Dr Vera Vasas

Research interests

Honeybees learn extremely well which kinds of objects are associated with reward, and in the laboratory they can be taught to distinguish artificial flowers based on colour, size, shape, pattern or even symmetry. My aim is to produce a complete and neurobiologically grounded model for visual learning in bees, with the emphasis on colour processing and learning.

Previous research

I worked in the areas of ecological and evolutionary modelling, focusing on network analysis. My publications include various topics addressing the implications of the structure of a system for its behaviour, for example effects of food web structure on the ecosystem’s response to perturbation, connectivity of landscape graphs constraining migration, and structural motifs that enable reaction networks to evolve by natural selection.


Fernando, C. Vasas, V. & Churchill, A. W. (2013). Design for a Darwinian Brain: Part 2. Cognitive Architecture. In: Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems, Proceedings of the Second International Conference, Living Machines 2013, London, UK, July 29 – August 2, 2013. pp. 83-95.


McGregor, S., Vasas, V., Husbands, P. & Fernando, C. (2012). Evolution of associative learning in chemical networks. PLoS Computational Biology, 8: e1002739.


Vasas, V. & Fernando, C. Evolution before life. (2012). Book chapter in: Models of the ecological hierarchy from molecules to the ecosphere. (Eds. Jordán, F. and Jørgensen, S.E.). 25. pp. 15-32.


Fernando, C. & Vasas, V. (2012). Cooptive evolution of prebiotic chemical networks. Book chapter in: Genesis – In the beginning. Precursors of life, chemical models and early biological evolution. (Ed. Seckbach, J.) Springer, Dordrecht. pp. 35-53.


Vasas, V., Fernando, C., Santos, M., Kauffman, S. & Szathmáry, E. (2012). Evolution before genes. Biology Direct, 7: 1. Highly accessed.


Fernando, C., Vasas, V., Szathmáry, E. & Husbands, P. 2011. Evolvable neuronal paths: A novel basis for information and search in the brain. PLoS ONE, 6: e23534.


Vasas, V., Szathmáry, E. & Santos, M. (2010). Lack of evolvability in self-sustaining autocatalytic networks constraints metabolism-first scenarios for the origin of life. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107: 1470-1475.


Fedor, A. & Vasas, V. (2009). The robustness of centrality indices in food webs. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 260: 372-378.


Vasas, V., Magura, T., Tóthmérész, B. & Jordán, F. (2009). Graph theory in action: evaluating planned highway tracks based on connectivity measures. Landscape Ecology, 24: 581-586.


Jordán, F., Magura, T., Tóthmérész, B., Vasas, V. & Ködöböcz, V. (2007). Carabids (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in a forest patchwork: a connectivity analysis of the Bereg Plain landscape graph. Landscape Ecology, 22: 1527-1539.


Vasas, V., Lancelot, C., Rousseau, V. & Jordán, F. (2007). Eutrophication and overfishing in temperate nearshore food webs: a network perspective. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 336: 1-14. Feature Article.


Vasas, V. & Jordán, F. (2006). Topological keystone species in ecological interaction networks: considering link quality and non-trophic effects. Ecological Modelling, 196: 365-378.


Jordán, F., Scheuring, I., Vasas, V. & Podani, J. (2006). Architectural classes of aquatic food webs based on link distribution. Community Ecology, 7: 81-90.