Adilson E. Motter
Professor, Physics & Astronomy
PhD, Unicamp (Brazil), 2002
The Motter Group studies studies how information, influences, and perturbations propagate through complex networks and how they shape the large-scale behavior of systems as diverse as biochemical, physical, and ecological networks. This research touches upon issues underlying the root causes of spontaneous synchronization, behavioral cascades, and other collective phenomena observed in many natural and man-made systems. In particular, the group has helped develop the concept of synthetic rescue in network biology, which is a collective gene interaction effect that can compensate for genetic and epigenetic failures in living cells. Current research includes optimization and control of network dynamics for the recovery of lost cellular function, the development of smart grids, the design of new materials, and the stabilization of complex systems.
This research is inherently interdisciplinary and benefits from Prof. Motter's affiliations with other programs, such as the Department of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics (ESAM), Department of Linguistics, Molecular Biophysics Program, Northwestern University Physical Sciences-Oncology Center (NU PSOC), Initiative on Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN), Institute for Sustainable Practices (NiSP), Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA), and Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO).
Selected Recent Publications
T. Nishikawa and A.E. Motter,
Network synchronization landscape reveals compensatory structures, quantization, and the positive effect of negative interactions,
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 107, 10342 (2010).
Improved network performance via antagonism: From synthetic rescues to multi-drug combinations,
BioEssays 32, 236 (2010)
Spontaneous synchrony breaking,
Nature Physics 6, 164 (2010).
J. Andreasen, H. Cao, J. Wiersig, and A.E. Motter,
Marginally unstable periodic orbits in semiclassical mushroom billiards,
Physical Review Letters 103, 154101 (2009).
G. Bianconi, N. Gulbahce, and A.E. Motter,
Local structure of directed networks,
Physical Review Letters 100, 118701 (2008).
A.E. Motter, N. Gulbahce, E. Almaas, and A.-L. Barabasi,
Predicting synthetic rescues in metabolic networks,
Molecular Systems Biology 4, 168 (2008).
A Delicate Balance: New Study Shows How Networks Keep Themselves in Synch
NU Press Release (May 24, 2010)
Illusion of the Green Revolution and How to Finally Spark a Real One
CenterPiece (Fall 2009)
Optical Mushroom: A New Trick for Directional Emission
Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science (October 12, 2009)
Metabolic Reactions: Less Is More In Single-celled Organisms
ScienceDaily (December 16, 2008)
Work with Power Grids Leads to Cell Biology Discovery
NU Press Release (March 18, 2008)
Stuck with the Flow
Nature Physics (January, 2008)
The Applied Physics Graduate Program is a hub for strong collaborations between faculty in our Physics & Astronomy, Molecular Biosciences, Chemistry, Earth & Planetary Sciences, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, and Materials Science & Engineering departments.
Images from the Motter group
Metabolic network activity (PLoS Comp. Biol. 2008)
Mushroom-shaped microlaser (Phys. Rev. Lett. 2009)
Network synchronization landscape (Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 2010)