Welcome to Blai Vidiella personal website


I am a postdoctoral researcher at Evolution of Networks Lab working with Sergi Valverde in the "MPA4sustainability" Biodiversa project. Previously, I was a researcher at Nonlinear dynamics and evolution Lab (NoDE) of the Centre de Recerca Matemàtica (CRM). This year (2022), I have acomplished my PhD thesis entitled "Terraforming Earth's ecosystems : engineering ecosystems to avoid anthropogenic tipping points" at Complex Systems Lab (CSL) of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Barcelona, supervised by Ricard Solé , Josep Sardanyés and Núria Conde. I am designing, modelling, and sometimes testing, engineered systems for holding ecosystems before a tipping point. For this reason, I apply concepts from different areas such as: ecology (in order to know what is needed), computation science (abstract design of the needed circuits), synthetic biology (for the organism engineering), dynamical systems (for instance ghost phenomena and chaos) and mathematical modelling (to test and predicting behaviour). After my thesis, we understand better some endangered ecosystems and we have more insights of how sustaining them using biological agents. Will we be able to Terraform our planet?

My background is a Bachelor in Biomedical Engineering and a Master of Sciences in Mathematical Modeler of Complex Systems. I have been interested in Complexity and Dynamical Systems since my first lessons in the Biomedical Engineering degree. The question of how these two branches of science can give simple explanations of the emerging properties of natural systems is fascinating.

My interests make me collaborate during my Degree and Master studies with the Complex Systems Lab (CSL) and Dynamical Systems Biology Lab (DSB) from the UPF. In the DSB lab I have been supervised by Jordi Garcia Ojalvo, and we have studied the expression patterning in the gastruloids, the effects of noise in the cell division and the echo phenomena in synthetic biological oscillators. In the CSL I had been researching about how engineering synthetic bacteria to behave as an immune system, and engineering the semi-arid ecosystems to improve them in front of the global Climate Change conditions, and the study of the plastic ocean ecosystem crated by the human society.

Nowadays, my research is focused in the Terraformation of ecosystems. In order to achieve the possibility to engineer the ecosystem, we must learn several topics to predict the viability of our Terraformation strategy. Some of the topics needed are: Population dynamics, Synthetic Biology, Systems Biology, Dynamical systems, Biological Computation and Spatial Analysis. Complexity science provide us the landmark to understand the whole phenomena, even when their parts can not explain the behaviour of the system by themselves.


[22] "About Ghost Transients in Spatial Continuous Media" Angel Calsina, Silvia Cuadrado, Blai Vidiella, and Josep Sardanyés.[Preprint]

[21] "Ecological firewalls for synthetic biology" Blai Vidiella, and Ricard Solé.[Preprint]

[20] "..." (Submitted) R. Alexander Bentley, Benjamin D. Horne, Izzat Alsmadi, Natalie M. Rice, Joshua Borycz, Simon Carrignon, Michael J. O’Brien, Blai Vidiella, and Sergi Valverde.

[19] "A cultural evolutionary theory that explains both gradual and punctuated change" Blai Vidiella, Simon Carrignon, R. Alexander Bentley, Michael J. O’Brien, and Sergi Valverde.

[18] "Butterfly–parasitoid–hostplant interactions in Western Palaearctic Hesperiidae: a DNA barcoding reference library" Eric Toro Delgado, Juan Hernández-Roldán, Vlad Dincă, Juan Carlos Vicente, Mark R. Shaw, Donald L.J. Quicke, Raluca Vodă, Martin Albrecht, José Fernández-Triana, Blai Vidiella, Sergi Valverde, Leonardo Dapporto, Paul D.N. Hebert, Gerard Talavera, and Roger Vila.

[17] "Critical slowing down close to a global bifurcation of a curve of quasi neutral equilibria" Ernest Fontich, Antoni Guillamon, Tomás Lázaro, Tomás Alarcón, Blai Vidiella, and Josep Sardanyés.

[16] "Synthetic criticality in cellular brains" Ricard Solé, Nuria Conde-Pueyo, Antoni Guillamon, Victor Maull, Jordi Pla, Josep Sardanyés, and Blai Vidiella. [Preprint]

[15] "Ecological mechanisms underlying aridity thresholds in global drylands" Miguel Berdugo, Blai Vidiella, Ricard Solé, and Fernando T. Maestre. [Preprint]

[14] "Structural entropy constrains dynamics in directed networks" (Submitted) Blai Vidiella, Salva Duran-Nebreda, and Sergi Valverde. [Preprint]

[13] "Engineering self-organized criticality in living cells" Blai Vidiella, Antoni Guillamon, Josep Sardanyés, Victor Maull, Jordi Pla, Nuria Conde-Pueyo, and Ricard Solé. [Preprint]

[12] "Synthetic Lateral Inhibition in Periodic Pattern Forming Microbial Colonies" Salva Duran-Nebreda, Jordi Pla, Blai Vidiella, Jordi Piñero, Nuria Conde-Pueyo, and Ricard Solé. [Preprint]

[11] "Habitat loss causes long extinction transients in small trophic chains." Blai Vidiella, Ernest Fontich, Sergi Valverde, and Josep Sardanyés. [Preprint]

[10] "Synthetic biology for terraformation: lessons from Mars, Earth and the microbiome." Nuria Conde-Pueyo, Blai Vidiella, Josep Sardanyés, Miguel Berdugo, Fernando Maestre, Victor de Lorenzo, and Ricard Solé. [Preprint]

[9] "Synthetic soil crusts against green-desert transitions: a spatial model." Blai Vidiella, Josep Sardanyés, and Ricard Solé. [Preprint]

[8] "Dynamics in a time-discrete food-chain model with strong pressure on preys." Blai Vidiella, Lluís Alsedà, Ricard Solé, Tomás Lázaro, Josep Sardanyés. [Preprint]

[7] "On dynamics and invariant sets in predator-prey maps" (Book Chapter) Blai Vidiella, J. Tomás Lázaro, Lluís Alsedà and Josep Sardanyés.

[6] "Coexistence of nestedness and modularity in host–pathogen infection networks" Sergi Valverde, Blai Vidiella, Raul Montañez, Aurora Fraile, Soledad Sacristán, and Fernando García-Arenal. [Nat. Eco. and Evo. Comunity]

[5] "The road to synthetic multicellularity" Ricard Solé, Aina Ollé-Vila, Blai Vidiella, Salva Duran-Nebreda, Núria Conde-Pueyo.

[4] "Exploiting delayed transitions to sustain semiarid ecosystems after catastrophic shifts"  Blai Vidiella, Josep Sardanyés, Ricard Solé. [Preprint]

[3] "The Paradox Of Constant Oceanic Plastic Debris: Evidence For Evolved Microbial Biodegradation?" (Submited) Ricard Solé, Ernest Fontich, Blai Vidiella, Salva Duran-Nebreda, Raul Montañez, Jordi Piñero, Sergi Valverde. [Preprint]

[2] "Synthetic associative learning in engineered multicellular consortia" Blai Vidiella, Javier Macía, Ricard Solé. [Preprint]

[1] "Population Dynamics of Synthetic Terraformation Motifs" Ricard Solé, Raul Montañez, Salva Duran-Nebreda, Daniel R. Amor, Blai Vidiella, Josep Sardanyés. [Preprint]


[P6] "A cultural evolutionary theory that explains both gradual and punctuated change" Blai Vidiella, Simon Carrignon, R. Alexander Bentley, Michael J. O’Brien, and Sergi Valverde. 2022 IBE retreat

[P5] "Transients and ghosts in collapsing ecosystems" Blai Vidiella, Ernest Fontich, Antoni Guillamon, Tomás Lázaro, Tomás Alarcón, Sergi Valverde, Ricard Solé, Josep Sardanyés. 13th Conference on Dynamical Systems Applied to Biology and Natural Sciences [Poster]

[P4] "Synthetic Biology for Terraforming our planet" Blai Vidiella, Josep Sardanyés, Nuria Conde-Pueyo, Ricard Solé. 1st International BioDesign Research Conference [Abstract] [Poster] [Talk]

[P3] "Terraforming Semiarid Ecosystems" Blai Vidiella, Nuria Conde-Pueyo, Josep Sardanyés, Ricard Solé. I Jornada Planetary Wellbeing

[P2] "Exploiting delayed transitions to sustain semiarid ecosystems after catastrophic shifts"  Blai Vidiella, Josep Sardanyés, Ricard Solé. Complexitat.cat 2019

[P1] "Echo phenomena in synthetic oscillators" Blai Vidiella, Edward Ott, Jordi Garcia-Ojalvo. International WE Heraeus Physics School on “Model systems for understanding biological processes" (2015)

List of collaborators

- My co-first authored articles may be published with the other coauthor at the first position -

Research Topics

  • image1


    Human induced environmental perturbations are forcing ecosystems to change to survive. Our approach to this problem using Synthetic Biology. Engineered organims to increase ecosystems resiece.
  • Initial_conditions

    Population dynamics

    The organisms are not isolated from their environment. They live in communities. The processes of cooperation, predation, mutualism or exclusion are important to understand how the population evolve.
  • Ecology


    Under the threats of Climate Change, understanding the natural dynamics behind the bio-geo-chemical cycles is crucial. Nowadays, species may be changing the way in wich they interact (for instance, from mutualism to predation, competition or parasitism).
  • Phago_lambda

    Synthetic Biology

    Being able to build systems that are alive and perform a desired function is fascinating. The living systems have abilities that make them better than machines to be used in some engineering scales and from some desired proposes.
  • organoids

    Systems Biology

    The integrative view is the approach that Complex scientist must agree. In the case of biology, the individual molecules can not explain interesting phenomena such as Life or Conscience.
  • Networks

    Networks science

    Any system can be descrived as interactions between individuals (from molecules to planets or trphic chains). How are they aranged? How they evolve?
  • associative_learning

    Biological Computation

    Understand and build the mechanism that make organisms are able to sense and react in front of the environmental changes. The computation of the external signals, integration and reaction is what makes a difference in the biology.
  • Fractal_Mandelbrot


    In Complex Systems it is frequent to find fractal structures. This means that the generating function is the repetition of the building blocks in all the different scales. This is usual to find also in biology because this optimize the information needed to build the structure (trees, blood circulation and even the brain).
  • Chaos

    Chaotic Systems

    Understanding that a system that we can describe their rules and even make calculations of it, It's unpredictable and it will not be predictable!
  • Biomorph

    Evolutionary Theory and Algorithms

    Evolution have changed the way we see Nature. Nowadays, we can use it to improve engineers designs, mimic Nature in silico or even understand and predict the development of human societies.

Contact Details

Twitter: @BlaiVidiella
LinkedIn: Blai Vidiella
ResearchGate: Blai Vidiella
Google Scholar: Blai Vidiella
ORCID: 0000-0002-4819-7047
Email: bvidiella@crm.cat
Email (CANCELLED): blai.vidiella@upf.edu


Complex Systems Lab


Centre de Recerca Matemàtica,
Office: 17 (C1/030), Campus de Bellaterra Edifici C, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès

Parc de Recerca Biomedica de Barcelona,
ICREA-Complex Systems Lab UPF-IBE,
Office: 60.492 , Dr. Aiguader 88 , 08003 Barcelona