Natalia Bilenko

About me

I am a Ph.D candidate in Jack Gallant's lab at the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at University of California, Berkeley. I construct models of human brain activity measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging in response to movies, speech, and text. I am particularly interested in individual differences and in semantic processing in English and other languages.

I am involved in several side projects. I am working on visualization of fictional narratives with Maneesh Agrawala in the Department of Computer Science at UC Berkeley. I am the Mobile Design Director and a Design Editor for Berkeley Science Review. Most recently, I participated in the creation of Dr. Brainlove, a Burning Man art car and a science outreach project based on a 27 foot long model of my brain. Come to our panel at SXSW 2015!

Prior to my graduate studies, I spent two years as a research technologist in Roger Tootell's lab at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, studying representation of word forms, faces, scenes, and color in the primate brain.

I received my Sc.B in neuroscience in 2007 from Brown University. There I worked in the Brown Speech Lab, supervised by Sheila Blumstein. My thesis research focused on brain responses to semantic ambiguity in language.



I was born and grew up in Saratov, Russia and moved to the States at the age of 14, when my family won the Green Card lottery. My boyfriend Scott is an HPC consultant at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center. My parents Olga and Yuri work at Sensor Electronic Technology in Columbia, SC. My brother Misha leads the Cloud Machine Learning Algorithms team at Microsoft. My grandfather David Isakovich is a professor of physics at Saratov State University.