Scaling the drivers and consequences of biodiversity change

Biological diversity is intrinsically scale-dependent, and understanding its scaling properties may help us better manage and conserve it. Factors such as invasive alien species, climate change or habitat fragmentation can have strikingly different effects on local diversity and on coarser-scale (regional or global) diversity, and indeed it may be possible to deduce the drivers of … [Read more]

Climate Change and the Emerging Disease Crisis: An Existential Threat to Technological Humanity

The emerging infectious disease (EID) crisis encompasses all pathogens affecting humans and the species upon which we depend for survival and socio-economic development. It constitutes an existential threat of global proportions. Humanity is playing a losing game with respect to emerging diseases. The Stockholm Paradigm is a new conceptual framework that explains the surprising ease … [Read more]

The Functional Structure of Brain Asymmetries: A Unified Theory

Hemispheric asymmetries play an important role in almost all cognitive functions. Despite this tremendous relevance, our understanding of the neurobiological fundaments of lateralization is just in its infancy. In the last decade I tried to streamline my research on bird and human asymmetries such that overlapping phenomena were studied with diverse neuroscientific methods in both … [Read more]

Controlling Landscapes and Bodies

During my time at STIAS I will collaborate with Stellenbosch and Cape Town faculty in both the humanities and the sciences to look at the positioning and chronology of Egyptian rock art in the Eastern Sahara in order to establish whether the animal or human images shown reflect changes in the environment and how it … [Read more]

Life in the transients

This project will explore a new theory of adaptation that I have termed Life in the Transients (LIT). In a nutshell, LIT argues that the theory of open thermodynamic systems has significant implications for how we think about life, adaptation and evolution. These are largely unexplored, largely because we do not have a good idea … [Read more]

Reservoir computing of (African) bird song

South Africa is one of the top destinations in the world for bird watching. From the total of about 10000 of bird species,850 species are to be found here. Kwazulu-­Natal in particular is one of the richest regions supporting a wide array of different birds, while the Western Cape is another very popular destination. Bird … [Read more]

The scorpion chemosensory organs (project 1) & Biological contexts of pain perception and suffering in experimental animals (project 2)

1. The scorpion chemosensory organs have a number of unusual properties, making them an intriguing research object for neurobiologists. First, the scorpion pectines are not located on the head like the noses or antennae of most animals but rather on the ventral side of the abdomen in close proximity to the substrate. Second, the pectines … [Read more]

Self, Autonomy, Authority and Law: The Challenge of ‘Leaky Bodies’

The unity, integrity, health and prospects of collectives such as states, nations and societies are often imagined in terms of the individual human body. Already for Plato, the just person with an orderly soul mirrors and promotes the justly ordered society and vice versa. Feminist authors have pointed out that the ‘citizen’, ‘hero’, ‘leader’ and … [Read more]

Systematic generation of an update of the ongoing studies on the new BTK inhibitors

BTK is a cytoplasmic protein-tyrosine kinase, whose corresponding gene was isolated in the early 1990s. BTK was initially identified by positional cloning of the gene causing X-linked agammaglobulinemia and independently in a search for new kinases. Given the phenotype of affected patients, namely lack of B-lymphocytes and plasma cells with the ensuing inability to mount … [Read more]

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Meeting Long Term Challenges

Professor Ian Goldin is the Director of the Oxford Martin School and Professor of Globalisation and Development at the University of Oxford. The Oxford Martin School is the leading global interdisciplinary research centre on major global challenges, with over 350 academics from 50 disciplines. During his fellowship at STIAS Professor Goldin’s principal research aim is … [Read more]