Many organisms, such as planaria, deer and salamanders can regenerate complex organ systems upon damage or amputation. Even humans exhibit some degree of regenerative ability. A widely-held belief is that these organisms store their morphological pattern in their genomes. However, current research is showing that the morphology of some organisms can be grossly and permanently modified by targeting the bioelectric gradients developed by cell-to-cell communication Durant et. al 2017. These interventions do not directly modify the genome! My current research focuses on how such organisms store and process their patterning information, and how it may be predictably modified through intervention.
More broadly, I am interested in the role of information in physical and biological processes. How do systems instantiate information, and how do they process and modify information over time? These questions have deep roots in physics and computation, but come to a head in biology where information arguably plays a crucial role at almost every turn.
A large component of my work deals with engineering research software. Research is becoming ever more reliant on robust and performant software, and scientist in general don’t have the background and expertise necessary to properly develop these tools. I am now looking for opportunities to work with scientific researchers to develop high quality research software for their needs, and to help them develop the skills necessary to create software that produces results they can be confident in.