People

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Erol Akcay

Born and raised in Turkey, Erol completed his undergraduate degree at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, majoring in physics and biology. He moved to the US to pursue his Ph.D. in Biology at Stanford, working with Joan Roughgarden on models of mutualism and reproductive social behavior. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, (very briefly) at Berkeley with Ellen Simms, and at Princeton with Simon Levin. Starting January 2014, he is an assistant professor of biology at the University of Pennsylvania. Click here for Erol’s CV. He is sporadically accused of harassing songbirds in the wild, but maintains that it’s not him.

Elliot Aguilar

Elliot is a postdoc studying gene-culture coevolution and cultural evolution. He received his bachelor’s degree in Physics from Harvard University and his PhD in Biology from the City University of New York. His interests include the interaction between selection on cultural and genetic traits, evolutionary linguistics, and population genetics.

AlexandraBrownAlexandra Brown

Alexandra is a fourth-year student in the Biology Department. She has her undergraduate degree in Math and Biology from Brown university and interested in mathematical biology in general, especially evolutionary theory. Currently, she is working on evolution of mutualistic symbioses.

SlimaneSlimane Dridi

Slimane is a postdoc studying the evolution of behavioral mechanisms and learning in social contexts. He studied Psychology and Cognitive Sciences as an undergraduate in France (University of Grenoble) and obtained a PhD in evolutionary biology from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. He joined the lab in August 2015. He uses analytical models (both deterministic and stochastic) as well as agent-based computer simulations to address questions about how natural selection shapes the use of information and cognitive sophistication in game theoretical settings.

chaicrop Chai Molina

Chai is a postdoc researching international environmental agreements (IEAs), in collaboration with Ulf Dieckmann (IIASA), Elena Rovenskaya (IIASA), and Simon Levin (Princeton). He studies how differences between countries affect the coalitions forming in IEAs and the gains they can achieve. Chai has a PhD in mathematics McMaster University, MSc from Tel Aviv University, and a BA from the Technion.

HaoranCroppedHaoran Zhou

Haoran is a fourth-year graduate student in the Biology Department, working with Brent Helliker and Erol. She has her bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources from Beijing Normal University with highest distinction and her master’s from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Ecology. She is interested in plant physiology and theoretical ecology. She wants to use life history evolution and evolutionary stable strategy to explain change and variation of plant functional traits and life history traits.

Former members:

AmiyaalSmallAmiyaal Ilany

Amiyaal was a postdoc in 2015-2016 in the lab, and studies social behavior and animal communication patterns. Prior to Penn, he obtained his PhD from Tel Aviv University, and was a postdoctoral fellow at NIMBioS. His work combines field work, analysis of large data sets, and modeling to gain insights on key social phenomena, such as social network dynamics. He just recently started his own lab as a senior lecturer at Bar-Ilan University, Israel and thus became the first survivor of the lab.

2François Bienvenu

François is studying ecology and evolution at École normale supérieure, in Paris. His main interests range from collective behaviour to the evolution of the structure of ecosystems, but right now he is more focused on the evolution of social behaviour. He spent half a year in the Akçay lab in 2014 working on the coevolution of social and demographic traits.