Dinesh Natesan

Neuroscientist · Electronics Engineer · ex-Entrepreneur
University of California, Santa Barbara

About me

I am currently a postdoc at Sung Soo Kim’s lab at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I am using fruit flies as a model system to combine its powerful genetic toolbox with neuroimaging techniques. I will the investigate the neural circuits controlling complex behaviors in fruit flies.

I completed my joint PhD in Neuroscience and Computer Science, co-advised by Prof. Sanjay P. Sane and Prof. Örjan Ekeberg. I used behavioral and electrophysiological experiments in conjunction with control theoretic and neural circuit models to understand antennal positioning in insects.

I am an engineer-turned-neuroscientist (much like many others out there). Before grad school, I finished my undergraduate from Birla Institute of Technology, Pilani with a rather weird (read: fun) 5-year dual degree in Electronics (bachelors) and Biology (masters). After a brief internship in the industry (Texas Instruments, Bangalore), I decided I should first experiment with scientific research before settling into the industry. One thing led to another, and I enrolled for a PhD with Sanjay and Örjan through the Erasmus Mundus backed EuroSPIN graduate program.

I later experimented with entrepreneurship as well. From 2019 to mid-2020, taking advantage of the lag phase between paper submission and acceptance, I co-founded LightSpeedAI Labs, a startup focused on developing optical computing hardware for ML/AI algorithms. This arose from an interest in machine learning, which began as coursework and then flourished into running journal clubs and workshops.

Recently, I returned to academia after realizing that my true passion exists in the realm of scientific discovery, especially in the field of neuroethology.

About the website

The website serves two uses - as an archive and as a blog. The archive catalogues intellectual pursuits I think might be interesting to others (and also the future me, who will have far less neurons and is unlikely to remember all these endeavors). The blog serves as a means to write clearly (i.e. think clearly) about interesting topics and ideas. I firmly believe in the power of critical feedback to enable personal growth. Therefore, everything in this website is up for critique. I would love to hear from you about how I can make any aspect of what is written here better.


Jan 26, 2022 I am now an eLife ambassador! :sunglasses:
Nov 15, 2021 Joined Sung Soo Kim's lab as a postdoctoral researcher! :tada: :scientist:
Jun 23, 2021 Officially part of preLights and published my first highlight! :writing_hand:
Jan 3, 2021 Presented a contributed talk in SICB 2021! :microphone:
Dec 7, 2020 Defended the “Computer Science” part of my PhD (virtually) at KTH, Stockholm! PhD offically completed!! :mortar_board: :champagne:
Nov 21, 2020 (Virtually) Attended Janelia’s Junior Scientist Workshop on Cognitive Neuroscience! :nerd_face:
Sep 25, 2020 Successfully defended the “Neuroscience” part of my Joint PhD in NCBS, Bangalore! :tada: :sparkles: