is a PhD student at the University of Vermont.
His research draws inspiration from the origin and subsequent evolution of life,
and applies the underlying mechanisms of self-organization and natural selection
to the creation of novel autonomous machines.
These machines can in some cases perform useful work,
or they may be used as scientific tools to understand how animals evolve, grow, move, sense, and think.
Douglas Blackiston is a Research Scientist in the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University where his research program has the overarching goal of understanding brain-body plasticity — the response of cell populations in vivo to alterations in patterning, local environment, and signaling from neighboring tissues. His work encompasses many diverse questions and models, from the ability of memory to survive metamorphosis in moths and butterflies, to the capacity of transplanted eyes to restore vision in blind vertebrates.
Michael Levin is the Vannevar Bush Professor of Biology at Tufts University, and the director of the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts. His work uses developmental biophysics, cognitive science, and computational modeling approaches to understand tissue plasticity, especially focused on bioelectrical information processing in non-neural cell networks. Working at the intersection of regenerative biology and basal cognition, his group seeks to develop new applications in birth defects, regeneration, cancer, and synthetic morphology by learning how cell collectives make morphological decisions and cracking that code to motivate them toward desired anatomical outcomes.
Josh Bongard is the Veinott Professor of Computer Science at the University of Vermont and the director of the Morphology, Evolution & Cognition Laboratory. His work involves computational approaches to the automated design and manufacture of soft-, evolved-, and crowdsourced robots, as well as living systems. A PECASE, TR35, and Microsoft New Faculty Fellow award recipient, he has received funding from NSF, NASA, DARPA, the U.S. Army Research Office and the Sloan Foundation. He has authored 34 and 76 peer-reviewed journal and conference publications respectively, and is the author of the book How The Body Shapes the Way We Think. He runs an evolutionary robotics MOOC through reddit.com and a robotics outreach program, Twitch Plays Robotics.
From left to right: Josh Bongard, Michael Levin, Douglas Blackiston, Sam Kriegman.
At Tufts, Feb 2020.
Note: The biographies on this page were composed Jan 2020.