Plenaries

Priyanga Amarasekare Professor, University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

A native of Sri Lanka, Dr. Amarasekare received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine, conducted postdoctoral research at the prestigious National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, and was an Assistant Professor in Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago before moving to UCLA. Dr. Amarasekare is the rare ecologist whose work is simultaneously broad and deep and has important effects on every area it touches, from coexistence theory to climate change. Her distinction derives from making fundamental advances in the field while simultaneously tackling and solving important practical problems, using an integrative approach that strikes the balance between mathematical tractability, biological realism and societal importance.

The impact of her research on ecology is demonstrated by being cited over 12,000 times since she completed her doctorate in 1998. In the past five years, she has garnered over $1.7M in grants from NSF and the James S. McDonnell Foundation. Because of her expertise, Dr. Amarasekare is highly sought out as a keynote speaker at prestigious scientific meetings. She was asked to be the Specialty Chief Editor for the Models in Ecology and Evolution section of Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, and has received numerous prestigious awards such as the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.

Dr. Amarasekare is also an outstanding mentor who has inspired generations of young scientists to follow in her footsteps. Her mentoring is not just at the graduate level: since 2007, she has mentored over 32 undergraduates, including REU students. Of these, 21 have conducted honors projects and five students have won the prestigious Whitcome Summer Research Fellowships.

Priyanga Amarasekare

  • Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine
  • Postdoctoral research at the prestigious National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis
  • Assistant Professor in Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago.