NeuroNex: Communication, Coordination, and Control in Neuromechanical Systems (C3NS)

Despite the apparent differences between animals and their behaviors, they all are subject to the same constraints. All animals use a nervous system to control their motions, which must follow the laws of physics. Therefore, this NeuroNex Research Network seeks to understand how animals move by studying animals of different sizes and with unique evolutionary histories: Vertebrates (mice, rats, and cats), mollusks (sea hares), and insects (fruit flies). The differences between these species will inform how physics and evolution have shaped the nervous system. Understanding motion across different organisms and scales may lead to robots with more graceful, coordinated motion. Additionally, this Network enhances the training of American engineers and scientists by exchanging post-doctoral trainees and students between laboratories, providing them opportunities to work with different model organisms, and broadening the trainees' education. The activities of this Network enrich existing outreach programs through interactions with international, interdisciplinary collaborators and allow for new, larger initiatives. Public demonstrations, day camps, and internships carried out as part of this project expose K-12 students to interdisciplinary research and international collaborators' ideas and culture. This Network also constructs exhibits at natural science museums in its major cities and develops an interactive website describing how very different animals solve similar problems.

Funding Agency: NSF - Div Of Biological Infrastructure

Project Period: 9/2020 - 8/2025

Abstract Page: NSF-2015317

To learn about the full collaborative network, please visit the Network Webpage.


Research team

Victoria Webster-Wood headshot

Victoria Webster-Wood

Associate Professor
Mechanical Engineering

Courtesy appointments
Biomedical Engineering, Robotics Institute

Michael Bennington headshot

Michael Bennington


Research Interests
biomechanics, neuromechanics, biorobotics, and computational modeling
Kevin Dai headshot

Kevin Dai


Research Interests
bio-robots and controls
Ravesh Sukhnandan headshot

Ravesh Sukhnandan


Research Interests
soft robots, bioinspired robots, muscle mechanics

Peer-reviewed publications

For a full list of network publications, visit the C3NS neuronex publications page.