Author Information

Dr. Jessica Green is an engineer and ecologist who specializes in biodiversity theory and microbial systems. She uses interdisciplinary approaches at the interface of microbiology, ecology, mathematics, and computer science to understand and model complex ecosystems with trillions of diverse microorganisms interacting with each other, with humans, and with the environment. She is the CTO of Phylagen, Inc., a microbiome company based in San Francisco, a Professor of Biology the University of Oregon, where she is Co-Director of the Biology and Built Environment Center, and External Faculty at the Santa Fe Institute. She is internationally recognized for her research in microbiome science, with highly cited articles in Nature, Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and is frequently quoted in business publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and NPR. She has received numerous awards including a Blaise Pascal International Research Chair, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and a TED Senior Fellowship. Jessica received a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of California Berkeley, an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley, and a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UCLA.

Anita Doron is a film director, screenwriter and author. Her films have been exhibited at the Toronto International Film Festival, South By South West, The Future of Cinema Salon at Cannes and at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. Her latest feature film, “The Lesser Blessed”, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and received a Canadian Screen Awards nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Anita is the screenwriter of the upcoming animated feature film, “The Breadwinner” for Oscar-nominated Cartoon Saloon (“Song of the Sea”), executive produced by Angelina Jolie. She is a 2011 TED Fellow, and has created several TED experiences in Berlin and at Banff, inspired by the upcoming book, Noli Timere.

Steve Green is an artist, illustrator, and designer. He has exhibited in Australia and North America in media as diverse as painting, print, and video installation. Steve was an art educator in Colleges and Universities throughout California and Oregon, and runs an independent design firm. His illustrations appeared in The Tiny Shiny, a book on microbes in collaboration with Jessica Green. He is currently working as the lead artist on the Graphic Novel Noli Timere.

Dr. Christopher Kempes holds a PhD in physical biology from MIT and works on a variety of biological problems ranging from microbial symbiosis to major evolutionary transitions to the predictive ecology and biogeography. A central theme of his research is the connection between biological architecture and function, and the interaction of physics and physiology.

Dr. Vanessa Ferdinand is an Omidyar Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute, where she researches language evolution and the coevolution of cognition and culture. She received a Ph.D. in Language Evolution from the University of Edinburgh and an M.Sc in Cognitive Science from the University of Amsterdam. She makes and plays banjos in her spare time.

Dr. Laurent Hébert-Dufresne holds a Ph.D. in physics from the Université Laval in Québec City. His recent projects mostly concern multidisciplinary applications of network theory — from political science, and epidemiology, to the modeling of bacterial communities and ecosystem stability — as well as theoretical work on network analysis and network comparison. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont, and currently also a researcher at the Institute for Disease Modeling as well as a Research Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute.

Dr. Yoav Kallus earned a Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University, was a postdoc fellow at the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science at Princeton University, and is an Omidyar postdoc fellow at the Santa Fe Institute. His research brings together the classical study of packing problems in geometry and the modern statistical physics of the phase transitions in disordered and frustrated systems to study the self-organization and self-assembly of geometric structure in natural and artificially designed physical systems.

Dr. Artemy Kolchinsky is a postdoctoral researcher at the Sante Fe Institute. He studies fundamental physical constraints on how information is processed in complex systems, whether done by a living cell, a digital computer, or any other device. He is also using statistical physics to define a notion of semantic information, i.e. information that doesn’t simply reflect correlations but rather the amount of meaningful content for a given system. Artemy holds a PhD from Indiana University, Bloomington with a specialization in complex systems and a minor in cognitive science

Dr. Brendan Tracey is a postdoctoral researcher at the Santa Fe Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Stanford. Brendan studies the role of algorithms and uncertainty in engineering design optimization. Engineering systems, such as aircraft, have many different subsystems (wing, engine, etc.) that are all interconnected, and must perform well under a variety of conditions. Dr. Tracey works to improve our physics simulation models to be more accurate, and to understand how to know when detailed simulations are needed. This uses ideas from machine learning, information theory, and computational science.