Academic Advisors

Dr Andy Gardner

Andy Gardner is a Reader in Biology and a Natural Environment Research Council Independent Research Fellow at the School of Biology, University of St Andrews, UK. Previously he has worked at the University of Edinburgh (UK), Queens University (Ontario), St Johns College, Oxford (UK), Balliol College, Oxford (UK) and the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford (UK). His research lies at the interface of theoretical population genetics and behavioral ecology, with a particular focus upon the theory of social evolution. He has been the recipient of the Thomas Henry Huxley Award from the Zoological Society of London (2005), the John Maynard Smith Prize from the European Society of Evolutionary Biology (2007), the Young Investigators Award from the American Society of Naturalists (2007), the Christopher Barnard Award from the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (2010) and the Scientific Medal from the Zoological Society of London (2015).


Professor Alan Grafen

Alan Grafen is Professor of Theoretical Biology in the Zoology Department of Oxford University. He has played a leading role in developing Darwinian evolutionary biology since the mid-1970s, and specialised in introducing formal mathematical approaches with a fully biological motivation. Notable achievements include the first game theory model that was custom-made for a biological application, instead of employing an already-existing inappropriate game borrowed from elsewhere; developing the geometric view of relatedness to understand inclusive fitness; inventing a statistically principled method for analysing cross-species data; transforming biologists views of Zahavis handicap principle by presenting a mathematical model that showed what it meant and how it worked; developing the concept of split sex ratios and (with J.J. Boomsma) showing how they explain much real- world sex ratio variation; introducing the first fully biological and simultaneously fully economic model of behavioural choices; and launching a project to tackle head-on the controversial question of whether natural selection does indeed lead to organisms that appear to maximise a quantity we could call fitness. He has successive degrees in the three behavioural subjects of Psychology, Economics and Zoology, and has published (with R. Hails) an innovative statistics textbook. He has applied the mathematical methods of economics to biological problems, and his works are much cited by empirical biologists for their relevance and conceptual clarity. He was elected to fellowship of the Royal Society in 2011, and in the same year awarded the ASAB medal by the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.


Professor Andrew Pomiankowski

Andrew Pomiankowski is Professor of Genetics and Head of the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, a department of over 200 researchers, post-docs, phd students and support staff. He is the lead investigator in a number of large consortia with multi-million pound budgets (2020 Science, Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering and Modelling Biological Complexity all EPSRC-funded) and has been lead for initiating and planning >£15M of building projects in the University over the last 5 years. He was formally Director of CoMPLEX (Centre for Mathematics and Physics in the Life Sciences and Experimental Biology), UCLs world-renowned centre for interdisciplinary research at the interface of the life sciences and mathematical/physical sciences. He is well known for his theoretical research on in the area of sexual selection, the signaling value of male sexual ornaments and the evolution of female sexual preferences. His experimental and field work using stalk-eyed flies provides a leading example of condition-dependent signaling, good genes signaling and genetic variation of female sexual preference. He has made many other contributions in evolutionary genetics including theory and empirical studies about sperm competition, meiotic drive and other forms of sex ratio distortion, the evolution of infertility, variation in sex determining mechanisms, the evolution of gene networks, the evolution of sexes and mating types, sexual signaling in yeast, genomic imprinting of sex chromosomes, and the consequences of intra- genomic conflicts. He has published over 100 peer- reviewed articles and recently co-authored Evolutionary Genomics and Proteomics (Sinauer, 2008). His research is supported by grants from the EPSRC and NERC.


Dr Isabel Valli

Dr Valli is a Clinical Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (King’s College London) and works as a psychiatry consultant in early intervention services within the South London And Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Dr Valli's principle interest is the use of functional and molecular brain imaging techniques for the study of high-risk states for psychosis and their potential use for the early identification of vulnerable individuals.