Dr Vivek Nityananda
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6246
- Address: Institute of Neuroscience,
Henry Wellcome Building for Neuroecology,
University of Newcastle,
Newcastle upon Tyne,
Ph.D., Animal Behaviour, Indian Institute of Science
M.Sc. Biological Sciences, Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences, Pilani
College for Life Sciences Fellow, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Institute for Advanced Study
Marie Curie Research Fellow, Queen Mary University of London
Human Frontiers Science Program Research Fellow, Queen Mary University of London
Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Minnesota
Grants, Fellowships and Awards
2019 BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship
2018 Best Postdoc Paper Prize, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University
2017 Shortlisted for Times Higher Education Research Project of the Year (STEM)
2016 Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Institute of Advanced Study, College for Life Sciences fellowship
2016 Wellcome Trust Small Arts Award (for a play about insect senses with Cap-A-Pie Theatre, Newcastle)
2016 EngageFMS- Creative Arts Practice Award (for a play about insect senses with Cap-A-Pie Theatre, Newcastle)
2015 Great North Museum Fellowship for Public Engagement
2014 Centre for Behaviour and Evolution Small Grant (with Dr Ronny Rosner and Dr Ghaith Tarawneh)
2012 Centre for Ecology and Evolution Research Grant (with Dr Shakti Lamba)
2011 Marie Curie Incoming International Fellowship
2010 Human Frontiers in Science Program Long Term Fellowship
2009 Shyamrao Kaikini Award for best PhD thesis in Ecology, Indian Institute of Science
2018- present Academic Editor, PLoS One
2015 - present Member, Executive committee, Centre for Behaviour and Evolution, Newcastle University
2014 - present Member, Equality and Diversity Committee, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University
2014 – present Member, Postdoctoral committee, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University
2012 – 2013 Joint postdoctoral representative, Research Strategy Group, Queen Mary University of London
2012 - 2013 Joint secretary, London Evolutionary Research Network, a society for post-graduate students and postdoctoral researchers engaged in evolutionary research.
Reviewer for the following journals:
PLoS Biology, Royal Society Interface, Behavioural Ecology, Scientific Reports, Functional Ecology, Animal Behaviour, Psychological Science, Journal of Comparative Physiology A, PLoS One, Current Opinion in Insect Science, Ecological Entomology, Ethology, Resonance, Current Science
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SCOPUS: Click here.
News: I've been awarded a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship to research attention-like processes in insects. I'll be setting up my own lab from June 2019 and advertising opportunities soon - get in touch if you'd like to know more or collaborate.
My research is multidisciplinary and combines ecology, evolutionary biology, neuroscience and psychophysics to study animal behaviour. I use a variety of techniques as part of my research, including behavioural observations, experiments, neurophysiology and agent-based modelling of neural and evolutionary processes. My work combines diverse approaches to provide an integrative understanding of behaviour.
1. Attention-like processes in insects
Insect brains are orders of magnitude smaller than primate brains. Ye they solve several of the same visual problems that primates do - often with smart, efficient solutions. One of the most important of these problems is that of selective attention - choosing one target and ignoring the distractors, something that is vital for foraging or avoiding predators. I've been awarded a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship to investigate how insects manage to do so by combining insights from neuroscience, psychology and ecology. The research will also investigate the role these attention-like processes play in pollination and in particular how pesticides might affect the sensory systems of pollinators. The aims are thus to further advance the rapid recent progress of research into insect visual processing and enhance our understanding of the effect of pesticides on pollinator health.
2. Stereo vision in the praying mantis
I'm currently investigating the mechanisms underlying stereo vision in the praying mantis as part of a project funded by a Leverhulme Trust grant to Prof Jenny Read. Praying mantises are the only invertebrates known to have stereo vision. Our project investigates how they compute stereo vision and if their mechanisms of stereo vision are similar to those seen in primates or not. This will shed light on whether and how nervous systems evolve convergent solutions to similar problems. It could also lead to the development of novel mantis-inspired depth perception algorithms. You can read more about the project here: http://www.jennyreadresearch.com/research/m3/
3. The evolution of self-deception (in collaboration with Dr. Shakti Lamba).
Robert Trivers proposed that self deception could have evolved to facilitate the deception of others if it eliminates signals (e.g. stress) that reveal deception. We are developing an empirical research programme testing this idea in humans and other species. Our first findings are published here: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0104562
MMB8043 Comparative Cognition: Information Processing in Humans and Other Animals
Lectures on Concept Formation and Spatial Cognition
Previous lectures: Animal Communication, Sensory Ecology, Selective Attention, An Introduction to Matlab
- Tarawneh G, Jones L, Nityananda V, Rosner R, Rind C, Read JCA. Apparent Motion Perception in the Praying Mantis: Psychophysics and Modelling. Vision 2018, 2(3), 32.
- Tarawneh G, Nityananda V, Rosner R, Errington S, Herbert W, Arranz-Paraiso S, Busby N, Tamping J, Read J, Serrano-Pedraza I. Contrast thresholds reveal different visual masking functions in humans and praying mantises. Biology Open 2018, 7, bio029439.
- Nityananda V, Tarawneh G, Henriksen S, Umeton D, Simmons A, Read JCA. A Novel Form of Stereo Vision in the Praying Mantis. Current Biology 2018, 28(4), 588-593.
- Nityananda V, Read JCA. Stereopsis in animals: evolution, function and mechanisms. Journal of Experimental Biology 2017, 220(14), 2502-2512.
- Tarawneh G, Nityananda V, Rosner R, Errington S, Herbert W, Cumming BG, Read JCA, Serrano-Pedraza I. Invisible noise obscures visible signal in insect motion detection. Scientific Reports 2017, 7, 3496.
- Nityananda V, Tarawneh G, Errington S, Serrano-Pedraza I, Read J. The optomotor response of the praying mantis is driven predominantly by the central visual field. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 2017, 203(1), 77-87.
- Nityananda V. Attention-like processes in insects. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological sciences 2016, 283(1842), 20161986.
- Nityananda V, Bissianna G, Tarawneh G, Read J. Small or far away? Size and distance perception in the praying mantis. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 2016, 371(1697), 1-8.
- Nityananda V, Tarawneh G, Rosner R, Nicolas J, Crichton S, Read J. Insect stereopsis demonstrated using a 3D insect cinema. Scientific Reports 2016, 6, 1-9.
- Read J, Nityananda V, Tarawneh G, Rosner R, Jones ML. Natural behaviour with artificial stimuli: probing praying mantis vision. In: 16th Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting (VSS). 2016, Florida, USA: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
- Nityananda V, Chittka L. Modality-specific attention in foraging bumblebees. Royal Society Open Science 2015, 2, 1-10.
- Nityananda V, Tarawneh G, Jones L, Busby N, Herbert W, Davies R, Read JCA. The contrast sensitivity function of the praying mantis Sphodromantis lineola. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 2015, 201(8), 741-750.
- Nityananda V, Tarawneh G, Rosner R, Nicolas J, Crichton S, Read J. Insect stereo vision demonstrated using virtual 3D stimuli. In: 38th European Conference on Visual Perception (EVCP) 2015. 2015, Liverpool, UK: Sage.
- Nityananda V, Skorupski P, Chittka L. Can bees see at a glance?. Journal of Experimental Biology 2014, 217, 1933-1939.
- Lamba S, Nityananda V. Self-Deceived Individuals Are Better at Deceiving Others. PLoS One 2014, 9(8), e104562.
- Nityananda V, Pattrick JG. Bumblebee visual search for multiple learned target types. Journal of Experimental Biology 2013, 216, 4154-4160.
- Nityananda V. Making Sense of the World. (Review of Sensory Ecology, Behaviour and Evolution by Martin Stevens. Oxford University Press (2013), 264 pages. ISBN: 978-0-199-60178-3). Journal of Evolutionary Psychology 2013, 11(2), 89-92.
- Nityananda V, Bee MA. Spatial release from masking in a free-field source identification task by gray treefrogs. Hearing Research 2012, 285(1-2), 86-97.
- Nityananda V, Bee MA. Finding your mate at a cocktail party: frequency separation promotes auditory stream segregation of concurrent voices in multi-species frog choruses. PLoS One 2011, 6(6), e21191.
- Nityananda V, Balakrishnan R. Modeling the role of competition and cooperation in the evolution of katydid acoustic synchrony. Behavioral Ecology 2009, 20, 484-489.
- Nityananda V, Balakrishnan R. Leaders and followers in katydid choruses in the field: call intensity, spacing and consistency. Animal Behaviour 2008, 76, 723-735.
- Nityananda V, Stradner J, Roemer H, Balakrishnan R. Selective attention in a synchronising bushcricket: physiology, behaviour and ecology. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 2007, 193.
- Nityananda V, Balakrishnan R. Synchrony during acoustic interactions in the bushcricket Mecopoda 'Chirper' (Tettigoniidae:Orthoptera) is generated by a combination of chirp-by-chirp resetting and change in intrinsic chirp rate. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 2007, 193, 51-65.
- Nityananda V, Balakrishnan R. A diversity of songs among morphologically indistinguishable katydids of the Genus Mecopoda (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae) from Southern India. Bioacoustics 2006, 15, 223-250.