We are trying to understand how collective patterns of self-organization emerge from the joint actions of heterogeneous individuals. The phenomena studied include evolutionary adaptation, random genetic drift, epidemic spreading, collective motion, synchronization and jamming. Although these phenomena occur in many complex systems, our experimental efforts are focused primarily on microbial systems that we can study in our wet lab. Our key theoretical challenge is to identify essential dynamical building blocks and to predict how these conspire to generate the complex dynamical patterns observed at the population level. See publications for a detailed overview of our research.