Charlie Messina

From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki

I am a Research Scientist at Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a company that develops and supplies advanced plant genetics worldwide. My main research area is in modeling complex adaptive systems of plants in a context of crop genetic improvement. I received my Ph.D. in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from the University of Florida. I lectured in agricultural climatology and crop physiology, and conducted research on environmental determinants of crop yield and on eco-physiological and genetic determinants of genotype by environment interactions. In my research I used a suit of statistical and biophysical models to integrate genotypic and environmental information to predict crop performance under varying environmental conditions.

What do you want to learn?

I would like to learn about techniques, concepts and approaches that help me in some aspect to transparently map gene to phenotypes and gain insights on how selection shapes plant form and function given a population of environments. More specifically, I am interested in developing skills in applying networks theory to describe, model and simulate biological processes, and to learn about techniques to represent-describe complex, rugged, and highly-dimensional landscapes.

Do you have any ideas for what sort of project you would like to attack this summer?

I would be interested in studying the variations in phenotypic landscapes as determined by genotype and eco-physiological trait architecture, and their interactions with the environment.

What’s your favorite “big problem”?

To predict reliably phenotypes from genotypes for higher organisms using incomplete knowledge and uncertain data.

If you were given the opportunity to see where we were in one hundred years with respect to progress on one problem/subject, what would it be?

I would like to see how much progress we made towards answering the question once posed by Stuart Kaufmann What are the sources of the overwhelming and beautiful order which graces the living world?