Dr Brett Calcott

A14 - The Quadrangle
The University of Sydney


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Curriculum vitae Curriculum vitae

Biographical details

I’m a philosopher of science with a background in software engineering. I completed my PhD, “Major Transitions in Biological Organisation” in 2007, at the Australian National University, supervised by Peter Godfrey-Smith. Since then I have I've worked with Kim Sterelny on a project on Evolvability and the Evolution of Complexity, with biologist Lindell Bromham on a project on Major Transitions in Evolution, was a fellow in Joshua Epstein’s Center for Advanced Modeling at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA, and an SFI/ASU post-doctoral fellow at Arizona State University.

Research interests

The central theme in my research is understanding how the structure of complex evolved systems affects the way they change over time. This work spans a number of issues, including novelty, evolvability, and the various evolutionary transitions. My current focus is on the role that gene regulatory networks play in explaining the evolution and development of multicellular form. The aim of this work is to clarify and understand the connection between two seemingly disparate explanatory approaches. The first approach focuses on genes, often emphasizing their informational or instructional role in affecting change over time. The second approach focuses on the dynamical processes that organize and pattern cells in a developing organism. Through a series of models, I aim to see how these processes work in concert. In addition, I’m interested in the extent to which concepts and ideas from systems engineering are applicable to these evolving, generative processes, and whether similar processes might be identified in cultural change.

Current projects

Templeton World Charity Foundation project “Causal foundations of biological information.”

Selected grants

2010

  • Evolvability and the Evolution of Complexity; Sterelny K, Calcott B; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Selected publications

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Edited Books

  • Sterelny, K., Joyce, R., Calcott, B., Fraser, B. (2013). Cooperation and Its Evolution. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
  • Calcott, B., Sterelny, K. (2011). The Major Transitions in Evolution Revisited. Cambridge, USA: MIT Press.

Book Chapters

  • Calcott, B. (2013). Why the Proximate-Ultimate Distinction is Misleading, and Why It Matters for Understanding the Evolution of Cooperation. In Kim Sterelny, Richard Joyce, Brett Calcott and Ben Fraser (Eds.), Cooperation and Its Evolution, (pp. 249-264). Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
  • Calcott, B., Sterelny, K. (2011). A Dynamic View of Evolution. In Brett Calcott, Kim Sterelny (Eds.), The Major Transitions in Evolution Revisited, (pp. 1-14). Cambridge, USA: MIT Press.
  • Calcott, B. (2011). Alternative Patterns of Explanation for Major Transitions. In Brett Calcott, Kim Sterelny (Eds.), The Major Transitions in Evolution Revisited, (pp. 35-51). Cambridge, USA: MIT Press.

Journals

  • Frandsen, P., Calcott, B., Mayer, C., Lanfear, R. (2015). Automatic selection of partitioning schemes for phylogenetic analyses using iterative k-means clustering of site rates. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 15(13), 1-17. [More Information]
  • Calcott, B., Levy, A., Siegal, M., Soyer, O., Wagner, A. (2015). Engineering and Biology: Counsel for a Continued Relationship. Biological Theory, 10, 50-59. [More Information]
  • Griffiths, P., Pocheville, A., Calcott, B., Stotz, K., Kim, H., Knight, R. (2015). Measuring Causal Specificity. Philosophy of Science, 82(4), 529-555. [More Information]
  • Calcott, B. (2014). Engineering and evolvability. Biology and Philosophy, 29(3), 293-313. [More Information]
  • Misof, B., Liu, S., Meusemann, K., Peters, R., Donath, A., Mayer, C., Frandsen, P., Ware, J., Flouri, T., Calcott, B., et al (2014). Phylogenomics resolves the timing and pattern of insect evolution. Science, 346(6210), 763-767. [More Information]
  • Lanfear, R., Calcott, B., Kainer, D., Mayer, C., Stamatakis, A. (2014). Selecting optimal partitioning schemes for phylogenomic datasets. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 14(1), 1-14. [More Information]
  • Calcott, B. (2014). The Creation and Reuse of Information in Gene Regulatory Networks. Philosophy of Science, 81(5), 879-890. [More Information]
  • Calcott, B. (2013). Engineering: Biologists borrow more than words. Nature, 502(7470), 170-171. [More Information]
  • Calcott, B. (2013). Why how and why aren’t enough: more problems with Mayr’s proximate-ultimate distinction. Biology and Philosophy, 28(5), 767-780. [More Information]
  • Lanfear, R., Calcott, B., Ho, S., Guindon, S. (2012). PartitionFinder: Combined selection of partitioning schemes and substitution models for phylogenetic analyses. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 29(6), 1695-1701. [More Information]
  • Matthewson, O., Calcott, B. (2011). Mechanistic models of population-level phenomena. Biology and Philosophy, 26(5), 737-756. [More Information]
  • Calcott, B. (2009). Lineage Explanations: Explaining How Biological Mechanisms Change. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 60(1), 51-78. [More Information]

Conferences

  • Calcott, B. (2014). Chaining Distinct Tasks Drives The Evolution of Modularity. The 14th International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems, Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. [More Information]
  • Matthewson, J., Calcott, B. (2006). Model mechanisms. Australasian Association of Philosophy New Zealand Meeting (2006), New Zealand: Australasian Association of Philosophy.

2015

  • Frandsen, P., Calcott, B., Mayer, C., Lanfear, R. (2015). Automatic selection of partitioning schemes for phylogenetic analyses using iterative k-means clustering of site rates. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 15(13), 1-17. [More Information]
  • Calcott, B., Levy, A., Siegal, M., Soyer, O., Wagner, A. (2015). Engineering and Biology: Counsel for a Continued Relationship. Biological Theory, 10, 50-59. [More Information]
  • Griffiths, P., Pocheville, A., Calcott, B., Stotz, K., Kim, H., Knight, R. (2015). Measuring Causal Specificity. Philosophy of Science, 82(4), 529-555. [More Information]

2014

  • Calcott, B. (2014). Chaining Distinct Tasks Drives The Evolution of Modularity. The 14th International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems, Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. [More Information]
  • Calcott, B. (2014). Engineering and evolvability. Biology and Philosophy, 29(3), 293-313. [More Information]
  • Misof, B., Liu, S., Meusemann, K., Peters, R., Donath, A., Mayer, C., Frandsen, P., Ware, J., Flouri, T., Calcott, B., et al (2014). Phylogenomics resolves the timing and pattern of insect evolution. Science, 346(6210), 763-767. [More Information]
  • Lanfear, R., Calcott, B., Kainer, D., Mayer, C., Stamatakis, A. (2014). Selecting optimal partitioning schemes for phylogenomic datasets. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 14(1), 1-14. [More Information]
  • Calcott, B. (2014). The Creation and Reuse of Information in Gene Regulatory Networks. Philosophy of Science, 81(5), 879-890. [More Information]

2013

  • Sterelny, K., Joyce, R., Calcott, B., Fraser, B. (2013). Cooperation and Its Evolution. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
  • Calcott, B. (2013). Engineering: Biologists borrow more than words. Nature, 502(7470), 170-171. [More Information]
  • Calcott, B. (2013). Why how and why aren’t enough: more problems with Mayr’s proximate-ultimate distinction. Biology and Philosophy, 28(5), 767-780. [More Information]
  • Calcott, B. (2013). Why the Proximate-Ultimate Distinction is Misleading, and Why It Matters for Understanding the Evolution of Cooperation. In Kim Sterelny, Richard Joyce, Brett Calcott and Ben Fraser (Eds.), Cooperation and Its Evolution, (pp. 249-264). Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

2012

  • Lanfear, R., Calcott, B., Ho, S., Guindon, S. (2012). PartitionFinder: Combined selection of partitioning schemes and substitution models for phylogenetic analyses. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 29(6), 1695-1701. [More Information]

2011

  • Calcott, B., Sterelny, K. (2011). A Dynamic View of Evolution. In Brett Calcott, Kim Sterelny (Eds.), The Major Transitions in Evolution Revisited, (pp. 1-14). Cambridge, USA: MIT Press.
  • Calcott, B. (2011). Alternative Patterns of Explanation for Major Transitions. In Brett Calcott, Kim Sterelny (Eds.), The Major Transitions in Evolution Revisited, (pp. 35-51). Cambridge, USA: MIT Press.
  • Matthewson, O., Calcott, B. (2011). Mechanistic models of population-level phenomena. Biology and Philosophy, 26(5), 737-756. [More Information]
  • Calcott, B., Sterelny, K. (2011). The Major Transitions in Evolution Revisited. Cambridge, USA: MIT Press.

2009

  • Calcott, B. (2009). Lineage Explanations: Explaining How Biological Mechanisms Change. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 60(1), 51-78. [More Information]

2006

  • Matthewson, J., Calcott, B. (2006). Model mechanisms. Australasian Association of Philosophy New Zealand Meeting (2006), New Zealand: Australasian Association of Philosophy.

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