The Evolution of Technology Lab (ETL) belongs to the Institute for Evolutionary Biology (IBE), and it is led by CSIC Tenured Scientist Sergi Valverde. The ETL develops theoretical models for the evolution of natural and artificial systems in the search for universal evolutionary principles, i.e., to understand the role played by emergence, convergence and environmental fluctuations in the origin of evolutionary innovations. Cultural and technological evolution depend on social learning, which provides a non-genetic pathway for the transmission of adaptive traits. We want to understand how the pattern and process of evolution differ when traits are learned rather than transmitted genetically. To do so, we rely in our expertise in complex systems, complex networks, theoretical ecology, and synthetic and computational biology.

Our lab offers different approaches to extend evolutionary theory beyond the original domain of biology. This effort depends on both empirical analysis and theoretical modelling. An unique approach of our lab is the complex networks perspective of the evolution of technology, which we have developed over the years (see our review paper here). We also develop systematic ways to recollect and analyse the rich fossil record of inventions.


Sergi Valverde (Principal Investigator)

I am a Complex Systems researcher with a background in Computer Science and Physics. I am very interested in Evolutionary Theory and their applications beyond Biology (and related fields like Cultural Evolution). One of my scientific obsessions is the coevolution between Hardware and Software, which I think is a paradigmatic example for the Evolution of Complexity, both in natural and artificial systems. My research is mainly based on the theory of Complex Networks, Theoretical Ecology, Evolutionary Algorithms and Computational Biology.

Salva Duran-Nebreda (Postdoctoral Researcher)

I am a Biotechnologist and Complex Systems researcher interested in the Major Transitions in Evolution. In particular, I am fascinated by how individuality shifts as new levels of selection are created and how emergent properties appear in collective systems, from multicellular entities to ecosystems and societies. My research includes aspects of Synthetic Biology, EvoDevo, Pattern Formation, Complex Networks in Ecology and Cultural Evolution.


Blai Vidiella (Researcher)


Simon Carrignon (Former PhD Student)

Miguel Roman Sánchez (Master Student)

I am a Geneticist and MSc in Complex Systems Modelling interested in developing theoretical models for understanding the role of complexity in living systems. I feel especially motivated in studying Self-Organization and the intersection between Game Theory and Evolution. I am also interested in reverse-engineering Gene Regulatory Networks and their subsequent applications in Synthetic Biology, so my current research focuses on understanding the changes that miRNA regulatory networks undergo across development in insects.

Ivan Ortiz Sánchez (Undergraduate Student)

I am a last year undergraduate student of Biomedical Engineering and I am passionate about Physics, Biology and Mathematics. I am really interested in computational modeling and complex networks and in applying them to biological, social and cultural scenarios. Thus, I am keen on studying technological events from an evolutionary point of view. In particular, during my internship in the lab, I am focused on studying the mode and the tempo of cultural evolution in video games, with the aim of establishing linkages between video game performance and the characteristics of player communities.

Keywords: Complex Systems, Complex Networks, Cultural Evolution, Ecological Networks, Artificial Life.