Pedro Marquez-Zacarias

Complexity Postdoctoral Fellow

Omidyar Postdoctoral Fellow

Pedro is a Purépecha biologist from Michoacán, México. He is broadly interested in the origins and evolution of biological complexity, and also has an interest in the history and philosophy of biology. He follows the notion of ‘complexity’ formulated by Robert Rosen: a complex system is a system closed to efficient causation. This notion allows, in principle, to answer questions like: What is the ‘self’ in a self-organizing system? How and why are living systems autonomous? How stable is a self-organizing system? and related questions. His research at the Santa Fe Institute will apply these ideas to study life cycles, evolutionary transitions, stability in ecosystems, and to develop models of biological autonomy. He will also study the evolution of language, focusing on his mother tongue, Purépecha, which is a language isolate within the Mesoamerican languages.

Pedro is interested in science communication and is an early-career science writing fellow for The Open Notebook, supported by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. Last summer he was a science communication fellow for Science ATL, and he also started a bilingual science communication blog, Biomusings. He intends to further develop his science communication skills at the Institute. Additionally, Pedro is also interested in the inclusion of marginalized people in science. During his PhD he served as a STEM Faculty for Freedom University, an ‘underground college’ for undocumented students, and also volunteered for Books not Bombs and The Global Village Project, organizations supporting the education of refugees. He plans to contribute to the education and outreach efforts of the Institute.

Pedro holds a PhD in Quantitative Biosciences from the Georgia Institute of Technology, working in the group of Prof. William Ratcliff. Previously, he did his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Research at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, completing his research thesis in the group of Prof. Valeria Souza.