The Team

Group Leader

Prof. Melanie Moses
I am an Assistant Professor in Department of Computer Science at The University of New Mexico.
My research interests are in biological networks, agent-based models of biological systems including the immune system and ant colonies, and other research in complex systems and computational biology.

In my lab, we seek to understand general principles that govern biological and social organization, particularly how the size and topology of networks influence the efficiency with which systems acquire energy and information. I use scaling theory to model ant societies, human societies and the infrastructure, information and technology that enables human societies to function.

Team Members

Thanaphon Tangchoopong (Jo)
 I am a second year PhD student in the Department of Computer Science at The
University of New Mexico.

My research interests are in agent-based modeling for active-self assembly, and other research in complex systems and  biologically inspired computing.

Edward C. (Chris) Miles
   Edward C. Miles (who goes by his middle name of Chris) came to the Computer Science graduate program at UNM from the aerospace industry, where he has worked on the development of state-of-the-art avionics. He holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from Georgia Tech, and his professional expertise is primarily in the areas of systems design, integration, and test. Chris is currently living in Savannah, GA, helping with flight testing of a new advanced business jet while continuing work on his thesis for a master's degree.

Chris's desire to study Computer Science comes in part from his professional background and also in part from observing that computers have become ubiquitous in society. He is interested in complex systems and multi-agent computing, specifically how biological systems offer examples of efficient implementations of agent-based problem solving.

                                                                                          A private pilot, Chris has noticed a lot of similarity between ant colonies viewed from five feet and human colonies viewed from 5000 feet. 

Joshua Hecker
Interdisciplinary cooperation plays an essential role in keeping today's computer scientist familiar with the state-of-the-art. To this end, my research is focused on understanding and predicting the behavior of West Nile virus (WNV) on a macroecological scale. Using techniques from a wide range of CS-related fields, including linear algebra, statistics, and machine learning, we hope to develop a comprehensive epidemiological model capable of anticipating WNV impact upon ecological communities. On a more personal note, my lab mates and I wish to extend our thanks to my wife, Ashley, for providing delicious baked goods each week for our lab meetings.

I am a 4th year PhD student. My research interest is in computational immunology; specifically in the modeling of immune systems and properties like decentralization and "increasing returns" exhibited by them which assist them in efficient elimination of pathogens. 
I am also interested in how the architecture of the immune system can help inspired more efficient distributed systems.

Kimberly Kanigel-Winner
I am a PhD student in Biology at the University of New Mexico. I am currently a Graduate Assistant at the Spatiotemporal Modeling Center, Cancer Research Facility/Pathology at the University of New Mexico Medical School.

My research Interests are:
Theoretical biology; models of evolution and intercellular-level disease dynamics.  
1.  Spatial/temporal modeling of ovarian cancer relapse in the peritoneal cavity, intercellular scale to gross anatomical scale, using Cellular-Potts model (Monte Carlo lattice simulation) (Compucell3D)
2.  Machine learning for classification of West Nile virus whole genome sequences based on such characteristics as infectivity and geographic origin 
3.  Agent-based model of evolution of uniparental transmission of mitochondria (Netlogo)

Tatiana Paz Flanagan
I am a PhD student in Biology and a master's student in Computer Science.

I am interested in information flow in biological systems. Ants are my thing! My research focuses on how ants use information to improve their foraging strategies and how colony size affects these strategies and outcomes. Through field experiments, statistical analyses and computer simulations, we try to quantify and characterize the usage of information and its contribution to the foraging efficiency of the colonies.

Kenneth Letendre
My research focuses on group behaviors of social organisms, with an emphasis on foraging and resource acquisition, and intergroup competition and warfare. My empirical work has examined: political attitudes as indicators and drivers of intergroup interactions in humans, as well as cross-national variation in the frequency of violent conflict and warfare; and the foraging and fighting behaviors of harvester ants of the genus Pogonomyrmex, another taxon that engages in lethal intergroup violence as part of a strategy of intergroup competition for resources.  

I regard group behaviors as the product of interactions among individuals within those groups, whose own behaviors are the product of design by natural selection to maximize the relative inclusive fitness of those individuals.  My methods include statistical modeling, as well as agent-based models to reveal how the behavior of individuals produce the emergent behavior of groups. I use genetic algorithms to optimize agent-based models, in order to study the behaviors expressed by these models after optimization by a simulated evolutionary process.

Past Lab Members

Tamanna Arora
I am currently working as a software developer at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute (LRRI). Lovelace research is aimed at prevention, treatment and cure of respiratory disease. My work deals with designing and developing processes in the field of lung cancer research, animal care operations and regulatory compliance. I am part of the software development team who develops software to streamline, automate, track and customize these processes for the scientist at LRRI.
I attended graduate school at the computer science department at the University of New Mexico. During my graduate school, I worked with Dr. Melanie Moses. With a little background in Ant Colony Optimization, I was interested in this field and Dr. Moses provided a meaning and direction to  this interest of mine. Her experience and research brought forward one of the problems from the field of VLSI to which ACO provided a promising solution. This problem dealt with the power consumption of VLSI systems which acts as a bottleneck for the design of these systems. My research focused on minimizing the active power consumption of the VLSI systems.

Horacio Samaniego
I am currently an associate professor in the School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the Universidad Austral de Chile, in the town of Valdivia, southern Chile. I teach conservation biology and landscape ecology.

My main interests are in the interplay of landscape and spatial distribution of organisms and infectious diseases. I am also involved in understanding scaling properties and dynamics of complex systems such as natural populations and transportation networks.

Endri Deliu

My research interest is the study of the use and impact of regulatory

or control mechanisms inspired from social systems on complex adaptive

systems be they computational or natural. I focus on multi-agent

system modeling and simulation.