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Meet the Editorial Board of PLOS Complex Systems

Get to know who’s helping lead complex systems research at PLOS.

We sat down with some of our recently appointed PLOS Complex Systems Section Editors to share their thoughts and experiences, more about their current work and research projects, and what motivated them to get involved with our newest journal.

Matteo Convertino, Tsinghua University, China

Section Editor, Climate and Natural Hazards 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your current work

I’m currently involved in structural ecological engineering, centered on ecohydrological networks and flows for the assessment, forecasting and construction of future ecosystems considering climate change and development trajectories. We are largely focused on interfaces (or ecotones) that are essentially all water-dependent ecosystems at the interface between land and water – think about any coastline (blue carbon ecosystems), riparian areas along rivers, and other areas in between dramatically different habitats including built and natural systems.

I am also working with people in the School of Design to reshape the way we build in eco-symbiosis with natural habitats, in a way their complex structure triggers quantifiable positive hydroclimatic benefits. 

The core behind everything we do is for water to be linked to salient species and built environmental components, where the resulting pattern (systemic risk and value) is optimally shaped (plus minus uncertainty and adaptively for the unknown unknowns). So, we are combining engineering, eco-environmental sciences, and risk & decision/design sciences in a complexity perspective to provide detailed plans for restoration and development. 

Lastly, I am involved in ecological information communication (to stakeholders and the wider public) to inform what people do not know and infer their needs and desires. This is important and really embraces a practical ecosystem science of complexity because any pattern/ecological state that arises cannot be defined without people.

Why did you decide to get involved with the journal as a Section Editor?

The first reason is that I follow opportunities that I feel close to. The combination of complex system methods and models and ecosystem science oriented toward water/climate disasters or ecosystem services, in general, has always been my core work. Therefore, topically the section is central to my activity. 

As for why being a Section Editor? I love to believe I can steer the science from the top-down, e.g. trying to promote a journal, journal topics/areas of science that are needed, and potentially also trying to change the world of publishing (for instance promoting the idea of creating shorter pieces to promote the science to the general public and addressing no-funding publications).

Lastly, it is also good to connect with people with similar visions and promote a similar agenda. This is a form of science lobbying that is useful and needed. 

Carlo Vittorio Cannistraci, Tsinghua University, China

Section Editor, Concepts in Complexity

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your current work

Recently, I have been working to develop new brain- and bio- inspired engineering theories for next-generation artificial intelligence.

More in general, the Center for Complex Network Intelligence (CCNI) – that I lead – works to create pioneering algorithms at the interface between information science, physics of complex systems, complex networks and machine intelligence, with a particular focus in brain/life-inspired computing for big data analysis. These computational methods are often applied to precision biomedicine, neuroscience, social, and economic science.

Why did you decide to get involved with the journal as a Section Editor?

Because I work to develop new complexity-inspired theories for computing and artificial intelligence. This journal is the perfect venue to promote and support such types of research. 

Nataša Przulj, Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies, Barcelona Supercomputer Center 

Section Editor, Human Health

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your current work

My current roles include Professor of Biomedical Data Science at University College London, and a Research Professor at the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) at Barcelona Supercomputing Center. 

I am a Fellow of the International Society of Computational Biology (ISCB), an elected member of Academia Europaea –The Academy of Europe, a Fellow of the British Computer Society (BCS), and a Scientific Advisor of the Mathematics Institute of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU). In 2014, I was awarded the British Computer Society Roger Needham Award, and have also received three prestigious European Research Council (ERC) grants, with my research also having been supported by other large governmental and industrial grants. 

I have worked on various projects at the intersection between human health and systems science, with my research primarily focusing on personalized medicine developing and utilizing network biology, and applied learning methods.

Why did you decide to get involved with the journal as a Section Editor?

A friend recommended it to me. I think PLOS Complex Systems will add valuable contributions to the multidisciplinary field it aims to serve, and I’m excited to be a part of it.

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