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A leading theoretical evolutionary biologist at UT has been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Sergey Gavrilets, distinguished professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Department of Mathematics, follows in the footsteps of historical greats such as Benjamin Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Mead, and Nelson Mandela, who were all notable members of the academy.

The academy’s purpose is “to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.”

“I view this as a recognition of the success of our mathematical biology program started by Tom Hallam and Lou Gross 35 years ago,” Gavrilets said. “This later led to the establishment of NIMBioS [the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis] as a national and international hub for transdisciplinary research and the coordinated hiring of multiple bright junior faculty in several UT departments working at the interface of biology, mathematics, computational, and social sciences.”

Gavrilets serves as associate director for scientific activities at NIMBioS. His research focuses on population genetics, adaptation, speciation, coevolution, diversification, phenotypic plasticity, and sexual conflict.

Over the past 10 years, Gavrilets has researched human origins, human uniqueness, human social and cultural evolution, within- and between-group conflict, and cooperation.

Gavrilets joins three fellow UT faculty members in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences: Mark Dean, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Dan Simberloff, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; and Harry McSween, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.


Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,

Amanda Womac (865-974-2992,