Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences

The Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences is dedicated to understanding the principles and mechanisms that underlie complex behavior. From the microscopic level of cells and organelles to the grand scale of human interaction, our mission is to bring together multiple disciplines and backgrounds such as theoretical physics, complexity science, cognitive psychology, laboratory biology, applied mathematics and philosophy to tackle the most profound questions of brain, the mind, consciousness, and behavior. The Center is a state of the art, multi-disciplinary research and academic unit in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science at Florida Atlantic University.  

The Complex Systems and Brain Sciences Ph.D. program , with faculty drawn from the Colleges of Science, Engineering and Medicine, seeks to create a new kind of brain scientist who is fluent in both biology and mathematics, and who seeks to bring new ways of thinking into neuroscience. Advanced courses are research-oriented and build on a core curriculum in neuroscience. In addition, the Graduate Neuroscience Training Program unites scientists, educators and students from three FAU Ph.D. programs and from two internationally-recognized research institutes into a one of a kind training opportunity for those at the beginning stages of their neuroscientific careers.

Congratulations   to James Sullivan who successfully defended his doctoral dissertation on February 26, 2021. James’ dissertation was completed under the guidance of Dr. Howard Prentice (co-Chair), Dr. Wen Shen (co-Chair), and Dr. Janet C. Blanks and entitled “A Cell Biological and Electrophysiological Study of Mouse Retina.   James’ dissertation committee included, Dr. Howard Prentice, Dr. Wen Shen, Dr. Robert P. Vertes, Dr. Ken Dawson-Scully, and external member Dr. Janet Blanks.  James will graduate with a Ph.D. in Complex Systems and Brain Sciences at the Spring 2021 Commencement Ceremonies at FAU. James is currently completing a Science Communication Training Fellowship with the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

Again,  Congratulations  James!

Congratulations   to Dr. Bryan Conklin who graduated with his Ph.D. in Complex Systems and Brain Sciences in December 2020.  Bryan’s dissertation was completed under the guidance of Dr. William Alexander (initially Dr. Steven Bressler), entitled “The Structural Organization and Spectral Characteristics of Visual Working Memory in the Monkey Frontoparietal Network.    Bryan’s dissertation committee included Dr. William Alexander (Chair), Dr. Randy D. Blakely, and external members Dr. Charles M. Gray of Montana State University and Dr. Earl K. Miller of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following graduation, Bryan joined Dr. Dobromir Rahney’s laboratory for Perception, Neuroimaging and Modeling at the Georgia Institute for Technology in Atlanta. 

Again,  Congratulations  Bryan!

Congratulations to Dr. Dimitri Falco who graduated with his Ph.D. in Complex Systems and Brain Sciences in August.  Dimitri’s dissertation was completed under the guidance of Dr. Steven Bressler and entitled “A comparison of task-relevant node identification techniques and their impact on network inferences: Group-aggregated subject-specific and voxel wise approaches   His dissertation committee included, Dr. Steven Bressler (Chair),  Dr. William Hahn, Dr. Elan Barenholtz and external member Dr. Vaibhav Diwadkar of Wayne State University. After turning down post-docs at UPenn and John Hopkins, Dimitri went to Ann Arbor, Michigan to work for NovaDynamics as a Machine Learning Scientist and part of a new software development team. NovoDynamics uses predictive analytics in the healthcare industry.

Again, Congratulations Dimitri!!

fuchsRemembering Professor Armin Fuchs

Sadly, Dr. Armin Fuchs passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning, June 29, 2019, after valiantly struggling to overcome cancer which ultimately, and suddenly, took his life. Dr. Fuchs was a Professor in the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences and Department of Physics. His passing is a great loss for both programs. Those who knew him well knew him to be a gentleman, a good friend, and a very talented scientist and teacher will miss him dearly.

Armin completed his Ph.D. work with Professor Dr. Herman Haken, the well-known father of Laser Theory, at the Institute for Theoretical Physics and Synergetics, at the University of Stuttgart. From 1991 -1994, Armin was a post-doctoral fellow in the Center working with Professor J.A. Scott Kelso in applying his knowledge in Synergetics and Dynamical Systems to bring new insight to how the brain might function and joined the center as an assistant professor in 1995. Read more

What We Do

Research in the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences addresses fundamental questions in neuroscience from the perspective of complex systems. It deals with questions about how genes work together in networks to form and shape a neuron; about how neurons interact to form complex, emergent, patterns of activity; about how normal brain function is lost when the brain degenerates; about how our cognition is both shaped by and shapes our neural pathways; about how neurons and neuronal circuits support learning and memory; about how visual perception emerges from sensory inputs; about how we control cognition and behavior; and about how coordinated neural activity in brain networks allows us to perform various activities, and to perceive, attend to, and think about the world around us. Research in the Center uses a variety of different approaches, including, but not limited to, those from robotics and machine perception, noninvasive human neuroimaging, neurophysiology and neuroanatomy, time series analysis, network theory, and nonlinear dynamics.


William Alexander, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences and Department of Psychology publishes groundbreaking neuroscience discovery. Read more.  

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Message from the Director

Gary W. Perry, Ph.D, Director and Professor

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