We host researchers at our institute who are working on externally funded interdisciplinary research projects or assignments if there are opportunities for synergies with other IAS research activities. Researchers in residence stay with us for variable periods but generally longer than a year.
Postdoctoral research fellow of the Origins Center
I am interested in embryonic development and its evolution. Embryonic development generates a complete multicellular organism from a single, fertilized egg cell; it's a program which is (mostly) encoded in the genome, but then requires coordinated interactions between several different levels of organisation. Because of this complex mapping from genotype to phenotype, we need to understand how development works and how it evolves in order to understand the evolution of multicellular organisms. I use computational models to study how environmental and physiological factors influence the types of developmental program that evolve, and how the evolutionary history of organisms impacts the way their developmental processes continue to evolve.
How and when does multicellularity itself evolve?
Since multicellular life requires embryonic development, the evolutionary transition to multicellularity also gave rise to the first developmental programs. In my current projects I approach the origin of multicellularity from two different sides: what evolutionary driving forces could cause a transition to multicellularity, and how do crucial developmental mechanisms evolve in these early multicellular organisms? For example, how does a simple, undifferentiated clump of cells become divided into different regions, also known as symmetry breaking?
Advisor Complexity, Resilience, Energy Transition
Visiting Professor Singapore Management University
My research interests include Complexity and Public Policy in areas such as urban resilience, climate policy or foresight. Being a theoretical physicist by training, I have spent a decade each at AT&T and at Shell in various senior executive positions. Books include The Essence of Scenarios, Complexity and the Art of Public Policy, and Turbulence: A Corporate Perspective on Collaborating for Resilience.
At the IAS, I am involved in research questions related to Complexity and Governance.
My personal website