Complex Systems


Systems lab


Ricard Solé ICREA Research Professor

Ricard Solé - ICREA Research Professor
Complex Systems lab Team
Complex Systems lab

MEMBERS OF THE GROUP (Active in 2018)

Postdoctoral Researchers Nuria Conde Puevo, Raul Montañez Martinez

Predoctoral Researchers Guim Aguadé Gorgorió, Aina Ollé Vila, Jordi Piñero Fernandez, Blai Vidiella Rocamora

Research Technician Luis Francisco Seoane Iglesias

Master student (visiting) Victor Maull Miquel, Jordi Pla

Postdoctoral Researchers (visiting) Martí Sánchez, Josep Sardanyes Cayuela


The Complex Systems lab focuses on understanding the evolutionary origins of complex systems, using both mathematical models and experimental approaches based on synthetic biology. This lab has proposed and developed the concept of Major Synthetic Transitions as a framework for exploring the origins of innovation in evolution using a parallel approach, namely our potential for building or simulating synthetic systems that can recreate past evolutionary events. This includes the origin of protocells, multicellular systems, symbiosis, cognition and language. Another research area addresses Unstable Evolutionary Dynamics, namely the dynamics of biological systems (particularly RNA viruses and cancer) that exhibit a tendency towards high genetic instability as part of their adaptation potential. The Complex Systems lab also introduced the concept of «Terraforming» endangered or human-made ecosystems to avoid catastrophic shifts. The success of this proposal will require the development of a new synthesis involving multiple scales and conceptual frameworks, ranging from synthetic biology and cellular circuits to ecological communities. Finally, it also studies the evolution of artificial systems, in both silico ecosystems and technological networks, in its search for a true definition of evolutionary dynamics and technological phylogenies.


Vidiella B.; Sardanyés J.; Sole R. 2018. Exploiting delayed transitions to sustain semiarid ecosystems after catastrophic shifts. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. 15(143):20180083 doi: 10.1098/rsif.2018.0083

Valverde, S.; Piñero, J.; Corominas-Murtra, B.; Montoya, J.; Joppa, L.; Solé, R. (2018) The architecture of mutualistic networks as an evolutionary spandrel. Nature Ecology and Evolution. 2(1):94-99 doi: 10.1038/s41559-017-0383-4

Corominas-Murtra B., Seoane L.F., Solé R. 2018. Zipf's Law, unbounded complexity and open-ended evolution. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. 15(149):20180395 doi: 10.1098/rsif.2018.0395

Corominas-Murtra B.; Sànchez Fibla M.; Valverde S.;Solé R. 2018. Chromatic transitions in the emergence of syntax networks. Royal Society. () doi: 10.1098/rsos.181286


Title: Microbial deployment of new-to-nature chemistries for refactoring the barriers between living and non-living matter ¿ MADONNA (H2020-FET)
Funded by: EU-H2020
Date: 2018-2021

Title: Hacía una física de las grandes transaciones evolutivas (FIS2015-67616)
Funded by: Instituto de salud Carlos III
Date: 2016-2018

Title: Cellular Computation
Funded by: Fundación Marcelino Botín
Date: 2015-2019

Title: Evolució de Sistemes Complexos (2017 SGR 00866). Grup de recerca pre-consolidat reconegut i finançat Generalitat de Catalunya.
Funded by: AGAUR (2017 SGR 00866)
Date: 2017-2020