Modeling Religion Project - Research Team

The MRP Research Team is a creative collaboration of experts in M&S and experts in SSR. The team has two main sections, one based on Boston at the Institute for the Bio-Cultural Study of Religion (IBCSR), and one based in Suffolk at the Virginia Modeling, Simulation & Analysis Center (VMASC).

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IBCSR Team Members

Wesley J. Wildman

Wesley J. Wildman, PhD, Principal Investigator

Professor of Philosophy, Theology, and Ethics, Boston University
Convener of the Religion & Science PhD Program, Boston University Graduate School
Founding Co-Director, Institute for the Bio-Cultural Study of Religion

Wesley Wildman directs MRP and leads the research team. He has worked on many aspects of science and religion. He is particularly interested in what light can be shed on religious behaviors, beliefs, and experiences from the biological, human, and computational sciences. Director of Boston University's innovative humanities-science doctoral program in Religion and Science, he is deeply committed to multidisciplinary research and training. More information about Wesley is available here.

F. LeRon Shults

F. LeRon Shults, PhD, PhD

Professor of Theology and Philosophy, University of Agder, Norway

F. LeRon Shults is Professor of Theology and Philosophy in the Institute for Religion, Philosophy and History at the University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway. His many books and articles address religion and human life in the context of the contemporary human and physical sciences. He is working with the institute on extending the networks supporting the biocultural study of religion in a variety of research areas, including secularism, naturalism, compassion, and political and religious ideology. More information about LeRon is available here.

Patrick McNamara

Patrick McNamara, PhD

Associate Professor of Neurology, Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine
Graduate School Dissertation Chair, Northcentral University

Neuroscientist Patrick McNamara, Founding Co-Director of IBCSR, has worked for some years on Parkinson's Disease and conducted research on sleep and dreams. He is involved in a number of research projects having to do with the scientific study of religion. His landmark three-volume edited collection of essays on the scientific study of religion is well known: Where God and Science Meet. More information about Patrick is available here.

Justin E. Lane

Justin Lane

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Justin’s research interests concern the stability of social systems and value perception from a cognitive perspective. He's especially interested in how social groups maintain stability and what causes them to change over time. Crucial to this has been the way in which humans perceive value, both in terms of financial and cultural values. His research focuses on the social stability of large scale religions, the formation of new religious movements, and sectarian violence. Justin utilizes empirically validated research from psychology in order to create more accurate social AI models and simulations.

Connor Wood

Connor Wood


Connor Wood is a doctoral candidate in the Graduate Division of Religious Studies at Boston University, having completed a master's degree focusing on religion and science at Boston University's School of Theology. His research interests include the potential adaptive functions of religion, religion and health, and the public understanding of issues in science and religion. He is the editor for

Jennifer Lindsay

Jennifer Lindsay

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Jenn Lindsay is a PhD Candidate at Boston University's Graduate Division of Religious Studies, where she studies how religious difference affects personal relationships in families, friendships, and interfaith dialogue groups. She is presently conducting ethnographic dissertation research at Confronti Magazine in Rome, analyzing the nature and networks of interfaith dialogue in Italy. She is IBCSR's documentarian and has produced a series of videos about ongoing IBCSR projects and important trends at the Institute. She is creating a documentary for MRP as well. Jenn uses her research and her documentary filmmaking to encourage reflection about religion “outside the box”: beyond institutions and policies, and within real lives and relationships. She earned her Master of Divinity with an emphasis in Interfaith Relations at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. She hails from San Diego, California and worked for a decade in New York City as an independent musician and filmmaker. Find out more about Jenn here.

Brian Teed

Brian Teed

IBCSR Administrator

Brian has a Master’s degree from Boston University School of Theology where he focused on existential and philosophical theology. He holds a BA in sociology. Brian ensures that IBCSR, its lab, MRP all run smoothly, working closely with Wesley Wildman and Patrick McNamara. He also participates in some of the institute's research projects.

Ruben Mancha

Ruben Mancha, PhD [ALUM]

Assistant Professor, Babson College, Boston

Ruben Mancha is Assistant Professor, Division of Technology, Operations and Information Management at Babson College in Boston. He received his M.S. in Management of Technology and his Ph.D. in Information Technology from the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he was a Presidential Dissertation Fellow. His research interests include the study of decision-making in technology-rich environments, the impact of technology on society, and cognitive simulation. Ruben worked on the project in 2014-2015. For more information about Ruben, see here.


VMASC Team Members

Saikou Diallo

Saikou Y. Diallo, PhD

Research Assistant Professor, VMASC, Old Dominion University

Dr. Diallo is the PI on the VMASC subcontract that is part of MRP. He is Research Assistant Professor at the Virginia Modeling Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) of the Old Dominion University. His research focuses on the theory of interoperability as it relates to model-based data engineering and web services for M&S applications. He has authored or co-authored over fifty publications including a number of awarded papers and articles in conferences, journals, and book chapters. He participates in a number of modeling and simulation related organizations and conferences and was the general chair of the 2015 SpringSim meeting.

Jose Padilla

Jose Padilla, PhD

Research Assistant Professor in Human Dynamics, VMASC, Old Dominion University

Dr. Jose Padilla studies the concept of understanding and how the concept applies to areas such as Modeling and Simulation, Systems Science, and complexity. He is currently conducting research into how the concept of understanding can be used in the process of conceptual modeling and in the creation of autopoietic agents. His interests include Human, Social, Cultural, and Behavior Modeling, Epistemology of Modeling and Simulation, Conceptual Modeling, Systems Engineering and Engineering Management.

Ross Gore

Ross Gore, PhD

Research Assistant Professor, VMASC, Old Dominion University

Ross Gore holds a Doctorate of Philosophy and a Master's degree in Computer Science from the University of Virginia and a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the University of Richmond. He has ten years of research experience in problems that lie at the intersection of software engineering and modeling and simulation. His work has yielded authorships on more than 20 conference and journal publications and has been recognized by the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Society as an impactful and novel research avenue.

Christopher Lynch

Christopher Lynch

Senior Project Scientist, VMASC, Old Dominion University

Christopher Lynch has a Master’s degree in Modeling and Simulation from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He has worked on Modeling and Simulation projects for the social sciences and military domains as a graduate research assistant through VMASC’s Modeling and Simulation Interoperability lab since 2011. His project experience focuses on conceptual model design, simulation implementation, developing model prototypes, analyzing the results of agent-based models, and multi-paradigm modeling. His current research focus includes conceptual modeling, modeling social systems, multi-paradigm modeling, discrete event modeling, system dynamics modeling, and agent-based modeling.

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Anthony Barraco

Senior Project Scientist, VMASC, Old Dominion University

Anthony Barraco has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the Universityof Central Florida. Since 2004 his project experience includes network driver development, machinery control systems, and tactical trainers for the Department of Defense. His focus at VMASC has been the development of mobile applications, geospatial processing, system dynamics simulation modeling, and M&S interoperability.