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A UT faculty member who uses computational and mathematical tools to address environmental problems has received a top award from the Southeastern Conference.

Louis Gross
Louis Gross

Louis Gross was honored with the 2018 SEC Faculty Achievement Award, the SEC announced today. He is an Alvin and Sally Beaman Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Mathematics. He also is director of the UT Institute for Environmental Modeling and of the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), based at UT.

The award recognizes professors from the 14 SEC schools who have outstanding records in teaching and scholarship. Honorees from each university receive a $5,000 honorarium and become their university’s nominee for SEC Professor of the Year, to be awarded this spring. The Professor of the Year recipient will receive an additional $15,000 honorarium and be recognized at an SEC awards dinner in Destin, Florida.

Gross has developed quantitative methods to address problems in disease ecology, landscape ecology, plant ecology, conservation biology, and natural resource management. He is a leader in educational initiatives in quantitative methods for life science students.

He recently co-led a study examining how humans react to climate change. He and colleagues paired a standard climate model with a mathematical formulation of the social psychological theory of planned behavior to explore how people would hypothetically respond to their changing environment and how this impacts future global temperatures.

Since 1990, Gross has been a principal investigator on more than 35 externally funded research and education projects with combined funding of more than $51 million. He has had continuous support since 1992 from the National Science Foundation.

Gross is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Society for Mathematical Biology.

Suzanne Lenhart, NIMBioS associate director for education and outreach, won the SEC Faculty Achievement Award in 2017.


Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,