Hi, I'm Chico!

PhD student at the University of Oxford

I am a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford, working between physics, biology and computation, applying concepts from statistical mechanics, information theory and dynamical systems to investigate the physical principles that rule biological evolution - or more specifically, genotype-phenotype maps. I am fascinated by how things evolve: how life, culture, language, and how society changes. I am also always up for the challenge of finding novel and exciting ways of blending science and art to tell stories.

If you want to know more, here is my CV.

Recent Projects

Modelling the Evolution of Gene Networks

Your genes do not work alone. Instead, they are wired in networks that respond to signals from the environment, and that behave differently depending on how they are wired. But how does nature search for the best wiring in the space of all possible ones? We are working with theoretical models for gene networks to try to answer this question.

Lattice Models of Protein Folding

Proteins are large and complicated, and even the best simulations often cannot tell how they find the right secondary and tertiary structures. If instead the protein sits on a lattice, it ceases to have countless possible structures: they become countable and finite. These lattice proteins allow us to search for the design principles that make amino acid sequences prefer certain structures over others.

L-Systems and Plant Morphology

L-systems or Lindenmayer systems are basically algorithms for plant shape, translating a "genotype" made of instructions into branching structures. We use L-systems as a tool to probe into the diversity of plant shapes and tackle a simple question: how does evolutionary search find complex shapes?

Input-Output Maps and Complexity

Some non-biological systems seem to behave in ways similar to genotype-phenotype maps. This is an ongoing project, which has so far involved bits of machine learning, random matrix theory and algorithmic information theory.

Background

Mathematical Methods for Bacterial Population Dynamics

In this project, I compared analytic predictions and data from genetic knockouts of Bacillus subtilis to study the influence of bacterial growth rates on the size structure of bacterial populations. Supervised by Prof. Roberto Kraenkel, in collaboration with Frederico José Gueiros Filho.

Individual- and Population-Level Models for Cell Processes

During this research project, I studied which limiting laws for the evolution of cell density arise from different underlying models for motility, incorporating details such as crowding and run-and-tumble movement. Supervised by Prof. Philip Maini and Prof. Ruth Baker.

Competition Sensing Effects in Bacterial Twitching Motility

I developed a computational pipeline to track and analyse cell movement to investigate how competition sensing happens at individual movement level in Pseudomonas. Supervised by Prof. Kevin Foster and Dr. William M. Durham.

Scientific Outreach

Apart from doing science myself, I am also passionate about communicating it to wider audiences. I am part of an award-winning YouTube channel called BláBláLogia, where we have daily videos on topics ranging from space travel to ecology to film making. My show, Top Models, is on air every two weeks. Apart from my YouTube work, I have also spoken at science communication events such as FameLab, as well as Oxford's Science Cabaret.



Contact Me

chico.camargo (at) physics.ox.ac.uk