I am fascinated by almost all areas of basic sciences and in particular physics, ecology and evolution, but I try to limit myself to studying (a) collective animal behaviour (with a focus on evolutionary aspects and self-organized pattern formation), (b) self-organized spatial patterns in vegetation of semi-arid ecosystems (c) building simple yet “predictive” models of abrupt changes in complex dynamical systems. Prior to joining IISc, I was a postdoc in the group of Iain Couzin at Princeton University; and I did my PhD in Physics at The Ohio State University working with Prof. C Jayaprakash on theoretical ecology. My undergraduate education (Integrated MSc in Physics) was at IIT Kanpur.
Click here for a Curriculum Vitae.
Cassandre Aimon: I am a biologist with a special interest in animal behaviour and especially in fish. I have joined Dr. Vishwesha Guttal’s lab at IISc in October 2021 as a post-doctoral fellow to investigate the inter-individual interactions involved in information transfer during collective threat avoidance in mobile animal groups. This collaborative project with Pr. Guy Theraulaz from CNRS is funded by the CEFIPRA. In this project I use empirical and theoretical approaches including a method of aversive conditioning that mimics a natural threat detection event. This allows us to introduce perturbations in a controlled manner in the fish school and study how the information limited to only the trained individuals propagate through the entire school. Our data-driven modelling approach considers the stochastic nature of interactions in groups and finite group size aspects. This will enable us to quantitatively understand how local information transfers to the group-level collective response. Previously, I did my PhD at the University of Bretagne Occidentale in France. I have studied the behavioural and physiological response of fish to diverse changes in environmental conditions (food shortage, oil spill, mild hypercapnia). I have examined individual and social behaviours as well as individual energy metabolism as proxies of environmental disruption for the animals. In the past, I also worked on crab and mussel species.
Aakanksha Rathore is a visiting post-doctoral researcher from Max Planck Institute of Animal Behaviour, Konstanz, Germany. She obtained her PhD from our own lab (joingly with Kavita Isvaran) at CES. Akanksha’s PhD thesis was on collective behaviour of blackbuck herds, using field work, technology of drones, deep learning for image processes, and social network analyses to infer animal behaviour. Prior to that graduated from MNIT Jaipur with a B.tech in Information Technology. Subsequently, she worked as a software developer at SAP Labs for two years. Over the course of two years her inclination towards nature escalated to a point where it became inconceivable to work on anything else. So, she decided to break free and joined Nature Conservation Foundation in 2014.
You can check Akanksha’s publications here!
Vivek Hari Sridhar and Hemal Naik are two other visiting post-doctoral researchers from Max Planck Institute of Animal Behaviour, Konstanz, Germany. They, along with Akanksha, are working on blackbuck lekking behaviour!
Nitin Saxena (joint student with Kavita Isvaran): I am broadly interested in evolution and animal behaviour. I did my B.tech in Biotechnology from Jaipur National University. Soon after I joined as a project assistant in Dr. Vishwesha Guttal’s lab at CES in Jan 2014. Here I was trying to understand the pattern of evolution of collective movement in fish and birds across various taxa using phylogenetic approach. This built the basis for my current PhD work (started in Aug 2016) where I am looking into the evolution of migration in birds and interaction of different selection pressures in shaping the course of evolution. Among various other things that I love to try, I have found myself really engrossed with, is the idea of teaching and making learning a more fun and comprehensive experience. I would love to continue with my interests in the long run.
Shuaib: It was the BS-MS degree of IISER TVM that gave me a great exposure to different fields of science. I chose Biology as my major as my primary motivations was Evolutionary biology and Ecology. How humankind treats the natural resources in current world scenario and its effects on the existence of life on earth concerns me a lot. I strongly believe that various adversities faced in the modern world will be solved in future by the insights we will be acquiring from the studies related to nature and life. I am fascinated to continue my pursuit here at TEE Lab, being a part of it as a PhD student.
Tanveen Kaur Randhawa: I am a B.Tech. graduate in Biotechnology from IIT Roorkee. In 2015, I joined a biotech company, Thermofisher Scientific in Bangalore and worked for 10 months. Following that, I worked with Teach for India as a fellow (teacher) for 4 months. Post that, I took a break from work and was introduced to evolution and ecology through people working in the field, books and online resources. In 2017, I tried conducting a study on species-diversity of anurans in Bannerghatta National Park. I volunteered for a project on mating system in katydids under Rohini Balakrishnan. I am very fascinated about different facets of evolution and behaviour, and the history of life on Earth.
Vivek Jadhav: I graduated in 2020 from IISER Mohali with a masters in Physics. I am broadly interested in understanding collective behavior employing computational and theoretical methods. Previously, I have worked on developing game theoretical models to understand patterns in parental roles. For my Ph.D. work, I will be looking at the functional significance of collective motion.
Jahanvi Tiwari: I am fascinated by the idea of evolution and enjoy learning more about it. I did my BSc from Kumaon University, Nainital and Masters in Entomology from GB Pant University, Pantnagar. During my Masters thesis, I have worked on the biology, behaviour and ecofriendly management of wax moth. I have also worked on entomopathogenic fungus and bacteria under insect pathology and their utilization in sustainable agriculture. I have joined Dr. Vishwesha Guttal’s lab at IISc in July, 2022 as a Ph.D. student. Here, I will be broadly working on collective behaviour of fish schools and also maybe I can bring swarming insects to the lab. In my free time, I enjoy taking pictures of insects whenever I spot one.
UG/Masters Students (2022-23)
Shikhara Bhat — a BS-MS student from IISER Pune — is working jointly with our lab and Prof Rohini Balakrishnan’s lab on new approaches, especially space, to understand discrete phenotypic polymorphisms.
Check Shikhara’s webpage here: https://thepandalorian.github.io
Chandan Relekar — a BS-MS student from IISc (physics) — will work on semi-arid vegetation patterns using cellular automata models and analytical tools.
You can check out various cool animations of his project works here: https://chanrt.github.io/
Ashish Eradath — a BS-MS student from IISER Behrampur (bio) — will work on high resolution satellite imagery of semi-arid vegetation patterns.
Akshay Sanjeev — a BS-MS student from IISER Kolkata (bio) — will work on fish schooling experiments.