Centre for Philosophy of Science Applied Evolutionary Epistemology Lab


Plenary Speakers | Invited Speakers

For abstracts of the plenary and invited talks, click here. For the preliminary program click here.

Plenary Speakers

Michael Benton Michael Benton is Professor of Paleobiology, leader of the Paleobiology and Biodiversity Research Group and Program Director for the MSc and undergraduate programs in Paleobiology, all housed in the School of Earth Sciences of the University of Bristol, UK. He is President of the International Paleontological Association from 2012-2014. His research includes the diversification of life through time, quality of the fossil record, shapes of phylogenies, mass extinctions, Triassic ecosystem evolution, dating the tree of life, and the use of phylogenetic means to assess the quality of the rock and fossil records.

Tal Dagan Tal Dagan is a professor of Genomic Microbiology at the Heinrich Heine University at Dusseldorf, Germany. She researches microbial genome evolution by Lateral Gene Transfer, and is pioneering in the development of phylogenomic networks. She currently runs an interdisciplinary program where she implements network thinking to study the evolution of genomes and languages.

John Jungck John Jungck is Director of Interdisciplinary Science and Professor of Biology at the University of Delaware. He holds joint appointments in the Department of Mathematics and the Bioinformatics Program. He is a leader in Biology Education Reform, a Mathematical Molecular Evolutionary Biologist, and a Computer Software Developer of biological simulations, tools, and databases. His research interests are in Mathematical and Theoretical Biology (Bioinformatics, the origins of genetic codes, image analysis and simulation of patterns in nature, and evolutionary analysis of complex data sets), History and Philosophy of Biology, and Interdisciplinary Education. He is the Editor of Biology International. He is the former Editor of Bioscene: Journal of College Biology Teaching and the American Biology Teacher. He has Chaired the Education Committee of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology.

Carl Knappett Carl Knappett is Professor at the University of Toronto where he holds the Walter Graham and Homer Thompson Chair in Aegean Prehistory in the Department of Art. He sits on the International Scientific Committee of the renowned Fyssen Foundation (based in Paris) that supports research in Archaeology, Anthropology, Ethology, Psychology and Neurobiology. He is one of the leading and pioneering archeologists applying network models to depict the diffusion of material culture as well as regional, sociocultural and political interactions amongst prehistoric populations. He runs an Aegean Material Culture Laboratory, that focuses on the modeling of maritime interaction in the Bronze Age east Mediterranean. He will give a plenary on the use of network models in archaeology.

Daniel McShea Daniel McShea is Professor of Evolutionary Biology and a member of the Centre for Philosophy of Biology at Duke University, North Carolina. His research lies in the field of Paleobiology, with a focus on macroevolutionary trends in the history of life, Philosophy of Biology, with emphasis on evolutionary epistemological debates on the origin of complexity and biological hierarchies and hierarchical causation (upward and downward causation); and animal behavior, especially the evolution of emotions. Together with the philosopher Robert Brandon, he developed the Zero-Force Evolutionary Law that explains how complexity can evolve in the absence of selection or constraint at various ranks of life.

Alex Mesoudi Alex Mesoudi is Reader in Anthropology and is a member of the Centre for the Coevolution of Biology and Culture at Durham University, UK. He currently functions as the Principal Investigator of a Leverhulme Trust funded Research Project entitled “Human Cultural Transmission: From Psychology Lab to the Artefactual Record”. He is developing innovative mathematical/agent-based models of cultural evolution that enable the formalization of cultural transmission at the micro-evolutionary level. He uses these models to develop a Darwinian theory of cultural evolution.

Mark Pagel Mark Pagel is Professor in the School of Biological Sciences and head of the Evolution Laboratory at the University of Reading, UK. He builds statistical models to examine the evolutionary processes imprinted in human behavior, from genomics to the emergence of complex systems to culture. His latest work examines the parallels between linguistic and biological evolution by applying methods of phylogenetics, or the study of evolutionary relatedness among groups, essentially viewing language as a culturally transmitted replicator with many of the same properties we find in genes. He is looking for patterns in the rates of evolution of language elements, and hoping to find the social factors that influence trends of language evolution. He has also used statistical methods to reconstruct features of dinosaur genomes, and to infer ancestral features of genes and proteins.

Tyler Volk Tyler Volk is Professor of Biology as well as Science Director of the Environmental Studies Program at New York University, New York. One of his academic duties includes the teaching of a seminar on "Transdisciplinary Investigations across Multiple Evolutionary Scales". He is the author of books that explore patterns at multiple levels, in "Metapatterns Across Space, Time, and Mind," "Gaia's Body: Toward a Physiology of Earth," "CO2 Rising: The World's Greatest Environmental Challenge," and "Death and Sex" (with D. Sagan). His research has focused on metapatterns (such as borders, binaries, centers, cycles) as functional principles in various levels of systems, roles of life in the earth system, biogeochemical aspects of global change, entropy, energy, and advanced space life support (for NASA). His overarching concerns are for the present and future of humans in a global environment and for a harmonious personal and social evolution of consciousness.

Richard Watson Richard Watson is Senior Lecturer in the Natural Systems research group at the University of Southampton's School of Electronics and Computer Science, UK. His research uses computational models and theoretical computer science frameworks to investigate and characterize the algorithmic principles of biological evolution. This includes works on Symbiogenesis, the Baldwin effect, Co-Evolution, Niche-Construction, Epigenetics, sexual recombination, developmental modularity, group selection and the major evolutionary transitions. In particular, his current research uses adaptive networks models to characterize the two-way interaction between social evolution and the co-construction of social structures that provide the context for social evolution. He is the author of Compositional Evolution: The impact of Sex, Symbiosis and Modularity on the Gradualist Framework of Evolution, http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/260415/, MIT Press (Vienna series in Theoretical Biology), and vice president of the International Society for Artificial Life.

Invited Speakers

Quentin Atkinson Quentin Atkinson is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology at the Australian University of Auckland. Previously, he spent 3 years at the University of Oxford as a Research Fellow in the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology. He has also done post-doctoral work in the school for the Study of Religion at the University of Aarhus, Denmark and with Professor Mark Pagel in the Zoology Department at the University of Reading, UK. His research interests covers a range of areas, centered on human evolution and cooperation. This includes the evolution of language, religion, large-scale cooperation and common pool resources, and the human expansion from Africa. He is also a keen environmentalist and in 2008 published an edited volume with Dr Niki Harré on how New Zealanders can tackle climate change.

Alberto Bisin Alberto Bisin obtained a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago in 1993. He then was visiting  professor at Delta, Ecole Normale Superieure  and assistant professor at MIT. In 1996 he moved to New York University, where he is Full Professor in the department of Economics.
 He is fellow of several research institutes, including the NBER, CESS, CIREQ, IZA, IGIER. He consulted for the Federal Reserve Bank and is on the Advisory Board of the Institut d’Etudes Avancées of the Universite’ Cergy-Pontoise.  He is Associate Editor for Journal of Economic Theory and  Economic Theory.Bisin’s publications range from mathematical economics to applied and empirical work, from finance to social economics. His work has appeared in,  e.g., the Journal of Political Economy,  the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Econometrica, the Journal of Economic Theory. His research has been supported by various private as well as governmental foundations.

Andreas Bohn Andreas Bohn holds a PhD in Physics from the Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany (2003). Since 2008 he is Head of the Systems Biodynamics Group of the Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal. His research is rooted in computational and theoretical studies of complex light-driven biosystems, such as circadian clocks or phototrophic microbial biofilms, and is characterized by numerous interdisciplinary collaborations with experimental biologists from various fields of research. To meet the challenge of obtaining systems-level understanding of the studied organisms, in the last years he became increasingly involved in brokering the knowledge of diverse specialists using different scientific tools and languages, and the role of integrative computational tools, e.g. from the semantic web, in coping with the social context of life science research.

Michael Bradie Michael Bradie is Professor in Philosophy of Science at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, where he teaches courses on Philosophy of Science, (Evolutionary) Epistemology, and Logic. He is a leading expert in the field of Evolutionary Epistemology, and famous for distinguishing between the EET – The Evolutionary Epistemology of Theories and EEM program – The Evolution of Epistemological Mechanisms in 1986. He is currently working on a project exploring the implications of evolutionary theory, cognitive neuroscience and cognitive ethology for our understanding of the nature of morality.

Jorge Carneiro Jorge Carneiro is a Principle Investigator at the Oeiras Associate Laboratory and the Leader of the Theoretical Immunology Group at the Gulbenkian Institute of Science, Portugal. This group uses mathematical modeling to understand the development of the immune system and its regulation, as well as lymphocyte signaling, differentiation and commitment. He has an interdisciplinary background, and performs laboratory work as well as research in biomathematics. He was a Ph.D. student at Institut Pasteur of Paris (France) where he prepared his thesis on mathematical modeling of the immune system, under the supervision of John Stewart. He was the Vice-President of the Portuguese Society of Immunology from 2004 to 2006. He is the Deputy-Director of the PhD Program in Computational Biology and also of the FLAD Computational Biology Collaboratorium.

Claudine Chaouiya Claudine Chaouiya is professor of Computer Science, in secondment from the Aix-Marseille University (France) to the Gulbenkian Science Institute (IGC), Oeiras, Portugal. Her research interest was initially related to the modelling and validation of 'man‐made' systems such as manufacturing systems or communication networks. Since 2001, she has been developing methods to model and analyse biological networks, focusing on dynamical properties of these complex systems. In July 2008, she joined the IGC, where she has set up the Network Modelling group to define feasible computational solutions for efficient handling of large regulatory networks.

Alex de Voogt Alex de Voogt is an Assistant Curator of African Ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA. His research interests are diverse but concentrate on the dispersal of board games and the development of expertise in master players, as well as on the development and history of scripts.

Frank Kressing Frank Kressing studied Cultural  Anthropology, Comparative Linguistics and European Ethnology at Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen. He is a Research Scientist at the the Institute of the History, Philosophy, and Ethics of Medicine at Ulm University, Germany. Kressing’s present research interests are centered around the topics of Evolutionary Epistemology and Global Health. His areas of fieldwork cover South America (specifically: the Bolivian Kallawaya region), South and Central Asia (Ladakh/India), and the Balkans (Albania). Previously, he held a Research Fellow position in the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Ulm University; he was a Lecturer in the Department of European Ethnology at the University of Augsburg.

Matthis Krischel Matthis Krischel is a Research Scientist at the Institute of the History, Philosophy, and Ethics of Medicine at Ulm University, Germany. He was trained at the Technische Universität Berlin; and the University of Oklahoma. His research interests include History of Biology (Evolution and Classification in the life and human sciences), History of Eugenics, Medicine in Nazi Germany, and History of Urology (Urology in Nazi Germany).

André Levy André Levy is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Eco-Ethology Research Unit at ISPA – University Institute, The Higher Institute for Applied Psychology, Lisbon. His main research interest lies in community genetics, i.e. the genetics of biotic interactions and their ecological and evolutionary consequences, in particular that of interactions between plants and their insect and microbial enemies. Are geographical ranges of plants influenced by their enemies, and vice-versa.

Margarida Matos Margarida Matos is Assistant Professor at the Department of Animal Biology of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon since 1997 and Researcher at the Centre for Environmental Biology since 1992. She has taught many courses in Evolution and supervised several master and PhD theses. Her research field is Evolutionary Ecology, using Experimental Evolution as tool. Her main focus is the study of the evolutionary patterns and processes during adaptation, by characterizing real time evolution of repeated colonizations of Drosophila subobscura to a novel, laboratorial environment. Ongoing projects include the analysis of the evolution of populations founded from contrasting latitudes, to understand the role of History and Selection during Adaptation. She is also analyzing how genetic drift interacts with natural selection, by comparing the evolutionary fate of populations of contrasting size. She has authored several scientific publications in books and journals of recognized merit in Evolutionary Biology.

Telmo Pievani Telmo Pievani is an Associate Professor of Philosophy of Biological Sciences for the Department of Biology at the Italian University of Padua. He is the Secretary of the Scientific Board of the Genoa Science Festival; editor in chief of Pikaia, www.pikaia.eu, an Italian web portal on Evolution; and with Niles Eldredge and Ian Tattersall, he curated the International "Darwin 1809-2009". His research interests lie in Philosophy of Biology, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, and Darwinian Heritage.

Luis Mateus Rocha Luis Mateus Rocha is a Professor at the School of Informatics & Computing at Indiana University, Bloomington, Complex Systems Program Director, member of the Center for Complex Networks and Systems and core faculty of the Cognitive Science Program. He is also the director of the FLAD Computational Biology Collaboratorium at the Instituto Gulbenkian da Ciencia, Portugal. From 1998 to 2004 he was a permanent staff scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he founded and led a Complex Systems Modeling Team during 1998-2002, and was part of the Santa Fe Institute research community. His research is on complex systems and networks, computational biology, artificial life, embodied cognition and bio-inspired computing. He is interested in the informational and control properties of natural and artificial systems which enable them to evolve. This means both understanding how information and control is fundamental for the evolutionary capabilities of natural systems, as well as abstracting principles from natural systems to produce adaptive information technology.

Sven Steinmo Sven Steinmo is Professor of Public Policy and Political Economy at the Department of Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy; and an Honorary Professor in Comparative Politics at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense. His teaching and research interests include the fields of comparative politics, public policy, institutional theory and most recently experimental social science methodology. He has been awarded multiple international honors over his career including the Riker Prize for the best book in Political Economy (APSA), the Gabriel Almond Prize for the best dissertation in Comparative Politics (APSA) as well as the German Marshall Fellowship, the Abe Fellowship and the STINT Advanced Researcher Grant. Steinmo's most recent book, The Evolution of the Modern State: Sweden, Japan and the United States was awarded the Gunnar Myrdal Prize (2011), by the European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy. In 2012 he was awarded a European Research Council "Advanced Researcher" Grant in support of his project "Willing to Pay? Testing Historical Arguments with Experiments."

Thierry Verdier Thierry Verdier is an Associate Chair and Chief Engenieer at the French Ecole des Ponts – ParisTech. His main research interest lie in International Trade, Growth and Development, Political Economy and Income Distribution, Economic Sociology and Macro-economical dynamics.