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Dr. Colin Campbell
Dr. Colin Campbell

Dr. Colin Campbell

Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy

The best part of being a professor, for me, is helping students arrive at the ‘Oh, now I see!’ moment after wrestling with a challenging topic.

Research Activities

I am a computational and theoretical physicist with a particular interest in complex systems. For instance, electrical blackouts can be caused by the loss of a single electrical substation, but the extent of a blackout can only be assessed by considering the overall topology of the electric grid. Similarly, to understand and influence how the human immune system functions, we need to understand the map of relevant genetic and molecular interactions.

While the study of complex systems makes use of principles of statistical physics, they arise in diverse contexts, and my work has accordingly been multidisciplinary in nature. Notably, because a complex system is often modeled as a network of system components (nodes) and their interactions (edges that connect nodes), I frequently make use of the so-called fields of graph theory and network science.

In addition to my work on complex systems, I greatly enjoy working with students in areas that are related to their interests and career goals. Recent work in this area includes simulations of proton beam therapy in the context of medical physics.

Teaching Style in the Classroom

I am a strong believer in providing engaging classes that encourage students to actively participate with their peers, with me, and (most importantly) the scientific content of the course. For example, I routinely allow students to take some time (from a few minutes to an entire class period) to work in small groups on activities meant to check and apply their understanding of course content. This gives me the opportunity to provide targeted guidance to students as they wrestle with new material.

Some of the best learning occurs in focused conversations; as such, I am a strong believer in being available to meet with students outside of class – in addition to my official office hours I have an “open door” policy where students are invited to swing by my office at any time to ask a question.

Favorite Part of My Profession

The best part of being a professor, for me, is helping students arrive at the “Oh, now I see!” moment after wrestling with a challenging topic.

Interdisciplinary Studies

My research in complex systems, described above, is very interdisciplinary; in addition to traditional physics, I have had the pleasure of working in diverse areas including cellular biology, ecology, and neuroscience. In addition, at the University of Mount Union I leverage my expertise in computation to serve as the program coordinator for our data science program, which trains students to move from data (in myriad contexts, including for instance politics, business, and sports in addition to traditional STEM disciplines) to meaningful insight.

Regularly Taught Courses

I teach throughout the physics and data science curricula. Specific courses in my current routine include PHY 102 General Physics II, PHY 211 Modern Physics, PHY 218 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics, DSC 140 Data Science Fundamentals, and DSC 250 Scientific Modeling and Data Analysis.

Getting Involved with the Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Physics Department

The department has wonderful opportunities for students to get involved, be it through faculty-led research or student organizations. We work hard but we also have a lot of fun and support one another. Just reach out and we’ll help you find your niche!

List of peer reviewed articles

F. Nasrollahi, J. G. T. Zanudo, C. Campbell, and R. Albert (in press). Relationships among generalized positive feedback loops determine possible community outcomes in plant-pollinator interaction networks. Physical Review E.

K. Pant and C. Campbell (2020). Optimal targeting of a tumor through proton beam therapy. Journal of Young Investigators 37:3.

DOI: 10.22186/jyi.37.3.32-37

L. Russo, R. Albert, C. Campbell, and K. Shea (2019). Experimental species introduction shapes network interactions in a plant-pollinator community. Biological Invasions. Biological Invasions 21:3505-3519.

DOI: 10.1007/s10530-019-02064-z

C. Campbell and R. Albert (2019). Edgetic perturbations to eliminate fixed-point attractors in Boolean regulatory networks. Chaos 29:023130.

DOI: 10.1063/1.5083060

C. Campbell, S. Aucott, J. Ruths, D. Ruths, K. Shea, and R. Albert (2017). Correlations in the degeneracy of network controllability. Scientific Reports 7:46251.

DOI: 10.1038/srep46251

G. Yang, C. Campbell, and R. Albert (2016). Compensatory interactions to stabilize multiple steady states or mitigate the effects of multiple deregulations in biological networks. Physical Review E 94:6.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.94.062316

C. Campbell, L. Russo, A. Marins, O. DeSouza, K. Schönrogge, D. Mortensen, J. Tooker, R. Albert, and K. Shea (2016). Top-down network analysis characterizes invisible termite-termite interactions. Ecology and Evolution 6:17.

DOI: 10.1002/ece3.2313

A. Roy, C. Campbell, R. Bernier, and F. Hillary (2016). A novel voxel-based approach to examine functional plasticity between regional pairs in the brain. Frontiers in Neuroscience 10:146.

DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2016.00146

A. Marins, D. Costa, L. Russo, C. Campbell, O. DeSouza, O. Bjørnstad, and K. Shea (2016). Termite cohabitation: the relative effect of biotic and abiotic factors on mound biodiversity. Ecological Entomology 41:5.

DOI: 10.1111/een.12323

C. Campbell, J. Ruths, D. Ruths, K. Shea, and R. Albert (2015). Topological constraints on network control profiles. Scientific Reports 5:18693.

DOI: 10.1038/srep18693

C. Campbell, K. Shea, S. Yang, and R. Albert (2015). Motif profile dynamics and transient species in a Boolean model of mutualistic ecological communities. Journal of Complex Networks 4:1.

DOI: 10.1093/comnet/cnv008

C. Campbell, S. Yang, R. Albert, and K. Shea (2014). Plant-pollinator community network response to species invasion depends on both invader and community characteristics. Oikos 124:4.

DOI: 10.1111/oik.02039

C. Campbell and R. Albert (2014). Quantification of Regulation in Networks with Positive and Negative Interaction Weights. In M. Kao (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Algorithms. New York, NY: Springer. (invited submission)

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-27848-8_598-1

C. Campbell, K. Shea, and R. Albert (2014). Comment on "Control Profiles of Complex Networks.” Science 346:6209.

DOI: 10.1126/science.1256492

B. Teller, C. Campbell, and K. Shea (2014). Dispersal under duress: Ecological fluid dynamics predicts dispersal plasticity. Ecology 95:10.

DOI: 10.1890/14-0474.1

C. Campbell and R. Albert (2014). Stabilization of perturbed Boolean network attractors through compensatory interactions. BMC Systems Biology 8:53.

DOI: 10.1186/1752-0509-8-53

T. LaBar, C. Campbell, S. Yang, R. Albert, and K. Shea (2014). Restoration of plant-pollinator interaction networks via species translocation. Theoretical Ecology 7:2.

DOI: 10.1007/s12080-013-0211-7

T. LaBar, C. Campbell, S. Yang, R. Albert, and K. Shea (2013). Global versus local extinction of species in plant-pollinator communities. Theoretical Ecology. 6:4.

DOI: 10.1007/s12080-013-0182-8

C. Campbell, S. Yang, K. Shea, and R. Albert (2012). Topology of plant-pollinator networks that are vulnerable to collapse from species extinction. Phys. Rev. E 86:2.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.86.021924

C. Campbell, J. Thakar, and R. Albert (2011). Network analysis reveals cross-links of the immune pathways activated by bacteria and allergen. Phys. Rev. E 84:3.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.84.031929

C. Campbell, R. Zhang, J. S. Haley, X. Liu, T. Loughran, T. Schell, R. Albert, and J. Thakar (2011). Why do CD8+ T cells become indifferent to tumors: a dynamic modeling approach. Front. Physio. 2:3.

DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2011.00032

C. Campbell, S. Yang, R. Albert, and K. Shea (2011). A network model for plant-pollinator community assembly. PNAS 108:1.

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1008204108