Chen Hou

Complexity Postdoctoral Fellow


Generally speaking, I am interested in theoretical modeling in biophysics and biomedicine. The projects I am currently working on include: 1) Scaling laws in biological, ecological, and social systems. We use a general metabolic scaling theory to elucidate ¼ power scaling across levels of biological organization. While the model was originally based on the geometry of biological networks, we are now exploring its utility in explaining scaling in social and economic networks. 2) Fractals in biology and medicine. We investigate structure-function relationships of the mammalian lung and explore to what extent its fractal structure optimizes several functions of biological interest. We are also interested in understanding the evolutionary processes that gave rise to this structure. 3) Theoretical immunology. I am studying disease resistance (mounting an immune response) as a life-history trait, subject to trade-offs against other traits such as reproductive effort, growth, etc., and the interactions between nutrition (metabolic energy) and immunity. My other research interests include a complex-systems based analysis of critical illness (e.g., sepsis and multiple organ dysfunction syndromes) and traditional Chinese medicine.