Complex Systems

The world is made up of complex systems, from power grids and neural networks to fish migration and microbial communities. Researchers at WID work to characterize, model, and understand such systems to make advances in medicine, agriculture, technology, the environment, and more.

Systems Biology
We use computational and mathematical tools alongside laboratory studies to understand interactions within complex biological systems.

Microbiome
We study the communities of microorganisms that live on or in people, plants, soil, oceans, and the atmosphere and which influence human health and ecosystems.

Multi-Omics
We are working to manage and utilize massive biological data sets to understand gene regulation, cellular reprogramming, precision medicine, and more.

Data Science
From fundamental mathematics to optimization and machine learning, our data science research is making sense of complex systems.


Slide Complex Systems Faculty See all WID Faculty Complexity underlies nearly all research at WID. Our faculty study diverse systems, from power grids to microbial communities and everything in between. Below are some of the WID faculty working on complex systems. Alberto Del Pia Industrial & Systems Engineering John Denu Biomolecular Chemistry Michael Ferris Computer Sciences Jo Handelsman at WID Jo Handelsman Plant Pathology Lessard Laurent Lessard Electrical & Computer Engineering Sushmita Roy Sushmita Roy Biostatistics & Medical Informatics Daniel Pimentel-Alarcon Biostatistics & Medical Informatics Claudia Solís-Lemus Plant Pathology Thomas Rutherford Agricultural & Applied Economics Karen Schloss Psychology John Yin Chemical & Biological Engineering Xuehua Zhong Laboratory of Genetics

WID alumnus awarded first AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship in the U.S. Department of the Treasury WID News WID and Saha Lab alumnus, and current postdoc at the Morgridge Institute for Research, Amritava Das anticipates that he will put his engineering and bioscience training to use exploring the sometimes knotty connections between science, national security, and finance. Continue Reading UW researchers join three national artificial intelligence institutes WID News Institute for Future Edge Networks and Distributed Intelligence (AI-EDGE) led by Robert Nowak, UW–Madison professor of electrical and computer engineering and researchers at Ohio State. Continue Reading Arabidopsis thaliana Molecular Puzzles in 3D: Understanding a Mechanism for Methylation Featured Science A new publication from the Xuehua Zhong’s group at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and the genetics department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison clarifies an important epigenetic mechanism in plants that will help researchers better understand the epigenomes of both plants and animals. Continue Reading Undergraduate Researcher Helps Fill in the Blanks on Virus Lifecycle Wisconsin Stories Tianyi “Herry” Jin, an undergraduate in John Yin's lab group at WID and the department of chemical and biological engineering, published discoveries about viruses in the journal Integrative Biology. Continue Reading NSF Supports Interdisciplinary Pandemic Prevention Workshops WID News WID's John Yin is part of a team assembling February workshops on predictive intelligence for pandemic prevention. Continue Reading Heatmap of wisconsin Thompson Center Badgercast: Michael Ferris Wisconsin Stories WID's Michael Ferris joined the Thompson Center on Public Leadership to discuss a data-based planning tool called “Wisconsin Expansion of Renewable Electricity with Optimization under Long-term Forecasts” (WEREWOLF) he developed with Thompson Center faculty research funding. Continue Reading