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Kyle Harrington

Kyle Harrington

Assistant Professor


AAN 114



Mailing Address

Virtual Technology & Design
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2481
Moscow, Idaho 83844-2481

My research focuses on the interface between artificial/virtual systems and the physical world. The ambition of my work is to establish a computational understanding of life and the universe as it could be, and to ground this work in collaborations with the physical sciences. 

B.A. Artificial Life, Hampshire College, 2007

M.A. Computer Science, Brandeis University, 2010

Ph.D. Computer Science, Brandeis University, 2014

Ph.D. specialization in Quantitative Biology, Brandeis University, 2014

Postdoctoral Fellow, Pathology, Harvard Medical School, 2014-2016

Some of the questions I have recently been asking are:
- Can we use high-resolution microscopy to scan an organism or tissue such that it can be simulated in a virtual world? 

- Can we control micrometer-scale synthetic cells and use them for computation? 

- Can we coevolve visual predators and graphical prey to achieve camouflage by playing hide-and-seek? 

The answers to all these questions are yes to varying degrees, and we continue to improve the supporting technologies. We achieve these improvements by working with: 

- high-resolution 3D/4D microscopy data of zebrafish and mice

- programmable-illumination microscopes that control chemical reactions contained within microdroplets

- using computer vision systems to hunt for camouflaged patterns in coevolutionary simulations

  • Visiting Professor, Computer Science, University of Toulouse, France (2017)
  • Inaugural Visiting Professor, Center for Systems Biology Dresden, Germany (2017)
  • Discussion Leader, Gordon Research Seminar on Angiogenesis (2015)
  • HHMI Interfaces Scholar Award (2014)

  • Harrington, K., Rueden, C. and Eliceiri, K., (2017) “FunImageJ: a Lisp framework for scientific image processing”. In Bioinformatics, btx710.
  • Costa, G.*, Harrington, K.*, Lovegrove, H.*, Page, D., Chakravartula, S., Bentley, K., Herbert, S., (2016) “Asymmetric division coordinates collective cell migration in angiogenesis”. In Nature Cell Biology, Vol. 18, pp. 1292–1301. * - joint primary authors
  • Harrington, K.I., 2016. A circuit basis for morphogenesis. Theoretical Computer Science, 633, pp.28-36.
  • Wang, A.L., Gold, J.M., Tompkins, N., Heymann, M., Harrington, K.I. and Fraden, S., 2016. Configurable NOR gate arrays from Belousov-Zhabotinsky micro-droplets. The European Physical Journal Special Topics, 225(1), pp.211-227.
  • Kur, E., Kim, J., Tata, A., Comin, C.H., Harrington, K.I., da F Costa, L., Bentley, K. and Gu, C., 2016. Temporal modulation of collective cell behavior controls vascular network topology. eLife, 5, p.e13212.
  • Harrington, K.I. and Sanchez, A., 2014. Eco-evolutionary dynamics of complex social strategies in microbial communities. Communicative & integrative biology, 7(1), p.e28230.
  • Harrington, K.J., Freeman, J. and Pollack, J., 2014. Coevolution in Hide and Seek: Camouflage and Vision. Proceedings of Artificial Life XIV.

  • Artificial Life: Using computers as tools for the study of, in the words of Chris Langton, life-as-it-could-be.
  • Bioimaging: Acquisition and analysis of images across scales from biomolecules to organisms.
  • Cyber-physical systems: Interactive coupling between computational processes/virtual environments and physical systems, such as optically-controlled chemical computers and biological materials.


Virtual Technology & Design

Physical Address:
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2481
Moscow, Idaho 83844-2481

Phone: 208-885-4409

Fax: 208-885-9429