Understanding downward causation

Project abstract

Biological systems are composed of several interconnected levels of organisation. My project focuses on understanding how these levels emerge, evolve (by mutations and selection) and interact both in a bottom-up way and in a downward causative direction. To this end I will build mathematical and computational models of prebiotic and biological systems that allow evolution to operate in such multi-level fashion, e.g. by means of spatial self-organisation, evolvable interaction structures and complex genotype-to-phenotype maps. These models will be inspired by collaborations with experimental groups and may in turn help further experimental work.

Project team

The project will be executed in the research groups of Roeland Merks, Leiden University, Paulien Hogeweg, Utrecht University, and Jacintha Ellers and Bas Teusink, Free University Amsterdam. Enrico Sandro Colizzi is principal investigator.