Santa Fe Institute

Evandro Ferrada

Senior Fellow, University of Washington, Seattle, Genome Science Department


“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by everything,” says Evandro Ferrada. This lack of focus was something of a problem. No single field provided him with anything close to what he felt would be a satisfying way to explore the universe.

He went through a period of disquiet, seeking the wisdom of scholars, but the epiphany he hoped for never came. Finally, Evandro faced the deadline his university had set for declaring a field of undergraduate study. He chose biochemistry – “just a nice combination of some of the things I liked,” he says.

From time to time Evandro wondered how life might have been different had he chosen poetry. Or mathematics. Then an astounding thing happened while studying the evolutionary biology. He realized it didn’t matter which discipline he had chosen. “The artistic and scientific frameworks are the same,” he says. “They’re just different ways of looking at the world.” He is convinced that there are patterns of change common to seemingly disparate systems.

He aims to contribute to a unified theory of evolutionary biology, beginning his work at SFI by examining genotype-phenotype maps of macromolecular systems. Eventually he hopes to unravel some of the connections between science and art.

Evandro holds a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Zurich and a professional title in biochemistry from the Universidad Católica de Chile. He attended SFI’s Complex Systems Summer School in Argentina in 2008.