Xenobot Lab

At the Xenobot Lab, we seek an ever deeper understanding of the emergence of complexity in natural systems and harness this knowledge to create new kinds of technological, biological, and biohybrid robots. These robots can in some cases perform useful work, or they may be used as scientific tools to help us understand how animals evolve, grow, move, sense, and think.

Some of our robots have become known in popular culture as: xenobots.

Our lab embraces the literal interpretation of the word by generating strange robots that, whether built from cells or steel, shine unique light on some of humanity's oldest questions about life and our place in the universe.

The Xenobot Lab is hiring:

Undergraduate/Master's students

who are enrolled at Northwestern University and interested in AI, robotics or artificial life.

PhD students

who are curious and creative and enrolled at Northwestern University.

Prospective PhD students can apply through Computer Science, Chemical & Biological Engineering, or Mechanical Engineering.

Make sure you have applied to any sources of scholarships available to you.


who have experience with: physics-based animation, numerical methods, machine learning, GPU computing, differentiable programming, 3D printing, robots, biology.


with computer graphics experience who desire artistic freedom to build new virtual worlds, seed new evolutions within them, and work closely with mechanical, chemical, and biological engineers to bring whatever evolves to life.


with any software (ideally HPC), hardware (ideally robotics), or wetlab (ideally Xenopus) experience.

Join us!

If you would like to join the xenobot lab, please fill out this form and then send Sam a short email note.


Our laboratory is currently housed in the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University, which is located on the shores of Lake Michigan, just north of Chicago.

Take a virtual tour.

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