Andrea Perna is a theoretical biologist and biophysicist. He is currently an assistant professor at the IMT School for Advanced Studies in Lucca, Italy. His scientific activity focuses on collective animal behaviour, pattern formation in biological systems, and ecology.
Perna obtained a degree in Biological Sciences from the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa and from the University of Pisa (Italy), followed by a PhD in Psychophysics (neurobiology) also from the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa.
Before joining the IMT School for Advanced Studies in Lucca he was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Roehampton, UK. He previously also worked in multiple other academic institutions in France, Sweden and Belgium.
Perna's research involves a combination of laboratory experiments, digital data analysis, and mathematical and computational models. It aims at describing complex self-organisation phenomena observed in living systems (e.g. the coordination of schooling in fish, the building of large nests by ants and termites, or the structuring of ecological communities in ecosystems) based on the observation and quantification of the microscopic-level interaction rules among the units that compose the system (fish, ants, or individual species within an ecological community).