Daniel Margoliash


Welcome to our lab web page. I was trained by Mark Konishi during my graduate studies at Caltech and by Nobuo Suga during my postdoctoral studies at Washington University. In our own work we try to maintain the neuroethological perspective that their work has so elegantly embodied. dan   @ (please remove spaces)

Current Lab Members



Kyler Brown


I am a second year student in computational neuroscience, interested in the acquisition and control of motor sequences. I use zebra finch song behavior, biophysical models of song production, and neurophysiology to explore the neural basis of vocal behavior.


Graham Fetterman


I am a fourth-year Neurobiology student, interested in the neural dynamics of song production.


Sofija Canavan


I am an MD/PhD student in the Computational Neuroscience program. I'm interested in the functions and evolutionary origins of sleep and its interaction with learning and memory.


Nelson Medina


I am a second year student in neurobiology, interested in the cellular mechanisms of learning and information storage.



Henry D. I. Abarbanel


Physics Department and Scripps Institution of Oceanography

University of California, San Diego

Visiting Member of the Margoliash Laboratory, University of Chicago

We consider how one can determine the structure of complex nonlinear systems. Using ideas from nonlinear dynamics and statistical physics, we have developed exact integral representations of the way model systems behave when information from experimental and field measurements from the system they model are presented to them. This representation, in practical use with approximations designed for the biophysical or physical system at hand, allows accurate estimates of the state and parameters of the model. This allows the model, a dynamical rule for predicting future behavior of the system, to be used for forecasting.

In the Margoliash lab we work with individual neurons and small circuits of neurons from the songbird system with our start being an analysis of the song production pathway: HVC-->RA-->brainstem-->songbox.

Slice experiments are done on individual neurons in these nuclei, and their electrophysiological properties are inferred from short time series. These become the ingredients for the larger circuits comprising the song production pathway.

Abarbanel, H. D. I., P. Bryant, P. E. Gill, M. Kostuk, J. Rofe, Z. Singer, B. Toth, and E. Wong, "Dynamical Parameter and State Estimation in Neuron Models," to appear in Oxford University Press volume ``Neuronal Variability and its Functional Significance,'' edited by Mingzhou Ding and D. Glanzman, November, 2009.

Abarbanel, H. D. I., D. R. Creveling, R. Farsian, and M. Kostuk, ``Dynamical State and Parameter Estimation,'' SIAM J. Appl. Dyn. Syst. 8, 1341-1381 (2009) .

Quinn, J. C., P. H. Bryant, D. R. Creveling, S. R. Klein, and H. D. I. Abarbanel, ``State and Parameter and State Estimation of Experimental Chaotic Systems Using Synchronization,''Physical Review E 80 016201 (2009).

Gibb, L. T. Q. Gentner, and H. D. I. Abarbanel, ``Inhibition and Recurrent Excitation in a Computational Model of Sparse Bursting in Song Nucleus HVC,'' Journal of Neurophysiology (2009) Jun 10. [Epub ahead of print]

Gibb, L. T. Q. Gentner, and H. D. I. Abarbanel, ``Brainstem Feedback in a Computational Model of Birdsong Sequencing,'' Journal of Neurophysiology (2009) Jun 24. [Epub ahead of print]


Gabriel Mindlin



Howard C. Nusbaum


Support Staff



Daniel D Baleckaitis


Lab Manager: I've been with the lab for more than 18 years and my responsibilities include training people, Histology, building stuffs, troubleshooting and helping to maintain the lab.  I hve an unique skill-set and try to combine my interests into everyday work e.g. watchmaking, brewing beer (See What I'm Brewing), woodworking and photography.

One of my Photo Sites

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Past Lab Members


Post-Doc PhD


Former Staff

2003 2003 2003