Pedro Marquez-Zacarias

Complexity Postdoctoral Fellow

Omidyar Postdoctoral Fellow Starting at SFI October 2022

Pedro is a Purépecha biologist from Michoacán, México. He is interested in the origins and evolution of biological complexity. He is profoundly influenced by the notion of complexity formulated by Robert Rosen: a complex system is a system closed to efficient causation. This notion allows for a richer description of living systems, focused on the organization of life, as opposed to the purely material description of life. His research at the Santa Fe Institute will apply principles of category theory and compositionality to different aspects of biology, such as the study of life cycles, the notion of biological autonomy, and the major evolutionary transitions. 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 also interested in science communication. He is currently 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 coordinates a bilingual science communication blog, Biomusings. He plans to further develop his science communication skills at the Institute. Additionally, Pedro is interested in furthering the inclusion of underserved communities in science and has served for the last 4 years as a STEM Faculty for Freedom University, an “underground college” for undocumented students in the greater Atlanta metro area.

Currently, Pedro is completing his PhD in Quantitative Biosciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, studying the evolution of multicellularity and the spatial structure of microbial interactions, in the group of Prof. William Ratcliff. Previously, he did his undergraduate degree in Basic Biomedical Research at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, completing his research thesis in the group of Prof. Valeria Souza.