is a computer scientist with a joint postdoctoral appointment at the Wyss Institute at Harvard and the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts.
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 Senior Scientist in the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University where his research program has the overarching goal of understanding tissue plasticity — the response of cell populations 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.
is the Veinott Professor of Computer Science at the University of Vermont and director of the Morphology, Evolution & Cognition Laboratory. His work involves automated design and manufacture of soft-, evolved-, and crowdsourced robots, as well as computer-designed organisms. A PECASE, TR35, and Cozzarelli Prize recipient, he has received funding from NSF, NASA, DARPA, ARO and the Sloan Foundation. He is the co-author of the book How The Body Shapes the Way We Think, the instructor of a reddit-based evolutionary robotics MOOC, and director of the robotics outreach program Twitch Plays Robotics.
From left to right: Josh Bongard, Michael Levin, Douglas Blackiston, Sam Kriegman.
At Tufts, Feb 2020.
Blackiston (left) and Kriegman at Tufts.
Sept 2021. Photographer: M. Scott Brauer.