Current Lab Members

Pawel Romanczuk : PI
Pawel Romanczuk, PI

Pawel has a back ground in theoretical physicist and is interested in application of statistical physics and stochastic processes to biological and ecological problems. He has worked on mathematical models of collective motion in biology, as well as related problems of pattern formation and self-propelled motion. Among other things he is currently interested in the question how collective behavior is shaped and constrained by locally available sensory information, how to determine causal information flows between individuals in animal groups, and how do animal and human groups process information  in a collective way.

pawel.romanczuk - at -
Luis Gomez : Postdoctoral Researcher (SCIoI)
Luis Gomez, Postdoctoral Researcher (SCIoI)
Luis did his PhD in physics at the University of Nice, in France. He has been working on modelling collective behavior in multi-agent biological systems at different scales (from microscopical bacterial systems up to macroscopical herds of sheep), where he aims to understand the emergent phenomenologies observed in these natural systems. He has experience on planning/performing experiments, as well as in proposing and studying theoretical models and implementing numerical simulations (mainly in C++ and Python). He is currently studying highly synchronized diving behavior in dense fish schools, characterizing the information spread within the group, as well as the critical properties of the system. This study is a first important step of his main project, which involves studying how animal collectives learn (Intelligent Swarm Behavior).
Winnie Poel : Pre-doctoral Researcher
Winnie Poel, Pre-doctoral Researcher

Winnie is currently studying fundamental properties of visual networks and complex contagion with applications to collective behavior of locusts and fish. She has a background in theoretical physics and has previously studied the formation of patterns on networks of nonlinear oscillators. More specifically, she focused on the influence of the network topology on pattern formation. She has a broad interest in dynamic processes on networks, such as the spreading of information or diseases, and was already engaged in research of social influence in human groups as a student assistant.

winnie.poel - at -
Pascal Klamser : Pre-doctoral Researcher
Pascal Klamser, Pre-doctoral Researcher

Pascal plans to work on modeling collective response to threats, and analysis of causal information flows in fish schools. He has a background in data analysis, anticipation or prediction of tipping points and in opinion dynamics on time evolving networks. The latter involved studies in which zealots where introduced, whose opinion can not be altered by other agents. Specifically the spreading of their opinion in dependence on their degree was of interest.

klamser - at -
Yinong Zhao : Pre-doctoral Researcher
Yinong Zhao, Pre-doctoral Researcher

Yinong did his undergraduate has a background in mathematics and applied mathematics and did his Master in System Theory at the Beijing Normal University. He is interested in fundamental aspects of complex systems with a particular focus on emergence and stability of collective states. Currently, he explores the ability to distinguish two fundamental types of (social) interaction, both leading to emergence of collective motion at large scales, through observations of the collective dynamics of corresponding agent-based models.

Fritz Francisco : Pre-doctoral Researcher (SCIoI)
Fritz Francisco, Pre-doctoral Researcher (SCIoI)

Fritz is a second year graduate student and gained most of his academic training in classical biology while transitioning through the fields of marine biology and ethology. He has been working on social interactions and collective behavior in fish, both in controlled lab situations and under natural conditions in the field.

Currently his work in close collaboration with David Bierbach at the Humbold University, as part of the interdisciplinary Science of Intelligence Excellence Cluster, focuses on collective learning and information processing in multi-agent systems. More specifically, he is interested in the processes by which information is acquired, shared and applied, scaling from the individual to the collective.

Mohsen Raoufi : Pre-doctoral Researcher (SCIoI)
Mohsen Raoufi, Pre-doctoral Researcher (SCIoI)

Mohsen received his Master’s degree in Dynamics and Control from Sharif University of Technology with a study on state estimation of nonlinear dynamic systems using a swarm-intelligence-based optimization algorithm. His research interest is mainly focused on swarm robotics, collective decision-making, as well as control theory and estimation. His focus is on bio-inspired collective decision-making methods for robot swarms. As a member of the Science of Intelligence cluster, he works on a project that aims to study the effect of the individual modulations on the collective behavior, in general, and the effect of such adaptations on the collective speed-vs-accuracy trade-offs, in particular.

Kai Winkler : Master student
Kai Winkler, Master student

Kai Winkler is a master student in biophysics at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. In our lab he works currently on his student project, which eventually shall develop in his master thesis. The topic of his work is the evolution of social strategies in agent-based models,  and in particular the role of the landscape topology and agent motility.

Janosch Brandhorst : Master student
Janosch Brandhorst, Master student

Janosch is a student in the biophysics master program at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. Currently, he is working on his study project, which eventually shall become his master project on evolution of social interaction strategies in agent-based models  with spatio-temporally varying  resource landscapes. He is in particular interested in the evolution of stable mulit-agent associations (multicellularity).

Linda Tillert : Master Student
Linda Tillert, Master Student

Linda is a M.Sc. Biophysics student at Humboldt University of Berlin. In her master thesis she is working on an agent-based model with heterogeneous speeds to investigate the role of individual speed in collective dynamics.

Current Visitors

Former Members & Visitors

Saskia Grabe : Master student
Saskia Grabe, Master student

Saskia is a graduate student in biophysics. Her study project and master thesis investigate various aspects of evolutionary dynamics and collective information processing in agent-based flocking models.

Rachith Aiyappa : Visiting Master Student
Rachith Aiyappa, Visiting Master Student

Rachith did his Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering and Master's in Physics at BITS-Pilani, India. During his final semester, he visited the Romanczuk lab to pursue his master's thesis between January - May 2019. During this time, following his interest in collective behaviour and complex systems, he worked on modelling collective information cascades in adaptive networks. Particularly, he aimed at building a model which couples the dynamics on the network with the dynamics of the network topology. To model the former, he drew motivation from the Dodds-Watts model of contagion and the LIF model of neuronal dynamics. To model the latter, he drew motivation from the startling cascades commonly observed in biological systems such as fish schools.

Mariya Savinov : Research Intern
Mariya Savinov, Research Intern

Mariya joined us from University of Pittsburgh as a RISE intern in our lab, In her project, she worked with Winnie on developing a visual interaction model combining structure adaptation of fish schools together with cascading complex contagion process (startle cascades).

Haider Klenz : Master Student
Haider Klenz, Master Student
Haider is studying Biophysics and is currently working
on his master's thesis in our group. The project involves
information transfer and startling-cascades in fish schools,
specific to our field research in Mexico. He tries to
research the characteristics of these cascades through agent-based
Andrej Warkentin : Master Student
Andrej Warkentin, Master Student

Andrej has a background in computer science and computational neuroscience. He did his his Master project in our lab, within the Computation Neuroscience Master program at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience. In his thesis he developed and analyzed a neuronal model for startle response in schooling fish.

Claudia Winklmayr : Master Student
Claudia Winklmayr, Master Student

Claudia was a graduate student at the Bernstein Computational Neuroscience Master program. As an undergraduate she studied Applied Mathematics and Philosophy at the TU Wien. Her thesis project was on agent-based models of collective decision making and the wisdom of crowds with unreliable and correlated information cues.

Stephan Meschede : Master student
Stephan Meschede, Master student

Stephan studied physics at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. In his master thesis project in our lab, he worked on mathematical models of Placozoa (Trichoplax Adhaerens), one of the simplest multicellular animals. Here, he explored how these fascinating, yet little known, animals are able coordinate their motion and explore their environment effectively despite lacking a central nervous system and any apparent hierarchical body plan.

Carsten Roesner : Bachelor Student
Carsten Roesner, Bachelor Student

Carsten worked as an undergraduate in Biophysics at the HU between September 2018 and March 2019 on his student research project and his bachelor thesis project in our lab. In his study project he worked on quantitative analysis of large-scale startle wave propagation in video recordings performed during our field research in Mexico, while in his thesis project he implemented and analyzed an evolutionary model for collective predator response motivated by the Mexico field system.

Franziska Plehn : Bachelor Student
Franziska Plehn, Bachelor Student

Franziska was an undergraduate in Biology at the Humboldt University. In our lab she works on her student research project and bachelor thesis on modeling and simulating the leadership experiments performed at the Robofish Lab using individual-based models of social behavior.

Bugra Kadir Arikan : Research Intern
Bugra Kadir Arikan, Research Intern

Bugra was an research intern in our lab up to September 2018. He just graduated from the Istanbul Technical University in Electrical and Communication Engineering, and works in our group on emergent dynamics in agent-based models of consensus formation.


Parisa Rahmani : Visiting PhD Student
Parisa Rahmani, Visiting PhD Student

Parisa works on her PhD at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences (IASBS) Zanjan, Iran. Her broad interests are soft condensed matter physics, biophysics, statistical physics, computational physics,
and complex systems. She was visiting our lab between June 2017 and June 2018, where she worked with Pawel Romanczuk on the role of different interaction networks on collective behavior of self-propelled agents in heterogeneous environments and in the presence of informed individuals.

Alexandra (Olenka) Jain : Research Intern
Alexandra (Olenka) Jain, Research Intern

Olenka is an undergraduate student in physics at Harvard University. Between June and August 2018, she was as a research intern in our lab through the DAAD RISE Program. During her internship she worked mainly with Pascal Klamser on coarse-grained mathematical description of the escape response in large fish schools.

Conor McBride : Research Intern
Conor McBride, Research Intern

Conor, a physics undergraduate from University of St Andrews (Scotland), spent three months in our lab during summer 2017 as a research intern  (RISE program / DAAD) working with Pascal Klamser and Pawel Romanczuk. Conor worked on a project involving using a convolutional neural network to detect fish in complex video data from our field research in Mexico.  In particular, he wrote a program that takes the fish object detected by the neural network and connects individuals across frames in the video. Conor was able to achieve a significant improvement of the fish detection by reducing false positive detection via filtering the neural network output based on the length of trajectories obtained from this chaining process.

Rachana Balasubramanian : Research Intern
Rachana Balasubramanian, Research Intern

Rachana visited us in June/July 2016 just after her first year in computer science at Princeton University. During her internship she worked for 6 weeks on analysis of video data of fright waves in dense fish schools, recorded during our 2016 field trip to Mexico in collaboration with colleagues from Berlin, Princeton and Konstanz.

Ishan Levy : Research Intern
Ishan Levy, Research Intern

Ishan worked in our group in May/June 2016 just after finishing his first year studying Mathematics at Princeton University. He worked with Pawel Romanczuk for 6 weeks on collective information processing in agent-based models of flocking. More specifically he studied the response of a flock to a predator agent using computer simulations.

Clark Vaughn : Research Intern
Clark Vaughn, Research Intern

Clark visited our lab in June/July 2017 as an architecture undergraduate at Princeton University. He explored during his internship the modeling of complex systems with Python. In particular, he analyzed an cellular automata model of an excitable system as a coarse-grained model for spreading of startling response cascades and sustained startling waves in large-scale, high-density fish populations.