The emergence of a functionally flexible brain during early infancy

I’m excited that our latest collaborative network neuroscience paper has now appeared in PNAS. Working closely with Weiyan Yin in Weili Lin‘s group and many others in the Biomedical Research Imaging Center at the UNC School of Medicine, we use the notion of flexibility, previously introduced for functional magnetic resonance imaging data in terms of the multilayer network community detection tools developed in our group, to study brain activity in typically developing infants. I find it very gratifying to see that these multilayer community detection tools continue to find important applications, and I hope to continue to see further developments as we continue to improve the available methods for such network science tasks.

Press Release:

Update: Our paper appeared in the Highlights in PNAS for September 2, 2020.

Eun Lee’s work covered in Ars Technica

A hearty congratulations to postdoctoral associate Dr. Eun Lee both for her paper on social perception bias published last year in Nature Human Behaviour and for the recent coverage of that paper in Ars Technica. Well done Eun!

Network analysis of languages

I’m very excited to have played a small part in new work led by UNC Psychology graduate student Josh Jackson and others in Kristen Lindquist‘s lab that appeared last week in Science analyzing patterns of colexification through network analysis. Congratulations to Josh, Kristen, and everybody else involved on the very interesting work and all of the great attention this paper has been getting!

Jackson, Joshua Conrad, Joseph Watts, Teague R. Henry, Johann-Mattis List, Robert Forkel, Peter J. Mucha, Simon J. Greenhill, Russell D. Gray, and Kristen A. Lindquist. “Emotion Semantics Show Both Cultural Variation and Universal Structure.” Science 366, no. 6472 (December 20, 2019): 1517–22.

UNC University Communications
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Our new paper in Nature Genetics

I’m thrilled to see our new paper in Nature Genetics: Functional classification of long non-coding RNAs by k-mer content led by BCB graduate student Jessime Kirk in Mauro Calabrese’s lab.

And it was even enough to motivate Mauro to post his first lab account tweet:

(I’m a mostly lurking, occasional retweeter on an account you are unlikely to find, even if you cared to try.)

See also: Scientists Create Method to Map Vast Unknown Territory of Long Non-coding RNA

Dane Taylor in SIAM News Blog

Congratulations to postdoctoral associate Dane Taylor for the recent profile on him in the SIAM News Blog.

Dane was in Atlanta for the SIAM Conference on Computational Science and Engineering, where he presented at a minisymposium on Modeling and Computational Methods in Network Science and Applications. Dane’s talk brought together different elements of our work on detectability of communities in multilayer network data, including these two papers coauthored with Natalie Stanley and Saray Shai, along with more recent work with Rajmonda Caceres.

Congratulations to Dane for this great coverage of his work!

Saray Shai’s new paper on multiplex metropolitan networks

Congratulations to current postdoctoral associate Dr. Saray Shai and her collaborators for their recent paper in Journal of the Royal Society Interface. Remarkably, they were able to show that increasing the speed of subway trains doesn’t always make for better outcomes. With a great result like that, it shouldn’t be surprising that their work has garnered some nice press coverage.

Congratulations Saray!

Math + Political Science collaboration questions ‘Democratic Peace’ theory

KantianCommunitiesUsing a new technique to analyze 52 years of international conflict, an interdisciplinary collaborative team between Political Science and Mathematics suggests that there may be no such thing as a “democratic peace.” The study appears this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, co-authored by Ohio State Political Science professor Skyler Cranmer, University of Iowa Political Science professor Elizabeth Menninga (who recently earned her Political Science Ph.D. from UNC–Chapel Hill), and Peter Mucha from Carolina Mathematics.

Read more here…

Bring the noise

In a wonderfully titled research highlight in Nature Physics, Abigail Klopper discusses our recent publication “Topological data analysis of contagion maps for examining spreading processes on networks” (also available on our Networks reprints page).

Led by postdoctoral associate Dane Taylorcontagions, our former summer Fulbright visitor Florian Klimm, and working with collaborators at Oxford and Rutgers, we study the spread of contagions on networks using tools of topological data analysis and nonlinear dimension reduction. Focusing on a specific model of complex contagions, we explore the settings under which the contagion spreads by wavefront propagation versus spread by the appearance of new clusters.

Congratulations to Dane, Flo, and all involved.

Article selected for Chaos collection

We are honored that our paper “Robust detection of dynamic community structure in networks” by Bassett et al. has been selected as the representative for calendar year 2013 in the new collection 25 Articles for 25 Years, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the journal Chaos.

“The Chaos collection 25 Articles for 25 Years celebrates the Journal’s contributions to the nonlinear dynamics community and to the advancement of science. Editor-in-Chief David Campbell has chosen one article from every year of the Journal’s publication to represent the depth and breadth of nonlinear science historically and today. Articles were chosen for their importance to the community, for their impact on the direction of nonlinear science, and to reflect the variety of exciting research in nonlinear science undertaken all over the world.”

Drew Cabaniss’ work on urban scaling

Congratulations to undergraduate researcher Drew Cabaniss for the recent trending of his work on settlement scaling and increasing returns in an ancient society (with Ortman, Sturm and Bettencourt), which follows up on their earlier publication on the pre-history of urban scaling (by the same group of others). Appearing prominently in today’s Google News section on Science, this work by Drew and his collaborators has recently appeared in multiple places (and many others—there was no way I was going to add them all here).

We have all enjoyed interacting with Drew and his unique perspective merging classical archaeology and quantitative methods. It’s been great having him around as a long-time colleague and active participant in our networks group, and we’ll miss having him around after he graduates this spring. We expect to hear about many other great things from him in the future.