I am currently a PhD student at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I'm working with Dr. Luis Zaman in understanding how complexity evolves in living systems through coevolutionary feedback.
More broadly, I'm interested in studying living systems using theoretical tools from areas under the umbrella of complex systems - information theoryThe study of storage and transfer of information between entities. Looking at life as a set of information processing systems has led to a great number of insights, specifically in evolutionary biology., computationThe study of models of computation, algorithms, and their properties. Many seemingly "survival-of-the-fittest" phenomena in evolutionary biology are non-adaptive and rather a result of these properties manifesting in living systems., dynamical systemsSystems in which a certain property evolves as a function of time. Even very simple models in dynamical systems show properties usually associated with more complex real phenomena., and networksNetworks are composed of a set of entities (or nodes) interacting with each other (through edges). A network can be used to represent any generalized n-dimensional space (for example, the genotype space) and their properties are hence extremely useful in uncovering the effects of the structure of such an abstract space on procedural outcomes.. My formal undergraduate training is in biology with special emphasis on molecular biology and systems theory. A significant fraction of my research till now has been either on engineering biological systems (synthetic biology) or studying their equivalents in artificial environments (artificial life).
A broad idea of the problems that interest me can be gathered from my academic reading list or research. In brief, I am interested in designing and studying systems that exhibit large-scale behavior emerging from elementary processes at the microscale. I consider information, rather than atoms (or proteins) - as the fundamental in living systems - with biology being one instance of an information processing system over a chemical substrate. Due to this view, I am also extremely interested in studying generalized models of substrate neutral processesAn algorithm or process whose outcome does not depend on the underlying system's physical properties but instead on how it switches between different states. that are usually associated with living systems - like evolution (which can govern organisms, cultures, and even languages).