Academic staff

Barbara1Barbara Webb studied Psychology at the University of Sydney and did her PhD in AI at the University of Edinburgh. She held lectureships in Nottingham and Stirling before joining  the School of Informatics in May 2003.
Her main research interest is in perceptual systems for the control of behaviour, in particular building computational and robotic models of insect behaviour. She also has an interest in theoretical issues of methodology; in particular the problems of measurement, modeling and simulation.

Research staff


Evripidis Gkanias studied Computer Science at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in the University of Edinburgh (UK). He worked as Research Assistant in Centre for Research and Technology – Hellas doing human motion analysis of athletes performance in a variety of sports (RePlay project). He also worked as Research Assistant in the University of Edinburgh implementing computational and neural models of the Mushroom Body of the Drosophila larvae and testing their behaviour on robots (MINIMAL project). He is currently working as a Research Assistant on extracting useful features from polarised light, and applying them on the ants’ navigation system (Invisible project). His research interests incude machine learning, computer vision and mulimodal integration in population codes.

BSc (Hons) Computer Science/Information Systems, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 2008-2013
MSc Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, The University of Edinburgh. 2015-2016

Daniela Pacella holds a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Plymouth, a MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience (Universita’ Luigi Vanvitelli, Naples) and a BSc in Psychology (Universita’ Federico II, Naples). She mainly worked on the application of different recurrent and deep neural networks architectures for virtual agent navigation and natural language processing (ENACT Project) and game development (Emodiscovery Project). Her main research interests are in computer vision, virtual reality and computational modelling of insect and human behaviour.

BSc (Hons) Psychology, Universita’ degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Naples (Italy) 2007-2010
MSc (R) Cognitive Neuroscience, Universita’ Luigi Vanvitelli, Naples (Italy) 2011-2013
PhD Artificial Intelligence, University of Plymouth, Plymouth (UK) 2014-2018

PhD students


TianqiTianqi Wei is mainly interested in robotics and neural networks. He is now working on mechanical design of a robot that mimics Drosophila larvae, and its control system inspired from neural circuit of Drosophila. The research is under supervision of Dr Barbara Webb and Dr Adam Stokes.

B.E., Mechatronical Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, 2009–2013

Jane Loveless is primarily interested in how brain, body, and environment interact to generate behaviour. Their research applies tools from computational neuroscience and classical physics to explore how the minimal nervous system of the Drosophila larva may exploit biomechanics to produce locomotion.

BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences (Neuroscience), University of Edinburgh, 2009–2014


David Wood is interested in using machine learning to analyse large data sets, specifically a large collection of light microscopy images of Drosophila Larval brains in order to extract anatomical information.  He is also using modelling to look at justification for the organisation of the larval Ventral Nerve Cord.

Master of Physics, University of Oxford
Master of Science by Research in Neuroinformatics, University of Edinburgh

JamesJames Garforth is interested in real time vision and navigation for robotics. He has previously worked on live scene reconstruction from the video data of a low-cost quadcopter and is currently investigating ways to improve robotic navigation in less structured environments such as forests. James is interested in the visual navigation capabilities of flying insects, such as the honey bee.

BSc (Hons) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, University of Edinburgh, 2007–2011
MSc (R) Robotics and Autonomous Systems, University of Edinburgh, 2014–2015

JanJan Stankiewicz is doing a doctoral training program with the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics and hopes to complete a PhD with the Insect Robotics group. He is currently researching insect navigation but aims to model the prey interception of a dragonfly when his PhD work begins. Between graduating from Sheffield in 2008 and starting at Edinburgh University in 2015 Jan worked as a systems engineer. He is interested in the biologically-inspired and multidisciplinary nature of the work performed by the insect robotics group.

MEng, Mechatronics, University of Sheffield
MSc (R) Robotics and Autonomous Systems, University of Edinburgh, 2015–2016

 Ioannis (John) Pisokas is fascinated by the organisation of brains and the situated behavioural repertoire they produce. His current focus is on modelling the Central Complex of the insect central neural system.

MSc in Artificial Intelligence, University of Edinburgh
BEng Electronics Engineering, Technological Institute of Piraeus, Greece.

Jamie Roberts

MSc students

UG students

  • Ramsey el Naggar
  • Andra Zaharia
  • Lorena Strechie
  • Lazar Lazarov
  • Sam Rust
  • Robert Mitchell




Former Research staff

Former PhD students

Former MSc students

  • Tom Appleyard (2015) – Building AntBot: a mobile-phone powered autonomous robot based on the insect brain.
  • Jordan Sewell (2015) – Tracking ants in their natural habitat using only hand-held video data.
  • Laurent Decamp (2015) – Tracking desert ants using visual cues
  • Corey Engelman (2014)
  • Shane Girish (2014)
  • Daniel Diaz-Bejerano (2014)
  • Matthias Lindor (2014)
  • Alexandros Asthenidis (2010) – Cricket-Cyborg: an insect-controlled robot
  • Ivan Cordon Medrano (2010) – Exploring Neural Models of Path Integration
  • Vladimir Ivan (2010) – Sonar-based Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping for Academic Robotic Platform

Former UG students

  • Aleksander Khodshabashev (2014) – Ant Trackball and Robot.