Headshot Credit: Jen Shook / NGS

Headshot Credit: Jen Shook / NGS

Hi! I'm Antonella. I'm a PhD student at the Contextual Robotics Institute at UC San Diego, and a National Geographic Explorer.

I'm interested in enabling robots to explore extreme environments, especially underwater environments, with the goal of better understanding and protecting our planet. My research focuses on Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) and computer vision for underwater multi-robot systems. I'm also interested in disaster/search-and-rescue robots, bio-inspired robotics, and soft robotics. I'm advised by Henrik Christensen at the UCSD Contextual Robotics Institute, and co-advised by Jules Jaffe of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

I am grateful to be a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and to receive additional support through a Sloan Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Minority PhD program.

An up-to-date list of my publications is on my Google Scholar Page. Sometimes I write stories from the field for the National Geographic Blog

Curriculum Vitae • Technical Resume

Contact Me

If you'd like to get in touch or collaborate, send me an email at awilby@eng.ucsd.edu.

Photography & Science Communication

In addition to my technical work, I am an avid photographer, and use photography and other media to communicate the importance of science and conservation to a broad audience. You can see some samples of my photographic work on my photography page. More recent photos of my fieldwork and adventures are on my Instagram


When I'm not in the lab, I'm on an outdoor adventure, camera in hand. I love being on a mountain, under the sea, or anywhere else surrounded by nature. Among many other activities, I enjoy backpacking, bicycle touring and bikepacking, mountain climbing, SCUBA, and freediving. On the rare occasions when I am not in the lab, in the field, or lost in the wilderness, I also enjoy playing the cello and piano, boxing, and attempting to restore a classic Volkswagen bus.