Dr Chris Reid

Dr Chris Reid
Macquarie University
Research Field: Biological Sciences

Imagine a swarm of robots that can join together to create structures or tools as needed, or a blob of cells that transforms itself into a replacement ear, bladder or heart.

These capabilities are within reach if we can understand and harness the rules that govern how groups of simple interacting units achieve coordinated behaviour. We call these groups ‘complex systems’ and they span from physics to biology and operate on all scales, from global weather patterns to neurons in the brain.

Dr Chris Reid aims to advance our understanding of complex systems like tissue development and wound healing by uncovering knowledge about biological complex systems.

Chris researches biological complex systems such as ant colonies, honeybee hives and slime moulds to understand how simple interactions between individuals lead to the sophisticated capabilities observed at the level of the group.

By shedding light on biological complex systems, Chris aims to enhance our understanding of other complex systems like tissue development and wound healing; improve our problem-solving computer programs; and provide behavioural rules for swarms of robots to enhance their capabilities as a collective.

Chris’ public engagement is extensive, for example through his ‘Are you smarter than a slime mould?’ exhibit and the annual Minibeast Day event, where Macquarie researchers present invertebrates to children to showcase biodiversity and conservation.

Dr Chris Reid received his PhD from the University of Sydney in 2013 and is currently an ARC DECRA Fellow with the Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University.