Douglas Blackiston is a Senior Scientist in the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University where his research program has the overarching goal of understanding developmental plasticity — the response of cell populations in vivo 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.

Emma Lederer is a Research Assistant in the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University. She uses her background in fluid mechanics and developmental biology to investigate interactions between organisms and their environment both at an individual and community level.

Sam Kriegman is a Postdoctoral Associate at the University of Vermont. 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.

Simon Garnier is is an Associate Professor of Biology at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is the head of the Swarm Lab, an interdisciplinary research lab that studies the mechanisms underlying Collective Behaviors and Swarm Intelligence in natural and artificial systems. His research aims to reveal the detailed functioning of collective intelligence in systems as diverse as ant colonies, human crowds or robotic swarms. Dr. Garnier’s work is or has been supported by multiple grants from DARPA, NSF, and the James S. McDonnell Foundation. His twitter handle is @sjmgarnier.

Josh Bongard is the Veinott Professor of Computer Science at the University of Vermont and the director of the Morphology, Evolution & Cognition Laboratory. His work involves computational approaches to the automated design and manufacture of soft-, evolved-, and crowdsourced robots, as well as living systems. A PECASE, TR35, and Microsoft New Faculty Fellow award recipient, he has received funding from NSF, NASA, DARPA, the U.S. Army Research Office and the Sloan Foundation. He is the author of the book How The Body Shapes the Way We Think. He runs an evolutionary robotics MOOC through and a robotics outreach program, Twitch Plays Robotics.

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.