Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Do Cells Act Like Crowds?

Question: Do cellular collectives behave like animal groups in any way?

Iain Couzin: Well, we are just beginning to start working on collective behavior at the cell level. We're sort of particularly inspired by some recent discoveries with soft body tumors and so we're very interested in issues of leadership and consensus decision making based upon our understanding of local rules. So although we started with animal groups and, you know, we work with animal groups extensively, I think these types of understanding actually allow us to get a different type of insight into cellular systems, and so this is a very new exciting sort of direction for my laboratory.

Question: What practical applications might this research have?

Iain Couzin: Well, we're certainly looking at cancer, we're interested in how and why collective migration is so common. So until relatively recently, it wasn't realized that, you know, collective behavior is so prevalent in soft body tumors. And now it's seen as one of the primary modes of spreading. And so that's something we want to understand.

And another very interesting aspect to tumors is the sort of the level at which selection is acting. So we're trying to simulate using new computational simulations, we're trying to simulate very large aggregates, where we can keep track of individual identities, we can look at mutations, we can see how this leads to individual behaviors that then scales up to a collective phenomenon. So as I mentioned, it's a new area for us. You know, we're still heavily working on animal groups, but it's very exciting to think that there really is this cross-understanding because the evolutionary principles and the principles of understanding how interactions scale to collective behavior, tend to be relatively universal.

Recorded on December 15, 2009
Interviewed by Austin Allen

Cutting-edge research that suggests small and large-scale biological collectives behave similarly promises to deepen our understanding of cancer.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
Keep reading Show less

Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

Keep reading Show less

Dinosaur bone? Meteorite? These men's wedding bands are a real break from boredom.

Manly Bands wanted to improve on mens' wedding bands. Mission accomplished.

Sex & Relationships
  • Manly Bands was founded in 2016 to provide better options and customer service in men's wedding bands.
  • Unique materials include antler, dinosaur bones, meteorite, tungsten, and whiskey barrels.
  • The company donates a portion of profits to charity every month.
Keep reading Show less

Conspicuous consumption is over. It’s all about intangibles now

These new status behaviours are what one expert calls 'inconspicuous consumption'.

Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for Tiffany
Politics & Current Affairs
In 1899, the economist Thorstein Veblen observed that silver spoons and corsets were markers of elite social position.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast