Luís A. Nunes Amaral

Luís A. Nunes Amaral is a professor of chemical and biological engineering, and an associate professor of medicine at Northwestern University. He is also an early career scientist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). He leads his own lab, the Amaral Lab, which conducts research into the emergence, evolution, and stability of complex social and biological systems. His research aims to tackle the most pressing challenges facing human societies and the world’s ecosystems.

Professor Amaral is pioneering the development of cartographic tools for the representation of complex biological networks. Described as the biologist’s Google maps, Amaral is developing a tool that synthesizes vast amounts of biological data into navigation maps.

The tool allows researchers to zoom in and out of complicated cellular pathways and navigate cells. Such tools can potentially transform how we prevent and cures diseases.

Noga Arikha

Noga Arikha is a historian of ideas and is Chair of Critical Studies at the Paris College of Art. She conducts research into the relationship between mind and body, tracing the genealogy of concepts which shape our understanding of human nature. Arikha’s research integrates multiple disciplines, from philosophy, the cognitive and mind sciences, and anthropology, to the histories of science, psychology, medicine, art, and food. Her research aims to tackle the profound questions of what it means to be human and how we view our physical, mental and emotional selves.

In 2007 she published Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours (Ecco/HarperCollins), a stimulating work that explores how European minds sought to grapple with human biology. In 2011 she co-authored with her husband a biography of Lucien Bonaparte, Napoleon and the Rebel: A Story of Brotherhood, Passion, and Power, and she is currently working on her new book, which continues where Passions and Tempers left off. Her research illuminates our understanding of what it means to be human by bridging the divide between the ‘two cultures’ of the sciences and humanities.

Carlos Gershenson

Carlos Gershenson is a computer scientist and head of the Computer Science Department at the Instituto de Investigaciones en Matemáticas Aplicadas y en Sistemas (IIMAS) of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). He leads the Self-organizing Systems Laboratory at IIMAS. He is also a researcher at the university’s Centro de Ciencias de la Complejidad (C3).

Carlos is at the heart of the complexity community, he is Editor-in-Chief of Complexity Digest, Book Review Editor of Artificial Life, and Complexity-at-Large Editor of Complexity.

Henrik Jeldtoft Jensen

Henrik Jeldtoft Jensen is a professor of mathematical physics at Imperial College London. He leads the Complexity and Networks Group at the college. He is an expert on the statistical mechanics of complex systems. He has worked on the dynamical properties of condensed matter systems and developed the Tangled Nature model of evolving ecosystems. At present this framework is being used to develop the Tangled Finance approach. His 1998 book on Self-organized Criticality helped to focus this field. His work together with Paolo Sibani on record dynamics and its relevance to a surprisingly broad range of complex system, including macroevolution and the dynamics of ant colonies, have attracted broad interest.

A book on Record Dynamics by Sibani and Jensen will appear early 2013. Jensen recently worked on brain dynamics and structure by analysing fMRI and EEG data.

Alan Johnston

Alan Johnston is a professor of psychology at University College London (UCL), and research strategy director of CoMPLEX at UCL, a world-class interdisciplinary centre that applies cutting edge techniques in mathematics, physics, engineering and computer sciences to problems in the life sciences and biomedicine. He leads the Vision Research Lab, which studies human visual information processing.

Alan Johnston is a pioneer in the cognitive, perceptual and brain sciences. His lab published one of the earliest studies of dynamic face perception, from where they were able to exploit motion tracking and 3D graphics to separate facial motion from form. Currently his lab is developing a 3D dynamic system for facial motion capture to study facial imitation, which has also lead to a system for photorealistic performance driven facial animation.

Robert MacKay

Robert MacKay is a professor of mathematics at the University of Warwick, and director of both the university’s Centre for Complexity Science and Mathematical Interdisciplinary Research. He is leading a two year research project into the management of complex systems. His research aims to tackle some of the great socio-economic challenges of food supply, climate, demography, financial regulation, electricity pricing systems, social unrest, health systems, epidemics and economic policy.

Professor MacKay is a mathematical pioneer and has made important contributions in nonlinear dynamics. He has extensive research leadership and management experience, notably establishing and running the Nonlinear Systems Laboratory at Warwick with David Rand, the Nonlinear Centre at the University of Cambridge and the Complexity Complex, an association of research activities in complexity science at the University of Warwick. Robert has also been elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society, the Institute of Physics, and the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications and is currently President of the latter

Rosario N. Mantegna

Rosario N. Mantegna is a professor at the Center for Network Science and Department of Economics of Central European University, Budapest. He is also professor of applied physics at Palermo University. He founded the Observatory of Complex Systems, a research group in the Dipartimento di Fisica at Palermo University. His research group conducts research into complex biological, social and economic systems. His research aims to tackle the complex economic challenges facing the world.

Professor Mantegna is a leading pioneer in the field of econophysics. Since 1990 he started applying concepts from statistical physics to complex social and economic systems. In 1991 he published the first ever econophysics paper in a physics journal, and in 1995 he co-authored the first econophysics paper to be published in Nature. In 1999 he also published the first book on econophysics. Professor Mantegna is conducting research for the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), which aims to transform economic thinking in the 21st Century.

Pejman Rohani

Pejman Rohani is a professor of complex systems, epidemiology, ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan. He leads his own lab, the Rohani Lab, which conducts research on population biology with a view to understanding the fundamental processes in ecology and evolution. His research aims to tackle the complex challenges of infectious diseases in humans and wildlife.

Professor Rohani is a leading pioneer in epidemiology. In 2008 he published Modeling Infectious Diseases in Humans and Animals together with Matt J. Keeling. The book, published by Princeton University Press, was cited as having made original and important contributions to epidemiology (review in Nature). Professor Rohani was awarded a Fellowship by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2007), a University Research Fellow of the Royal Society (1999-2002), and two Research Fellowships by the Natural Environment Research Council, UK (1996 & 1999).

Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins is a theoretical evolutionary biologist and poet. He is an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute and recently founded the Ronin Institute, which aims to create a new model for scholarly research. His current research interests span several different topics, including genomic imprinting, coalescent theory, statistical inference, and the origins of robustness and epistasis. His research tackles some of the complex challenges arising from human populations.

Professor Wilkins is an innovative scientist. In 2007 he edited and published Genomic Imprinting – Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology (Springer). He has developed software tools that simulate genealogical processes in a geographically structured habitat, and a program for estimating dispersal distances from genetic data sampled from a one dimensional habitat, such as a coastline. He is currently developing powerful statistical methods for using genetic data to make inferences about demographic history and geographically structured populations.

Former Advisory Board Members

We are privileged to have had Professor Stuart Kauffman and Professor Anne Warner on our Advisory Board. Stuart is a legend in the complexity field. Soon to be retiring he has held many distinguished positions and is a founding director of the Institute for Biocomplexity and Informatics at the University of Calgary.

Anne sadly passed away on 16 May 2012. She was a leading scientist and founding director of the Centre for Mathematics and Physics in the Life Sciences and Experimental Biology (CoMPLEX), at UCL. She was of great help in the early days of Polymaths, and will be sadly missed.