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The PLOS Complexity Channel – Meet the Editors

Chiara Poletto, Daniele Marinazzo, José Soares Andrade Jr. and Laurent Hébert-Dufresne announce the launch of the PLOS Complexity Channel.


Most of today’s global challenges, from online misinformation spreading to Ebola outbreaks, involve such a vast number of interacting players that reductionism delivers little insight. Systems are often non-linear, exhibiting complexity in temporal and spatial domains over large scales, which is a challenge to predictability and comprehension. Strategies must be found to look at the problem as a whole, in all its complexity. Representing the associated data as a complex network, in which nodes and connections between them form complicated patterns, is one such strategy. Network science provides novel tools for analyzing, visualizing and modeling this data thanks to the cross-fertilization of fields as diverse as statistical physics, algebraic topology and machine learning, among the others.

Channels are resources for research communities: a single destination to discover and explore content from PLOS journals as well as the broader literature, supplemented by commentary, blogs, news and more to keep readers up to date with the latest research in their field. The PLOS Complexity Channel brings together all aspects of complexity research and includes interdisciplinary topics from network theory to applications in neuroscience and the social sciences.

The PLOS Complexity Channel was developed with the Channel Editors, who will be responsible for curating the content that goes into the Channel.

Meet the Editors

Chiara Poletto: I am researcher at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in Paris (France), working on the spread of infectious diseases seen as a complex system phenomenon. Epidemics are mediated by human contacts and, on a different scale, by human mobility patterns. Therefore, the role of network structure on infection risk, its persistence and impact on the population is a central question of my research work. Within this broad context, I focus my attention mostly on outbreaks of emerging pathogens. I am also fascinated by the physics of interacting spreading processes underlying important problems in disease ecology.

I received a PhD in Physics from the University of Padova (Italy) in 2009 and I was then a Post Doc at the Computational Epidemiology Laboratory, ISI Foundation, Torino (Italy), before joining the INSERM in 2012. I received the Junior Scientific Award of the Complex Systems Society for extraordinary scientific achievements. My studies on emerging pathogens’ epidemics (from Ebola outbreak to Zika) have translated into expert advice for public health decision makers.

You can read more on my website or find me on Twitter @chpoletto

Daniele Marinazzo: I am an associate professor in the department of Data Analysis of the Faculty of Psychology and Edicational Sciences at Ghent University (Belgium). In our group we both develop and validate novel methodologies and apply them, together with already established ones, to fresh data and problems in many joint projects with colleagues from clinical, human sciences and more technical fields.

As a statistical physicist working since more than ten years in the neurosciences, I am constantly fascinated by how different fields communicate and by the potential of interdisciplinary research. Network science and complexity are a constant presence and inspiration in my research.

The activity of my group focuses on two main issues: methodological and computational aspects of neuroscience research, as well as thorough statistical validation of the results. The research activity of my group focuses on methodological and computational aspects of neuroscience research, and on the dynamical networks subserving function.  We develop new techniques for inferring connectivity architectures from the dynamics of the recorded data, in challenging cases of short, noisy and redundant time series, as those encountered in neuroimaging. We implement and validate novel methodologies and apply them, together with already established ones in several multidisciplinary projects.

I care a lot about open science and ways to improve the review/editorial process. I am an editor at several journals in my field (PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS One,  NeuroImage, Brain Topography, Network Neuroscience), and I review quite a lot for these and others. My website is here and my twitter handle is @dan_marinazzo.

José Soares de Andrade Jr. I am a Full Professor of Physics at Universidade Federal do Ceará in Brazil. I received my Ph.D. in chemical engineering in 1992 from COPPE at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. I was a Visiting Scholar at Boston University from 2000 to 2001, and a Visiting Professor (Gastprofessor) at ETH in Switzerland in 2010.

My main research interests include complex systems, transport phenomena, computational and statistical physics, with emphasis on complex networks, diffusion and flow through porous media, social physics, critical phenomena, applications of percolation theory, fractals, pulmonary physiology, fragmentation, and fracture formation. Find out more about my work here.

Laurent Hébert-Dufresne: I am an Associate Professor in the Vermont Complex Systems Center and the Department of Computer Science at the University of Vermont. Broadly speaking, I study the interaction of structure and dynamics in complex systems. My research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Some recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behaviour and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.

At the Vermont Complex Systems Center, I also experiment with different generative processes, finding new ways of getting scientists together to collaborate and new ways of creating science. For example, I am the director of the Complex Networks Winter Workshop which is a yearly meeting where students, faculty and professional spend a week collaborating on the open problems of network science.

For more details, see  http://laurenthebertdufresne.github.io/  and  http://vermontcomplexsystems.org/events/cnww/ or find me on twitter @LHDnets.


The Editors will regularly update the Channel to showcase the most up to date and impactful research and resources of interest to the complexity community, and look forward to engaging with the community to build a useful resource for all. To nominate content for the Channel email channels@plos.org or tweet us @PLOSChannels with the hashtag #PLOSComplexity

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Featured image: “Co-authorship network map of physicians publishing on hepatitis C”

CC BY, Andy Lamb

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