanosensory design of engineered, deformable structures.

March UWIN seminar: Short talks by Beth Buffalo and Matt Reynolds

UWIN’s March seminar features a pair of short talks by Beth Buffalo and Matt Reynolds:

  • “Advances and challenges in large-scale neuronal recordings from the primate brain”Beth Buffalo, Professor, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Washington
  • “Electromagnetics Meets Biology”Matt Reynolds, Associate Professor, Departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington

The seminar is on Wednesday, March 8th, at 3:30pm in Husky Union Building (HUB) 337.  Refreshments will be served prior to the talks.



“Advances and challenges in large-scale neuronal recordings from the primate brain” (Beth Buffalo):

While it has long been recognized that medial temporal lobe structures are important for memory formation, studies in rodents have also identified exquisite spatial representations in these regions in the form of place cells in the hippocampus and grid cells in the entorhinal cortex.  Spatial representations entail neural activity that is observed when the rat is in a given physical location, and these representations are thought to form the basis of navigation via path integration.  However, our understanding of similar representations in the primate brain is limited. In this talk, I will discuss ongoing work from my laboratory involving chronic, large-scale recordings throughout the primate hippocampus while monkeys navigate through virtual environments, with the overarching goal of furthering our understanding of the function of the hippocampus and the nature of the cognitive map.

“Electromagnetics Meets Biology” (Matt Reynolds):

This talk will demystify some of the engineering challenges faced by designers of wireless devices that must function in and around animals. Motivated by example bio/electronic systems ranging from a tiny wireless backpack for neural recording in flying dragonflies, to a wireless real-time neural recording uplink for neuroscience research in non-human primates, I will discuss key questions such as, “How much power can we safely transfer through biological tissue?” and “How fast can we get data out of the brain?” I will explain the design process for on-body and in-body power and data communication networks, and present some ideas for the cyborgs of the future.

UWIN faculty member John Tuthill awarded prestigious Sloan Fellowship

UWIN faculty member John Tuthill has been awarded a prestigious early-career fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  These fellowships “honor those early-career scholars whose achievements mark them as the next generation of scientific leaders”

Publicity on John’s exception achievement is below:

UWIN industry panel on starting companies on 2/15

On February 15, 2017, UWIN will host an industry panel on starting companies, featuring:

  • Chris Diorio, UW Associate Professor of Computer Science & Engineering and CEO and Founder of Impinj, a developer of RFID technology.
  • Carlos Guestrin, UW Amazon Professor of Machine Learning in Computer Science & Engineering and Director of Machine Learning at Apple.  He is the founder of Turi (formerly Dato, Inc.) and GraphLab, a machine learning modeling tool for developers and data scientists.
  • Chris Own, founder of Voxa, an advanced electron optics manufacturing firm focused on transforming analytical nanoscale imaging.  He is also the founder of Ack! Industries.

Students, postdocs, faculty, and staff from all backgrounds are invited to attend!  Panelists will talk about their path to and experience with startup companies and take your questions.

The panel is on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 3:30pm in the Husky Union Building (HUB) room 340.  Refreshments will be served prior to the panel.

Please note: Eli Shlizerman was originally scheduled as part of the panel but is no longer able to participate.

Applications open for 2017 UWIN undergraduate and post-baccalaureate fellowships

Applications are now open for the 2017 WRF Innovation Undergraduate and Post-baccalaureate Fellowships in Neuroengineering.   Applications are due by Friday, March 10, 2017.  These fellowships provide up to $6000 to support undergraduate and post-baccalaureate researchers committed to working in UWIN faculty labs.  More information about these fellowships can be found in the links below:

Highlights from the 2017 Neural Computation and Engineering Connection

The 2017 Neural Computation and Engineering Connection took place on January 19-20, 2017, and UWIN postdoctoral fellow Michael Beyeler wrote up an excellently thorough summary of all of the talks given.  Read about it at:

UWIN faculty member Emily Fox awarded 2017 Presidential Early Career Award

UWIN faculty member Emily Fox has been awarded a 2017 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. This is the highest honor given by the U.S. government to scientists and engineers in the early stages of their independent research careers.  Dr. Fox was nominated for this award by the National Science Foundation for her “groundbreaking work in large-scale Bayesian modeling and computational approaches to time series and longitudinal data analysis, and for outstanding outreach and mentoring of women in computer science and statistics.”

Read more at:

Register for the 2017 Neural Computation and Engineering Connection

The 2017 Neural Computation and Engineering Connection will be held on the afternoon of Thursday, January 19 and all day Friday, January 20.  This event brings together the UW neuroengineering and computational neuroscience communities, and also brings in a number of exciting invited plenary speakers, including Marcia O’Malley (Rice), Maria Geffen (University of Pennsylvania), and Michael Berry (Princeton).  Local speakers include Ariel Rokem (UW eScience), Daniela Witten (UW Statistics & Biostatistics), Steve Brunton (UW Mechanical Engineering), Jason Yeatman (UW Speech and Hearing Sciences), and Saskia de Vries (Allen Institute for Brain Science).

Registration is free but required.  Please register at:  Registration closes on Monday, January 9th.

Thursday’s events will be at the CSNE (Russell Hall Suite 204, 1414 NE 42nd St.), and Friday’s events will be at the Husky Union Building (HUB) room 250, with an evening reception in HUB 145.

A full schedule will be available closer to the event at:

Please note: John Krakauer was originally scheduled as part of the program but is no longer able to attend.

December UWIN seminar: Matt Smear, University of Oregon

picture-1856UWIN’s December seminar features a talk by visiting speaker Matt Smear from the University of Oregon’s Department of Psychology and Institute of Neuroscience.

His talk is entitled: “Concentration change detectors in the olfactory bulb”

The seminar is on Wednesday, December 14th, at 3:30pm in Health Sciences Building G-328.  Refreshments will be served prior to the talk across the hall in room G-317.  Click here for a map of the Health Sciences Building.

Abstract: Brains operate in dynamic environments. Sensory systems prioritize stimulus changes, as evidenced by the many neuronal mechanisms devoted to comparing sensory inputs across time. My lab has been studying an ethologically relevant form of delayed comparison: detection of odor concentration changes across sequential sniffs (hereafter called ΔCt). Rodents use ΔCt as a guidance cue during olfactory navigation, a behavior that is crucial to their livelihood. To study ΔCt processing, we have developed an odor stimulation system which can change odor concentration with unprecedented speed. Combining this system with electrophysiological recordings in awake head-fixed mice, we have discovered that a subset of neurons in the olfactory bulb are ΔCt sensitive – they strongly modulate their firing rate when odor concentration changes. By studying this system, we hope to uncover fundamental principles underlying our ability to follow along as the external world changes.

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