Main research activities Physics of living systems, collective behaviour in biological systems, statistical physics of disordered and complex systems
Irene Giardina is Associate Professor at the Physics Department of the University of Rome La Sapienza, and associate member of the Institute for Complex Systems of the National Research Council (ISC-CNR). She has a background in theoretical statistical physics, and worked for several years on problems related to glassy and non-equilibrium behavior in condensed matter systems (spin glasses and structural glasses) and interdisciplinary applications. In 2005 she started working on biological systems and founded with Andrea Cavagna, the COBBS Lab (Collective Behaviour in Biological Systems - www.cobbs.it), the first lab to collect 3D large-scale experimental data in the field on flocking and swarming behavior, and to build theory starting directly from the data. In her research, she applies a statistical physics approach to understand how collective behaviour emerges in animal groups and – more broadly – in biological systems. Her aim is to provide empirical basis and to theoretically develop a statistical physics of living matter, up to the behavioral scale. The COBBS group uses experiments in the field and in the lab, computer vision and imaging techniques, numerical modelling and field theory approaches to investigate collective and response behavior, scaling and universality in a variety of living systems at the micro and macro scale (cells, flocks and swarms).
In 2010 she was awarded an ERC-Starting Grant Consolidator funded by the European Research Council for her project SWARM on collective behaviour in animal groups and later in 2015 an ERC-Proof of Concept grant - PROCEEDS. She is also recipient of several other grants at national and international level.