Dani S. Bassett

Dani S. Bassett
Standing Faculty

Secondary Appointment Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Electrical & Systems Engineering, Neurology, and Psychiatry Primary Appointment Professor of Bioengineering

Research Areas: Biophysics, Condensed Matter, Statistical and Nonlinear Physics

(215) 746-1754

Prof. Bassett is the J. Peter Skirkanich Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, with appointments in the Departments of Bioengineering, Electrical & Systems Engineering, Physics & Astronomy, Neurology, and Psychiatry. They are also an external professor of the Santa Fe Institute. Bassett is most well-known for blending neural and systems engineering to identify fundamental mechanisms of cognition and disease in human brain networks. They received a B.S. in physics from Penn State University and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Cambridge, UK as a Churchill Scholar, and as an NIH Health Sciences Scholar. Following a postdoctoral position at UC Santa Barbara, Bassett was a Junior Research Fellow at the Sage Center for the Study of the Mind. They have received multiple prestigious awards, including American Psychological Association's ‘Rising Star’ (2012), Alfred P Sloan Research Fellow (2014), MacArthur Fellow Genius Grant (2014), Early Academic Achievement Award from the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (2015), Office of Naval Research Young Investigator (2015), National Science Foundation CAREER (2016), Popular Science Brilliant 10 (2016), Lagrange Prize in Complex Systems Science (2017), Erdos-Renyi Prize in Network Science (2018), OHBM Young Investigator Award (2020), AIMBE College of Fellows (2020), American Physical Society Fellow (2021), and has been named one of Web of Science's most Highly Cited Researchers for 3 years running. Bassett is the author of more than 300 peer-reviewed publications, which have garnered over 33,000 citations, as well as numerous book chapters and teaching materials. Bassett’s work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Army Research Office, the Army Research Laboratory, the Office of Naval Research, the Department of Defense, the Alfred P Sloan Foundation, the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation, the Paul Allen Foundation, the ISI Foundation, and the Center for Curiosity. Bassett has an academic trade book coming out this year with MIT Press, co-authored with philosopher and twin Perry Zurn, and titled Curious Minds: The Power of Connection.


Ph.D., University of Cambridge (2009)

C.P.G.S., University of Cambridge (2005)

B.S., Pennsylvania State University, Schreyer Honors College (2004)

Research Interests

Professor Dani S. Bassett’s group studies the structure and function of networks, predominantly in physical and biological systems. Their interests lie in using and developing tools and theories from complex systems science, statistical mechanics, and applied mathematics to study dynamic changes in network architecture, the interaction between topological properties of networks and physical or other constraints, and the influence of network topology on signal propagation (mechanical, electrical, informational) and system function. In physical systems, Bassett’s group conducts research in dynamical systems as well as granular and particulate matter, and recent studies have considered synchronization dynamics in Kuramoto oscillators, force chain network structure in granular matter, reconfiguration of force chains under compression, and acoustic transmission through force chains. In biological systems, Bassett’s group conducts research in brain connectivity and human behavior. Among other things in this area, Bassett’s group has investigated collective dynamics in human behavior, how humans learn graphs of related concepts, how brain connectivity reflects cognitive capacities and changes during adolescent development, and how brain connectivity is altered in neurological disease (such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s) and disorders of mental health (such as schizophrenia and autism); these studies touch on applied algebraic topology, network control theory, maximum entropy models, multilayer networks, multiplex networks, temporal networks, and annotated graphs.

Selected Publications
  • Erin G. Teich, K. Larrry Galloway, Paulo E. Arratia, Danielle S. Bassett.Crystalline shielding mitigates structural rearrangement and localizes memory in jammed systems under oscillatory shear. Sci Adv. 2021 May 12;7(20):eabe3392. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abe3392.
  • Christopher W. Lynn, Lia Papadopoulos, Ari E. Kahn,  Danielle S. Bassett. Human information processing in complex networks. Nat. Phys. 16, 965–973 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41567-020-0924-7.
  • Jason Z. Kim, Zhixin Lu, Steven H. Strogatz, Danielle S. Bassett. Conformational control of mechanical networks. Nat. Phys. 15, 714–720 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41567-019-0475-y.
  • Jason Z. Kim, Jonathan M. Soffer, Ari E. Kahn, Jean M. Vettel, Fabio Pasqualetti, Danielle S. Bassett. Role of Graph Architecture in Controlling Dynamical Networks with Applications to Neural Systems. Nature Physics. 2018, 14:91–98.
  • Richard F. Betzel, John D. Medaglia, Danielle S. Bassett. Diversity of meso-scale architecture in human and non-human connectomes. Nature Communications. 2018, 9(1):346.
  • Ann Sizemore, Chad Giusti, Ari E. Kahn, Jean M. Vettel, Richard F. Betzel, Danielle S. Bassett. Cliques and cavities in the human connectome. Journal of Computational Neuroscience.  2018, 44(1):115-145.
  • Evelyn Tang, Chad Giusti, Graham Baum, Shi Gu, Eli Pollock, Ari E. Kahn, David Roalf, Tyler M. Moore, Kosha Ruparel, Ruben C. Gur, Raquel E. Gur, Theodore D. Satterthwaite, and Danielle S. Bassett. Developmental increases in white matter network controllability support a growing diversity of brain dynamics. Nature Communications. 2017, 8(1):1252.
  • Lia Papadopoulos, Jason Kim, Jurgen Kurths, Danielle S. Bassett. Development of structural correlations and synchronization from adaptive rewiring in networks of Kuramoto oscillators. Chaos. 2017, 27(7):073115.
  • Chad Giusti, Lia Papadopoulos, Eli T. Owens, Karen E. Daniels, Danielle S. Bassett. Topological and geometric measurements of force chain structure. Phys Rev E. 2016, 94(3-1):032909.
  • Lia Papadopoulus, James Puckett, Karen E. Daniels, Danielle S. Bassett. Evolution of network architecture in a granular material under compression. Phys Rev E. 2016, 94(3-1):032908.
  • Chad Giusti, Robert Ghrist, Danielle S. Bassett. Two's company, three (or more) is a simplex: Algebraic-topological tools for understanding higher-order structure in neural data. Journal of Computational Neuroscience. 2016, 41(1):1-14.
  • Shi Gu, Fabio Pasqualetti, Matthew Cieslak, Qawi K. Telesford, Alfred B. Yu, Ari E. Kahn, John D. Medaglia, Jean M. Vettel, Scott T. Grafton, Danielle S. Bassett. Controllability of Structural Brain Networks. Nature Communications. 2015, 6:8414.
  • Danielle S. Bassett, Muzhi Yang, Nicholas F. Wymbs, Scott T. Grafton. Learning-Induced Autonomy of Sensorimotor Systems. Nature Neuroscience. 2015, 18(5):744-51.
  • Danielle S. Bassett, Eli T. Owens, Mason A. Porter, M. Lisa Manning, Karen E. Daniels. Extraction of Force-Chain Network Architecture in Granular Materials Using Community Detection. Soft Matter. 2015, 11(14):2731-44.
  • Danielle S. Bassett, Eli T. Owens, Karen E. Daniels, Mason A. Porter. The influence of network topology on sound propagation in granular materials. Phys Rev E. 2012, 86:041306.


CV (file)