Brett Aiello PhD
Joined Seton Hill
Youngstown, OH
Contact Info

Brett Aiello earned his PhD at the University of Chicago and worked as a postdoctoral scholar at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Brett specializes in organismal comparative anatomy and physiology. His research interests and publications are in the emerging field of comparative neuromechanics where we study the neural and mechanical processes responsible for animal movement across a variety of organisms with focus on moths and fishes.


  • B.A., Zoology, Miami University, (Oxford, OH), 2009
  • M.S., Biological Sciences, Youngstown State University (Youngstown, OH), 2012
  • Ph.D., Integrative Biology, University of Chicago (Chicago, IL), 2017


  • Gau J*, Lynch J*, Aiello BR*, Wold E, Gravish N, Sponberg S. (2023). Bridging two insect flight modes in evolution, physiology and robophysics. Nature, [More Information]
  • Aiello BR, Bhamla MS, Gau J, Morris JG, Bomar K., da Cunha S, Fu H, Laws J, Minoguchi H, Sripathi M, Washington K, Wong G, Shubin NH, Sponberg S, and Stewart TA. (2023). The origin of blinking in both mudskippers and tetrapods is linked to life on land. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 120(18), e2220404120. [More Information]
  • Aiello BR*, Sikandar UB*, Bhinderwala B**, Minoguchi H**, Hamilton CA, Kawahara AY, and Sponberg S. (2021). The evolution of two distinct strategies of moth flight. J. R. Soc. Interface.1820210632 **Denotes undergraduate author *Denotes co-first authors [More Information]
  • Herman MA*, Aiello BR*, Trakselis MA, Hwang W, Yakoby N, Garcia-Ruiz H, McBeth C, and Stojkovic, EA. (2021). A unifying framework for determining the function of biological structures across scales of biological organization. Integrative and Comparative Biology. *Denotes co-first authors. [More Information]
  • Aiello BR, Tan M, Sikandar UB, Alvey A**, Bhinderwala B**, Kimball KC, Barber JR, Hamilton CA, Kawahara AY, and Sponberg S. (2021). Adaptive shifts underlie the divergence in flight morphology in bombycoid moths. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 288: 20210677. ( ** Denotes undergraduate author [More Information]
  • Aiello BR*, Stanchak KE*, Weber AI*, Deora T, Sponberg S, and Brunton B. (2021). Spatial distribution of campaniform sensilla mechanosensors on wings: form, function, and phylogeny. Current Opinion in Insect Science. 48: 8-17. ( *Denotes co-first authors. [More Information]
  • Kihlstroem K, Aiello BR, Warrant EJ, Sponberg S, and Stoeckl AL. (2021). Wing damage affects flight kinematics but not flower tracking performance in hummingbird hawkmoths. Journal of Experimental Biology. 224 jeb236240 (doi: 10.1242/jeb.236240) [More Information]
  • Aiello BR, Olsen AM, Mathis CE**, Westneat, MW, Hale ME. (2020). Pectoral fin kinematics and motor patterns are shaped by fin ray mechanosensation during steady swimming in Scarus quoyi. Journal of Experimental Biology. 232(2) jeb211466 (doi:10.1242/jeb.211466). ** Denotes undergraduate author [More Information]
  • Aiello BR, Gillis GB, and Fox JL. (2018). Sensory Feedback and Animal Locomotion: Perspectives from Biology and Biorobotics: An Introduction to the Symposium. Integrative and comparative biology. 58(5):827-831 (doi:10.1093/icb/icy100).
  • Aiello BR*, Hardy AR*, Westneat MW, Hale ME (2018). Fins as mechanosensors for movement and touch-related behaviors. Integrative and comparative biology. 58(5):844-859 (doi: 10.1093/icb/icy065) *Denotes co-first authors. [More Information]
  • Aiello BR, Hardy AR, Cherian C**, Olsen AM, Hale ME, Westneat, MW. (2018) A comparison of pectoral fin ray morphology and its impact on fin ray flexural stiffness in labriform swimmers. Journal of Morphology 279:1031–1044 (doi: 10.1002/jmor.20830) ** Denotes undergraduate author [More Information]
  • Aiello BR, Hardy AR, Cherian C**, Olsen AM, Ahn SE**, Hale ME, Westneat MW. (2018) The relationship between pectoral fin stiffness and swimming behavior in Labridae: insights into design, performance, and ecology. Journal of Experimental Biology 221: jeb163360. ** Denotes undergraduate author [More Information]
  • Westneat MW, Aiello BR, Olsen, AM, Hale, ME. (2017) Bioinspiration from Flexible Propulsors: Organismal Design, Mechanical Properties, Kinematics and Neurobiology of Pectoral Fins in Labrid Fishes. Journal of the Marine Technology Society. 51(5): 23-34 (doi: 10.4031/MTSJ.51.5.3)
  • Aiello BR, Westneat MW, Hale ME. (2017) Mechanosensation is evolutionarily tuned to locomotor mechanics. PNAS. 14(17): 4459-4464 (doi: 10.1073/pnas.1616839114) [More Information]
  • Aiello BR*, Stewart TA*, Hale ME. (2016) Mechanosensation in an adipose fin. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 283: 20152794. *Denotes co-first authors. [More Information]
  • Aiello BR, Iriarte-Diaz, J, Blob, RW, Butcher, MT, Carrano, MT, Espinoza, NR, Main, RP, Ross, CF. (2015) Bone strain magnitude is correlated with bone strain rate in tetrapods: implications for models of mechanotransduction. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 282: 20150321. [More Information]
  • Aiello BR, King, HM, and Hale, ME. (2014) Functional subdivisions of fin protractor and retractor muscles underlies pelvic fin walking in the African lungfish (Protopterus annectens). Journal of Experimental Biology. 217: 3474-3482. [More Information]
  • Aiello BR, Blob RW, and Butcher MT. (2013) Correlation of muscle function and bone strain in the hindlimb of the river cooter turtle (Pseudemys concinna). Journal of Morphology, 274: 1060–1069. [More Information]


  • NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology (2019-2021)