Jacobo Aguirre's Homepage

life, scientific interests, and little more...


Jacobo Aguirre

Centro de Astrobiología CSIC-INTA, Ctra de Torrejón a Ajalvir km 4, 28850 Torrejón de Ardoz, Madrid, Spain

(34) 91 520 1692

jaguirre{at}cab.inta-csic.es jacobo.aguirre.a{at}gmail.com

Some useful links

Scientific interests

Our research work focuses on analyzing and modeling the evolution of complex physical, chemical and biological processes in the context of nonlinear dynamics, complex networks, game theory, systems biology and astrobiology. We perform analytical (as much as possible) and numerical (as little as possible) work, and try to collaborate with experimentalists as much as they let us to.

In summary we could say that we try to cast some light (not always successfully) on the frontier between Physics, Chemistry and Biology, sometimes playing around with Sociology and Economy. In particular, some subjects we are interested in are the following:

  • Modeling of evolutionary systems, in special applied to viruses and RNA sequences, and to the study of the origin and evolution of Life.
  • Analysis of the evolution of complexity along the journey from the emergence of the initial molecular building blocks of life in the interstellar medium to the origin of life on Earth and through to the current biosphere.
  • Theoretical development of network science, graph theory and complexity (whatever they mean!)
  • Applications of the former to biomedical, biotechnological, socioeconomic and astrobiological systems.
  • Chaos and fractality...
  • ...and anything that sounds "evolutive", "complex", and fun at the same time.
  • If you want more detailed information:

    From Physics...

    During my Ph.D. I was interested in studying systems whose complexity prevents traditional methods of analysis from providing enough information about their future behavior. In particular I focused my attention on the relationship between fractal structures and uncertainty in areas as diverse as astronomy and electromagnetism.

    During the last decade I have become interested in Complex Networks Theory, both from a theoretical and an applied perspective. In particular, I have worked analyzing evolutionary dynamics on networks, with applications to socioeconomic, technological and biological systems.

    image example
    Competition in real networks: the case of the dolphin community of Doubtful Sound (Nat. Phys. 9, 230, 2013).

    ...to Evolutionary Biology...

    In the field of biology I began modeling the insulin secretion by pancreatic cells, and I dedicated the last decade to the study of evolutionary systems applied to RNA sequences and viral populations. This research is carried out in close coordination with experimentalists, focusing on the biomedical applications of our theoretical results.

    image example
    Neutral network associated with an RNA secondary structure (Plos One 6,27, 2011).

    ...to the Origin and Early Evolution of Life...

    Since I started the Complexity & Astrobiology Group at CAB, we are focusing on open problems in the context of the origin and early evolution of life. The road to life is punctuated by transitions toward complexity, from astrochemistry to biomolecules and eventually, to living organisms. Disentangling the origin of such transitions is a challenge where the application of complexity and network theory has not been fully exploited. With our work, we support that the properties that condition the extremely complex journey from the chemistry in space to prebiotic chemistry and finally to life could show simple and universal patterns.

    image example
    Sketch of the connection between network science and astrochemistry that we introduced in (PNAS 119(30), e2119734119, 2022) to explain the emergence of chemical complexity in the interstellar medium. Image credit: Marina Fernández-Ruz.

    ...and Biotechnology.

    In parallel, I am interested in the application of network science to biotechnology, in particular in the development of analytical techniques with environmental and health purposes. I have focused on the application of graph theory to antibody microarrays in order to improve the experimental characterization of samples, with applications to the study of allergies, toxin detection and planetary sciences.

    In summary, the interests of our group in the following years will be directed to develop a new theoretical and methodological framework to apply the tools of complexity and network science to the analysis of evolutionary processes of biotechnological, biomedical or astrobiological relevance for society.

    image example
    Antibody graph associated with an antibody microarray (ES&T 49, 1611 (2015)).