Visiting Professors & Guest Scholars

Visiting Professors

Tancredi Caruso is Associate Professor of Ecology at University College Dublin. His research focuses on the processes that structure soil biodiversity in space and time and he has mostly worked on aboveground-belowground linkages, especially plants and soil biota, and the ecological networks they form, and how ecological networks respond to environmental change and perturbations. One current research focus is the quantification of structures in fluctuating, large networks established between bacteria, fungi and plants, as well as the soil food web, and changes in those structures following extreme events with the ultimate goal of linking changes in network structure to the changes in the functions delivered by the network.

Roberto Livi is honorary Professor at the University of Florence and the President of the Italian Statistical Physics Society (SIFS). He is an expert of the foundations of quantum mechanics, statistical field theory, statistical mechanics, dynamical systems, complex systems, quantum systems, models of biological interest, and the history of physics. He has a long track record of impactful publications on peer-reviewed international journals, several invited talks at major conferences worldwide, and  many organized events of relevance for the national and international physics community. He has been visiting several research centers and institutions as an invited researcher, including the Department of Theoretical Physics of the University of Edinburgh, the Universidad Nacional Autonoma in Mexico City, the Institute des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques in Paris, the Departement de Physique Theorique de l'Université de Geneve, the Departement de Physique Theorique de l'Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, the Centre de Physique Theorique du CNRS in Luminy (Marseille), the Max-Planck-Institut fur Complexer Systeme in Dresden, the  Weizmann Institute of Sciences in Rehovot and the Department of Physics of the University of Potsdam.

Luca Avena received a M.Sc. in mathematics (cum laude) in 2006 from the University of Rome ROMATRE, after preparing a thesis under the supervision of Prof. F. Martinelli and Prof. P. Caputo. During his bachelor studies, he spent one year at the mathematics department in Granada (Spain). After completion of his master studies, Luca started a PhD programme at Leiden University (The Netherlands) under the supervision of Prof. F. den Hollander. In 2010 he defended his PhD thesis. After few years as post-doc at the University of Zürich (Switzerland) in the group of Prof. E. Bolthausen and at the WIAS institute of Berlin (Germany) in the group of Prof. W. König, since June 2014 he has been employed first as assistant professor and since 2020 as associate professor in Probability Theory at Leiden University. His main research activities focus on a number of topics in probability theory and statistical physics, e.g. random motion in random media, expansion methods and random graphs.

Nicola Dimitri is Professor of Economics at the University of Siena (Italy), Visiting Professor at the IMT School for Advanced Studies in Lucca (Italy) and Life Member of Clare Hall College (Cambridge-UK). He was formerly Deputy Rector of the University of Siena and Chair of the Economics Department. He has been Fulbright Student, Chevening Scholar, NATO-CNR and Fernand Braudel Fellow (EUI). He built up numerous years of academic and professional experience in Innovation Procurement, where he was initially involved because of his background in Microeconomics and Game Theory. A main experience in this area was as economic advisor of Consip, the Italian Procurement Central Purchasing entity. He has academic and professional experience in the economics of innovation, having served as economic advisor in an Innovation Park for Life Sciences in Siena, focused on incubating start-ups.

Hernán Makse currently serves as Professor of Physics at City College of New York, wherein he is responsible for the Complex Networks and Soft Matter lab at the Levich Institute. He is also a Member Affiliate, Attending Imaging Scientist, MSKCC Rank at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He holds a PhD degree in Physics from Boston University. He has been author of numerous publications on the theory of complex systems and the physics of soft materials and he is an APS Fellow. His research focuses on the theoretical understanding of Complex Systems from a Statistical Physics viewpoint. He is working towards the development of new emergent laws for complex systems, ranging from brain networks to biological networks and social systems.  Treating these complex systems from a unified theoretical approach, he uses concepts from statistical mechanics, network and optimization theory, artificial intelligence, and big-data science to advance new views on complex systems and networks.

Professor Béla Bollobás FRS is the Jabie Hardin Chair of Excellence in Combinatorics at the University of Memphis, and a Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge. Professor Bollobás is one of the world's leading mathematicians in combinatorics. He has a huge published output, which includes major contributions to many different branches of this very large area, such as random graphs, percolation, extremal graphs and set systems, isoperimetric inequalities. His main area of research is combinatorics, particularly in graph theory. The two areas that interest him most are extremal graph theory and random graph theory.

Professor Andrea Gabrielli is Associate Professor at the University of Rome ROMATRE. In recent years he collaborated to the development of the theory of Economic Complexity and studied the problem of reconstruction of complex networks from partial information which is of capital importance mainly in finance. He has a solid expertise in statistical physics of complex systems, stochastic processes and complex network theory. He is currently a researcher at CNR, a Visiting Professor at IMT School for Advanced Studies in Lucca, and at the Physics Department of the Boston University (MA, USA). He is author of more than 100 scientific publications on peer reviewed international journals and of one scientific book of statistical physics published by Springer (2004).

Antonio Scala PhD, is a theoretical physicist, he got a Master in Physics and Computer Science at the University of Napoli; thesis on Frustrated Percolation and Monte Carlo Dynamics (PRL). Research activity on Reaction-Diffusion systems (PRL), Complex Networks (PNAS) and Protein Folding (PRE, EPL). Teaching Quantum Mechanics, Experimental Physics, Introductory Physics. Ph.D. in Condensed Matter Physics, Boston University; thesis on Metastable Critical Points and Energy Landscapes (PRL, Nature). 

Guest Scholars

Subodh Patil is Assistant Professor at the Lorentz Institute for Theoretical Physics at Leiden University. His research primarily focuses on everything to do with early universe cosmology and related aspects of particle physics phenomenology. He is also interested in how models of reality nest together with seamless consistency, both intuitively and operationally. The primary toolkit for physicists to understand this is known as the renormalization group, and Subodh has been spending a lot of time recently thinking about real space renormalization techniques, especially applied to networks — the prototypical model abstraction of all relational systems.  

François Lafond is Deputy Director of the Complexity Economics Programme at the Institute for New Economic Thinking. He is also Lead Researcher at the Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment, an Oxford Martin School fellow, and an Associate Member of Nuffield college. François’s current research interests lie in the macroeconomics of the net zero transition, the structure and evolution of production networks, and the future of technology. His research attempts to address important economic questions by marrying complex systems methods with domain knowledge in economics. His research has appeared in economics and interdisciplinary journals, and has been featured in books, news articles, and public sector reports.

Rajat Subhra Hazra is Associate Professor at the Mathematical Institute of Leiden University. Previously, he held positions at the Indian Statistical Institute and the University of Zurich. He holds a PhD in Mathematics from the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata. He is recipient of many prizes, including the 2020 Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar award in Mathematical Sciences (one of the highest multidisciplinary science awards in India given to scientists under the age of 45), the 2020 Young Statistical Scientist Award in the Theory and Methods category by the International Indian Statistical Association, the 2018 DST MATRICS grant by the Department of Science and Technology in India, the 2016 Young Scientist award in Mathematics by the Indian National Science Academy and the 2014 DST-INSPIRE Young Faculty Fellowship grant by the Department of Science and Technology in India. He is Elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences. His research interests include complex networks, random matrices, extreme value theory, free probability, and percolation. 

Fernando A Nóbrega Santos is a Research Fellow a the Dutch Institute for Emergent Phenomena (DIEP) and at the Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). He is also a visiting fellow at the Department of Anatomy and Neurosciences at VUmc in Amsterdam. Before that, he was Research Associate at the Multiscale division of the Department of Anatomy and Neurosciences of the Amsterdam University Medical Center and an Assistant Professor at the Department of Mathematics of the Federal University of Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil. He has also held visiting fellowships at the Wolfson Centre for Mathematical Biology, Oxford University, the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste and the Jean Lamour Institute, Lorraine University. His research integrates theoretical physics, applied mathematics and data science, focusing on bridging results in computational topology, geometry and statistical mechanics with network neuroscience and artificial intelligence. His current research focuses on bridging brain imaging and behavior. 

Kimberly Conteddu is a PhD student in data science at the Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research Training in Foundations of Data Science (SFI - Data Science). Her interest lies in using novel statistical machine learning techniques and network analysis to understand the impact that human factors have on wildlife and biodiversity. She is involved in setting up a collaboration between the RU Networks of IMT and the Laboratory of Wildlife Ecology and Behaviour at University College Dublin, where she is currently supervised by Dr. Simone Ciuti. The collaboration will investigate the relationship between network structure, animal ecology and behaviour, and the risk of human-induced biodiversity loss.

Pierfrancesco Dionigi received his bachelor’s degree in Physics and his master degree in Theoretical Physics from University of Bologna, Italy. His master thesis, entitled “A Random Matrix approach to Complex Networks”, concerned the analysis of random graphs using Random Matrix Theory and studying the Empirical Spectral Distribution of the main matrix quantities related to networks. Pierfrancesco started his PhD in Leiden in October 2019 under the supervision of Frank den Hollander and Diego Garlaschelli under the project “Breaking of ensemble equivalence for complex networks”. The project goal is to analyze the breaking of ensemble equivalence in complex networks sheding new light on possible relations with their spectral distribution.

Fabio Saracco has a Master's Degree in Theoretical Physics at the University of Florence, with a thesis on non-linear Cosmological perturbations. He obtained his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics (String Theory) at the University of Milano Bicocca in 2013, with a thesis on the resolution of strings singularities with A. Tomasiello (INFN, and Physics Dep., University of Milano Bicocca). In 2013 he moved to the Institute for Complex Systems (ISC-CNR, Sapienza Department, Rome), where he worked on Economic Complexity. In this period, Fabio developed an entropy-based method for network randomization for the special class of bipartite networks. Between October 2015 and May 2021, Fabio has been a senior researcher in the NETWORKS research unit at the IMT School in Lucca, working on evolving networks, non-linear algorithms and null models, with applications to online social networks, fake news, misinformation, ecological networks and trade networks

Giovanni Petri is a Senior Research Scientist at the ISI Foundation in Turin, Italy. He is an expert in the theoretical and empirical analysis of complex systems, with an emphasis on the structural and temporal properties of networks with higher-order interactions and feedback dynamics. He has broadened his research to include the investigation of whole-brain activation patterns and the structure of task representation in cognitive systems, with particular reference to their topological structure, merging statistical physics approach, algebraic topology and data analysis. He is currently focusing on dynamical connectivity during resting state and tasks, aiming to build robust quantitative tools to be used as building blocks to develop biomarkers and as guiding principles to reverse-engineer functional connectivity dynamics.