Participants

Headshot of Ramray Bhat

Ramray Bhat

Cluster:
Agency and Directionality in Development
Project:
Cellular agency in multicellular development and cancer

Ramray Bhat is an associate professor in the department of Molecular Reproduction, Development and Genetics and an associate faculty of the Centre for BioSystems Science and Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. He has an undergraduate degree in medicine from the University of Calcutta, a PhD in developmental biology from the New York Medical College, and was a Komen postdoctoral fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His interests lie at the interface of development, evolution and cancer. His research is funded by the departments of Biotechnology and Science and Technology of the Government of India and the Wellcome Trust-DBT India Alliance.

Leonardo Bich

Leonardo Bich

Cluster:
Evolutionary Origins and Transitions of Agency, Higher-Level Agency and Directionality in Ecology and Earth Science, Agential Behavior and Plasticity in Evolution
Project:
An organizational account of ecological functions, Directedness in holobiont systems, Integration and individuation in the origin of agency

Leonardo Bich is a ‘Ramon y Cajal’ Researcher at the IAS-Research Centre for Life, Mind, and Society of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Spain. He obtained a PhD in Anthropology and Epistemology of Complex Systems from the University of Bergamo. He worked at the CNRS & University of Bordeaux, at the Biology of Cognition Lab of the Universidad de Chile and, as a visiting fellow, at the Center for Philosophy of Science of the University of Pittsburgh. His research is focused on theoretical and epistemological issues related to biological organisation, autonomy, and control and on their implications for investigations in Origins of Life, Synthetic and Systems Biology, and Theoretical Biology.

Ingo Bojak

Ingo Bojak

Cluster:
(Re)Conceptualizing Function and Goal-Directedness
Project:
Mistakes in living systems: a new conceptual framework

I am a theoretical physicist by training but have worked as a computational neuroscientist for the last two decades, being particularly interested in modelling the collective activity of neurons. For applications, I have focused on general anesthesia, brain connectivity, multimodal neuroimaging, and advanced data analysis. I have recently started working on projects in computational psychology, e.g., reinforcement learning. Privately, I have maintained an active interest in philosophy, in particular in Aristotelian metaphysics. My work has been interdisciplinary in nature, and I have worked in physics, (bio)engineering, medical neuroscience, and psychology in Germany, Australia, the Netherlands, and now the UK. I am currently a Professor in the School of Psychology & Clinical Language Sciences at the University of Reading, and its Deputy Head. In our project I will be responsible for turning our philosophical ideas into computational structures that can deal with empirical data.

Paride Bollettin

Paride Bollettin

Cluster:
Higher-Level Agency and Directionality in Ecology and Earth Science
Project:
An organizational account of ecological functions

Paride Bollettin obtained his PhD in Social Anthropology at the Università degli Studi di Siena. In sequence he worked as a researcher and as a professor in various universities in Italy, Brazil, Latvia and UK. Actually acts as an assistant professor at the Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University. He had worked with the Mebengokré of the Trincheira-Bacajá Indigenous Land for sixteen years, developing collaborative researches in diverse topics, including the local experiences of socio-ecological relations.

Evgeni Bolotin

Evgeni Bolotin

Cluster:
Directionality in Genomics and Macroevolution
Project:
Mutation rates, variational specificity, and genomic directionality

Dr. Bolotin develops and executes computational pipelines for the Livnat lab’s ultra-high resolution studies of de novo mutation origination rates as well as applies bioinformatics tools and develops scripts to analyze publicly available datasets in order to conducts a host of studies on the fundamental nature of mutation, including research on structural variation in the human and primate genomes to test predictions of interaction-based evolution. Dr. Bolotin received his undergraduate degree magna cum laude from the Israel Institute of Technology, the Technion, and then continued to a direct PhD track in computational evolutionary genomics with Prof. Ruth Hershberg at the Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine at the Technion. Following Ph.D., he joined the Livnat lab as a postdoctoral researcher.

Pierrick Bourrat

Pierrick Bourrat

Cluster:
Evolutionary Origins and Transitions of Agency
Project:
Transitions in individuality: from ecology to teleonomy
Role:
Subaward Principal Investigator

Pierrick is a philosopher of biology at Macquarie University, in Australia, with a background in evolutionary biology and ecology. Pierrick works mainly on conceptual issues related to evolutionary theory, the concept of biological individuality, and major transitions in evolution. He also has interests in the philosophy of causation and cognitive science.
Pierrick has recently published a short book at Cambridge University Press in which he explores the status of units and levels of selection in evolutionary theory. He proposes a suite of criteria to distinguish genuine from arbitrary or conventional units and levels of selection.

Ellen Clarke

Ellen Clarke

Cluster:
Evolutionary Origins and Transitions of Agency
Role:
Cluster Coordinator

Dr Clarke is a Lecturer at the University of Leeds in the UK, and Director of the Leeds Centre for History and Philosophy of Science. Before being appointed at Leeds in 2017, she held postdocs at All Souls College, Oxford, and the Konrad Lorenz Institute in Vienna. She finished her PhD at Bristol under the supervision of Samir Okasha.

She specialises in Philosophy of Biology, especially evolutionary theory. Much of her published work concerns unitisation problems in biology: Situations where it is difficult to agree on the nature and boundaries of the main actors or concepts in a theory or model. One example is the organism – an important unit in all branches of biology, but one which lacks a common definition. My work explores this unit in the context of evolutionary optimality models and major transitions. I am also interested in how units are picked out in ecology and in conservation, and what difference changes of definition make to things like biodiversity measures. She also maintains interests in Philosophy of Race, and Sex and Gender. She is currently writing a book called ‘The Units of Life: Kinds of individuals in Biology’.

Charlie Cornwallis

Charlie Cornwallis

Cluster:
Agential Behavior and Plasticity in Evolution
Project:
Evolution and organismal goal-directedness
Institution:
Lund University

Charlie Cornwallis is an Associate Professor in Biology at Lund University, Sweden. His undergraduate studies were taken in Zoology at the University of Sheffield, UK. In 2005 he obtained a PhD on mechanisms of sexual selection, also from the University of Sheffield. During this time Cornwallis also ran field expeditions and worked on projects encompassing a variety of topics from sea bird ecology in Northern Canada to conservation of giant otters in Bolivia. Following his PhD, Cornwallis moved to Oxford University to take up a Research Fellowship in Ornithology and subsequently a Browne Research Fellowship at The Queen’s College, Oxford. During this time he started working on social evolution. In 2011, Cornwallis moved to Lund to take up an Associate Professorship. Research topics of the Cornwallis group include: major transitions in evolution including multicellularity and symbiosis, the evolution of cooperation; the evolution of sexual behaviour and mating systems; speciation; phenotypic plasticity; and host-pathogen coevolution. The group uses a combination of comparative, experimental evolution and genetic analyses.