Yoichiro Mori

Dr. Mori works in mathematical biophysics and physiology. In particular, I am interested in how ionic electrodiffusion and fluid mechanics, and soft condensed matter physics more generally, shape physiological responses such as cell motility, cell polarization and (electrical) signal propagation. The study of such problems lead naturally to interesting and often novel problems in the analysis and numerical analysis of (partial) differential equations, which is also an important aspect of my research program.

Joshua Plotkin

Dr. Plotkin’s group uses mathematics and computation to study questions in evolutionary biology and ecology. Research in the group is concerned primarily with adaptation in populations. Related interests include the evolution of robustness and adaptability, the evolutionary ecology of viral populations, the evolution of cooperation, conflict, coalitions, and group decision-making.

Core members

Erol Akcay

Dr. Akçay studies the theory of social evolution in context ranging from microbial ecology to human cultural evolution. He uses a combination of mathematical modeling, agent-based simulations, and comparative analyses to understand the evolutionary dynamics of social phenomena across the tree of life. Within this broad area, his current interests include the co-evolution of social structure, dynamics of cumulative culture and ecological adaptation in human societies, evolution of social norms, and evolution and ecology of symbioses, among other topics. 

Charles Epstein

Dr. Epstein studies mathematical aspects of models used in Biology. A principal focus of his work over the last several years has been to analyze the partial differential operators that arise as diffusion limits of classical Markov-chain models in Population Genetics.  These operators are usually defined on rather singular spaces and display degeneracies that make it quite subtle to approximately solve these equations numerically. His recent work has been on the development of software to accurately solve the 1-dimensional Kimura diffusion equations in a wide variety of contexts.

Mark Goulian

The Goulian lab is broadly interested in the regulatory circuits that enable bacteria to sense and respond to their environment. He develops simple mathematical models to understand how these systems function and to develop testable predictions to guide experiments. He is also interested in how regulatory circuits evolve and their natural variation within and between species.

Ryan Hynd

Dr. Hynd’s primary interest is in partial differential equations which arise in physical and phenomenological models.  I’m particularly interested in problems involving geometry, probability and also especially optimization. I usually employ mathematical analysis in attempts to uncover properties of solutions. On occasion, I’ll also use numerical methods to approximate related quantities of interest.

Eleni Katifori

Dr. Katifori’s group is generally interested in understanding the geometrical and topological principles governing the form and function of living organisms. They primarily focus on theoretical questions inspired by and related to biological transport networks such as the mammalian and plant vasculature. The group tries to understand how living flow networks function, how they develop, what determines their structure and to what extent evolution has driven them to optimality.

Junhyong Kim

Dr, Kim is interested in models of development and evolution of development; geometry of data analysis; and, graphical models. He has worked on mathematical properties of tree-graph models for phylogenies, statistics of spatial processes and geometrical shape, geometrical representation of biological data, and developmental dynamics. He also carries out empirical research in single cell biology applied to problems in cell differentiation and cell phenotypes.

Robin Pemantle

Robin Pemantle does research in probability and combinatorics.Within probability, Pemantle works on a variety of discreteprobability models, e.g., recently, error correcting in noisy channels, invasion percolation, fractal trees, fault detection, random fitness landscapes. In combinatorics, Pemantle works on ACSV (analytic combinatoricsin several variables), an enumeration technique which has been applied to diverse areas such as random walks, quantum walks, lattice tilings and search trees.

Robert Strain

Dr. Strain works in the field of mathematical analysis and studies partial differential equations. He has proven results on partial differential equations from diverse areas including fluid dynamics, kinetic theory, and materials science. Strain does research on problems involving local and global existence and uniqueness of solutions, large time sharp asymptotic behavior and convergence to equilibrium, finite time blow up, and ill-posedness of solutions. He has studied numerous physically motivated partial differential equations including the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations, the relativistic Euler system, the Muskat problem, the Boltzmann and Landau equation under Newtonian mechanics or special-relativity and the Vlasov equations.

Sarah Tishkoff

Dr. Tishkoff studies genomic and phenotypic variation in ethnically diverse Africans. Her research combines field work, laboratory research, and computational methods to examine African population history, human adaptation, and the genetic basis of variable complex traits including disease risk.  She uses an integrative genomics approach, incorporating data from genomics, transcriptomics, epigenomics, metabolomics, and the gut microbiome to identify the role of genetics and environment on variable traits in human populations. 

Simons Postdoctoral Fellows

Daniel Cooney

Daniel is generally interested in using dynamical systems and PDEs to model population dynamics. His current research focuses on models of multilevel selection and evolutionary game theory, as well as understanding collective behavior and pattern formation in ecological and social systems.

Hyunjoong Kim

Dr. Kim has broad interests in modeling biological systems for mathematical problems in stochastic processes, partial differential equations, and optimization. He has studied intercellular signaling via cellular protrusions, and mitochondrial dynamics in controlling cell conditions.

Qi Su

Simons/NRSEC Postdoctoral Fellow

Daniel Gomez


The Center hosts both short- and long-term visitors from outside of the University, who may interact with a broad range of researchers across campus, not only in math and biology but also in physics, bioengineering, and the medical school.

Alex McAvoy

Alex’s research interests lie primarily in the evolution of prosocial behaviors, asymmetric games, and pathologies in evolutionary game theory. He is also interested in direct reciprocity in repeated and stochastic games, along with applications to problems of multi-agent learning.

Past Visitors

Ski Krieger, from Harvard University, Oct. 1-2, 2019
Alexander Stewart, from the University of Houston, Oct. 21-25, 2019

Advisory Board

Michael Kearns, Andrea Liu, George Maliath, Philip Nelson, Arjun Raj