Board of Directors

The PIMS Board of Directors is responsible for oversight of all aspects of PIMS. 



Current Board Members

Engin Özberk Chair, PIMS Board of Directors


Mr. Engin Özberk joined Mitacs after completing his contract with International Minerals Innovation Institute (IMII) in January 2016. Mr. Özberk was the Executive Director and Senior Technical Advisor of IMII (June 2013 - December 2015), after retiring from Cameco in March, 2013. He was the Vice President, Cameco Technology and Innovation of Cameco Corporation. He joined Cameco in February, 1997. He previously worked as Consulting Metallurgist for Sherritt International Corporation, Alberta; as Senior Project Manager and Senior Process Engineer for The SNC Group; as Research Engineer for Noranda Technology Centre, Quebec; and as Project Engineer for Etibank, Turkey. He has more than 40 years of research and development and project management experience in light metals, base metals and nuclear industries. He has lead or participated in numerous major metallurgical and chemical engineering projects in practically every continent. He obtained his Master of Eng., Metallurgical Engineering (1979) and Post Graduate Diploma in Management (1978), both from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec. He is a graduate of Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey (1972). He has authored or coauthored more than 40 papers and is a Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (CIM) Fellow.

Mr. Özberk is a recipient of the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (CIM) Distinguished Lecturer Award (2009), and the Silver Medal (1997), The Airey Award (Xstrata) (2011), and the Alcan Award (2006) from the Metallurgical Society of CIM. He has also received the Communication and Education Award (2007) from the Canadian Nuclear Society and the Extractive Metallurgy Science Award (1988) from the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society of AIME of USA.

Mr. Özberk is currently member of the Board of Directors of “Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation”, since 2011, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon; appointed member of Board of Directors of the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) since 2009, serving second 3 year term and chair of the Industry Advisory Committee; and member of the Board of Directors of Plateau Uranium and the chair of the Audit Committee, since 2015.

Mr. Özberk served as the elected member of the Board of Directors of Canada Mining Innovation Council, where he served as the president and chairman of the board of directors of the Canada Mining Innovation Council 2008-2012, he is one of the 3 founding members. He was the co-chair of the steering committee for “International Minerals Innovation Institute” for Saskatchewan and one of its three founding members. Mr. Özberk served as the appointed member of NSERC, Research Partnerships Program's Advisory Committee on University-Industry Grants (ACUIG), 2011-2014; as the appointed member of Toxicology Centre Advisory Board of University of Saskatchewan, 2008-2013; appointed member of Business Development Advisory Committee (BDAC) for the Canadian Light Source, 2008-2013; member of Mining Association of Canada-Science Committee, 2008-2012; as the co-chair of the Technical Advisory Committee of the UOIT Cameco Chair for Nuclear Fuel, 2007-12; appointed member of University Network of Excellence in Nuclear Engineering (UNENE) executive committee, 2006-12 and as the Co-chair of CANMET-MMSL Green Mining Initiative Board of Directors, 2009-2013.

He has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2009.



Jayadev Athreya PIMS Director and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Washington

Jayadev Athreya

Jayadev Athreya is a Professor of Mathematics and the Comparative History of Ideas at the University of Washington, and the founder of the Washington Experimental Mathematics Lab. He is originally from Ames, Iowa where he graduated from Iowa State University. Athreya completed his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, took on postdoctoral fellowships at Yale and Princeton, and was previously at the University of Illinois before moving to the University of Washington. He has held visiting positions in the UK, France, and India. Much of his research is in geometry, dynamical systems, and the creative processes of mathematics.

Professor Athreya has co-organized various events sponsored by PIMS including the Pacific Northwest Dynamics workshop. Professor Athreya has also served on the Director’s advisory council, and as Special Advisor to the Director. He is currently the Chair of the 2022 Pacific Rim Mathematical Association (PRIMA) Scientific Committee.

He has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2021.



Peta C. Bonham-Smith Dean, Science, College of Arts and Science, University of Saskatchewan

Peta Bonham-Smith

Dr. Bonham-Smith graduated with a B.Sc. from Wolverhampton Polytechnic, UK and earned her Ph.D. in Plant Physiology & Molecular Biology from the University of Calgary. In 1994, after completing post-doctoral positions at the University of Arizona, Department of Biochemistry; University of Calgary, Department of Biological Sciences and Biomira Inc., Edmonton, she joined the University of Saskatchewan, Department of Biology. From 2000 to 2002, she served as the first Director of the virtual College of Biotechnology followed by Chair of the Department of Biology between 2008 to 2010. She was Vice-Dean Science, College of Arts and Science from 2010 to 2015 and since 2015 is the interim Dean of the College of Arts and Science. Dr. Bonham-Smith’s research focuses on the molecular cell biology of the plant ribosome and its importance in plant growth and development, as well as the molecular biology of the plant-pathogen interactions involved in clubroot disease in canola. In 2009, she received the Teaching Excellence Award, Division of Science, Arts & Science and in 2016 and 2002, Dr. Bonham-Smith was honoured with the Saskatoon YWCA Women of Distinction: 2016 Leadership and Professions; 2002 Science, Technology and the Environment awards.

In addition to her work at the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Bonham-Smith has served as both vice-chair and interim chair of the board of Saskatchewan Research Council.

She has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2011.



Barb Carra President and CEO, Cybera

Barb Carra

Dr. Barb Carra is the President and CEO of Cybera, Alberta’s Research and Education Network, and technology-neutral organization responsible for driving Alberta's economic growth through the use of digital technology. She is a respected leader and collaborative partner within Canada’s National Research and Education Network (NREN) landscape.

Barb is a champion for the digital needs of Canadians, and frequently meets with municipal, provincial and federal government leaders, raising awareness of the need to improve internet access, and grow digital literacy and computational thinking across Canada.

With a PhD in applied research, spatial statistics and data modeling, Barb has over a decade of experience in data analytics and policy, which allows her to act as a bridge between research and technical domains. That insight has proved vital to Cybera, which frequently acts as a steward and advocate for Alberta research and data-driven decisions. Barb spearheaded the development of Cybera's policy, strategic and operational initiatives, including the ShareIT procurement program and Cybera’s new cybersecurity portfolio.

She currently sits on multiple Boards and committees including: The Centre for Innovation Studies, Research Data Canada’s Policy Committee, Canada’s National Research and Education Network Governance Committee, Saskatchewan’s Research and Education Network (SRNET), as well as The Calgary Zoo. Barb earned her Master's of Science at the University of Calgary and her Doctorate from Wilfrid Laurier University.

She has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2020.



Vladimir Chernousov CRC Chair & Professor, Faculty of Science – Mathematics & Statistical Sciences, University of Alberta

Vladimir Chernousov

Vladimir Chernousov is a Professor of Pure Mathematics, University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada). Received his Ph.D. from Institute of Mathematics (Minsk, Belarus) in 1983 and Doctorate (second Ph.D., equivalent to Habilitation) in 1991. Dr. Chernousov held a position Leading Research Fellow in the Institute of Mathematics (Minsk, Belarus) in the 90th. He joined Mathematical and Statistical Sciences Department of UofA in 2003. His research is in algebra; in particular in algebraic groups, Lie Theory, Galois cohomology and related areas. Received an award of the Academy of Sciences of USSR for the proof of Serre's Conjecture II for E_8 over number fields. Had some invited visiting positions in France, Germany, Switzerland. Held position the Canada Research Chair in Algebra, T1 in 2004-2018.

He has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2019.



Walter T. Dixon Associate Vice-President (Research) and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Alberta

Walter T. Dixon


Dr. Walter Dixon is a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science (AFNS) in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences (ALES) at the University of Alberta where he has been on staff since 1993. He served as Associate Chair (Research) for the department from 2006-2008, Chair of the ALES Human Research Ethics Board (2007-2008) and Associate Chair (Graduate Programs) from 2010 – 2012. In September 2012 he was appointed Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies) for ALES and, most recently, became Associate Vice President (Research) for the University of Alberta.

He graduated with a BSc. (Hon.) from the Faculty of Science at the University of Alberta in 1979. On being awarded a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Post-graduate Studentship he undertook his MPhil and PhD studies at the University of Cambridge (U.K.) where he was awarded the Benn-Levy studentship in Biochemistry. Upon completion of his PhD., he returned to Canada in 1984 to begin an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary. He moved to the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Alberta in 1988 where, in addition to his research, he taught courses in biochemistry and supervised graduate students and research residents in both basic and clinically oriented research projects.

Dr. Dixon was recruited to the Faculty of ALES as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in 1993 with a mandate to take a leading role in developing the Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Centre in the Agriculture/Forestry Centre on the university campus. This was achieved over a number of years and the Centre (now called the Agricultural Genomics and Proteomics Unit) has undergone a series of massive infrastructure and equipment investments in recent years by both federal and provincial governments as well as university and private sector partners. Dr. Dixon was part of the team driving this major expansion. In addition, he is a key member of the SRDP (Swine Reproduction and Development Program) and this reflects his own research interests in the area of reproductive performance, and the impact of nutrition during gestation on lifetime growth, development and health parameters of the animal (especially muscle growth).

In recent years, Dr. Dixon has served on a number of provincial advisory committees seeking to optimize the organization and delivery of agricultural research in Alberta. He served on the AARI Scientific Review Committee – Livestock Opportunities for the Agricultural Funding Consortium for over five years, served as an industry representative on the Advancing Canadian Agriculture and AgriFood (ACAAF) scientific review committee for three years, and was a member of the provincial Action Team for the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). He has served on the NSERC Scholarships and Fellowships Committee for Life Sciences and Psychology and was the Chair of this committee in 2005. He is an Associate Editor of the Canadian Journal of Animal Science, a scientific reviewer for numerous other journals, and currently sits on the supervisory committee for 15 graduate students at the University of Alberta. Through these involvements, Dr. Dixon maintains his interest and connections to a wide variety of research disciplines from the very basic to the very applied.

He has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2014.



Landon Downes President of 1Qbit and Managing Partner of Cambium Capital

Landon Downes


Landon Downs is co-founder and President of 1QBit and Managing Partner of Cambium Capital an early stage venture capital fund focused on advanced computation. Landon’s accomplishments span a diverse range of leadership roles, from venture investing to co-founding startups, negotiating mergers and acquisitions to advising on some of the largest public-private-partnership infrastructure transactions in Canada. Throughout his career he has advised on the deployment of over $6Bn of capital.

Landon received a Bachelor of Commerce with distinction from the University of Victoria, is a CFA Charterholder, and completed Singularity University’s Executive Program. He was a driving force behind the formation of the UN’s AI and Robotics Centre and is a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer. He currently serves as President and Director of Acumen Canada (the Canadian arm of Acumen Fund) and is a board member of the Quantum Algorithm Institute.

He has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2020.



Hannes Edinger Director of Big River Analytics Ltd.

Hannes Edinger


Hannes Edinger is an award-winning economist, a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, and the director of Big River Analytics Ltd., based in Terrace, British Columbia. Hannes founded Big River Analytics Ltd. in 2011 with the objective of providing statistical and analytical capacity to benefit Indigenous communities and governments across Canada. Hannes and his team have since served all levels of government in Canada and they continue to provide analytical capacity to local, regional, provincial, and federal Indigenous organizations in Canada. In addition to his work at Big River, he serves as a member of the National Stakeholder Advisory Panel for the Labour Market Information Council. As for a unique/interesting fact - I'm a passionate angler and I spend my summers chasing chinook salmon in Haida Gwaii.

He has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2020.



Douglas Farenick Dean of the Faculty of Science and Professor of Mathematics, University of Regina

Douglas Farenick

Douglas Farenick is presently Professor of Mathematics and Acting Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Regina. He received his PhD from the University of Toronto and held a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Université de Montréal before going to the University of Regina in 1992. Dr. Farenick’s research in operator algebra theory has been supported by NSERC since 1993, and to date he has authored or co-authored 48 refereed journal articles and two books. Dr. Farenick has also supervised or co-supervised six PhD candidates to completion and has supervised four postdoctoral fellows from Canada and abroad. He currently supervises two PhD candidates and one FRQNT (Québec) postdoctoral fellow.

He has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2016.



Michael Friedlander IBM Professor of Computer Science and Professor of Mathematics, UBC

Michael Friedlander

Michael Friedlander is IBM Professor of Computer Science and Professor of Mathematics at the University of British Columbia. He received his PhD in Operations Research from Stanford University in 2002, and his BA in Physics from Cornell University in 1993. From 2002 to 2004 he was the Wilkinson Fellow in Scientific Computing at Argonne National Laboratory. He has also been Professor of Mathematics at the University of California, Davis, and has held visiting positions at UCLA's Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics and at UC Berkeley's Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing.  He serves on the editorial boards of various journals, including Mathematics of Operations Research and the SIAM Journal on Optimization. His research in computational mathematics focuses on the development and analysis of algorithms for large-scale optimization, their software implementation, and applying these to problems in signal processing and machine learning.

He has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2017.



William Ghali Vice-President (Research), University of Calgary

William Ghali

Dr. William Ghali was appointed Vice-President (Research) effective March 1, 2020.

Dr. Ghali is Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary. Dr. Ghali is also a physician, specializing in General Internal Medicine (MD (1990) - University of Calgary, FRCP(C) (1994)) - Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario), and completed methodological training in health services research and epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health (MPH, 1995). Dr. Ghali was formally the scientific director of the O’Brien Institute for Public Health at the University of Calgary.

Dr. Ghali has held millions of dollars of peer-reviewed research funding from a number of agencies through his research program, focused on evaluating and improving health system performance for better patient outcomes and improved system efficiency. He has held a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Health Services Research for two five-year periods and has published more than 420 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

He is a Fellow of both the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and the Royal Society of Canada. He was featured by the Globe and Mail in April 2012 as the Canadian public health researcher with the highest publication H-index, and has also been named in the Thomson-Reuters listing of the top 1% of most highly cited researchers by discipline. He is co-director of the University of Calgary World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre in Disease Classifications and Health Information.

He has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2020.



Rodger Guinn Chair of the External Advisory Committee for the University of Manitoba`s Faculty of Science "Data Science Nexus" initiative

Rodger Guinn

Rodger Guinn currently serves as the Chair of the External Advisory Committee for the University of Manitoba`s Faculty of Science "Data Science Nexus" initiative. This committee brings industry and public sector perspectives forward to the Faculty as it launches a new multi-disciplinary Data Science undergraduate and graduate program. Related activities seek to strengthen partnerships with Data Science faculty researchers with Manitoba`s business and government organizations.

Prior to his retirement in 2018, Rodger had a public sector executive career spanning over 30 years across Federal, Provincial, Municipal governments and Healthcare. His working career focused on the introduction and implementation of enterprise systems (SAP and PeopleSoft) and innovations including the public sector possibilities associated with Data Analytics.

In addition to his current Committee / Board role he has previously served as National Board President for the Financial Management Institute of Canada (FMI) and Manitoba provincial Chapter.

He has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2020.



Lisa Kalynchuk Professor Divisition of Medical Sciences; Adjunct Professior Department of Psychology, University of Victoria

Lisa Kalynchuk

Dr. Kalynchuck holds a BSc in Psychology from the Unversity of Alberta, and an MA and PhD in Behavioural Neuroscience from the University of British Columbia. Dr. Kalynchuk joined the University of Victoria on July 1, 2017, and holds an academic appointment with the Division of Medical Science, with an adjunct appointment to the Department of Psychology.

Dr. Kalynchuk's research focuses on the neurobiology of depression, the psychiatric complications of epilepsy, and the effect of chronic stress on the brain and behavior.

Before joining the University of Victoria, Dr. Kalynchuk was a tenured Full Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, and the Interim Associate Dean, Interdisciplinary Health Research in the Office of the Vice-Provost Health. She recently completed two trms as a Canada Research Chair in Behavioral Neuroscience. Her International collaborations include research groups in the United States and the European Union. She has served on the editorial board of several journals in her field and on grant selection committees for NSERC, CIHR, Brain Canada, the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation, and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

Lisa has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2018.



Stephen Kirkland Associate Dean (Natural Sciences and Engineering). Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Manitoba

Steve Kirkland pic

Dr. Kirkland received a B.Sc. in mathematics from the University of British Columbia in 1984, then studied at the University of Toronto, receiving a M.Sc (1985) and a Ph.D. (1989), both in mathematics. After holding postdoctoral positions at Queen’s University (1989-1991) and the University of Minnesota (1991-1992), Dr. Kirkland became a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Regina, where he worked from 1992 to 2009. He relocated to Ireland, and for the period 2009-2013, Dr. Kirkland was a Stokes Professor in the Hamilton Institute at the National University of Ireland Maynooth. Dr. Kirkland returned to Canada in 2013, taking up his current position as Professor and Head of the Department of Mathematics at the University of Manitoba.

Dr. Kirkland’s research is in matrix theory and graph theory, with particular interest in the theory and applications of nonnegative matrices, spectral graph theory, and combinatorial matrix theory. He has published upwards of 140 refereed journal publications, conference proceedings, and book chapters, as well as one book and three edited volumes. Since 2006 he has been an Editor in Chief of the journal Linear and Multilinear Algebra, and he serves on two other editorial boards. He was president of the International Linear Algebra Society for the period 2008-2014, and in 2008 he received the University of Regina Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Research.

Dr. Kirkland has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2015.



Kirill Kopotun Professor, Department of Mathematics, University of Manitoba

Kirill Kopotun

Kirill Kopotun is a Professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Manitoba. After completing his undergraduate studies (interrupted by a 2-year compulsory military service in the Soviet Army) at Kyiv State University (currently Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv) in Ukraine in 1991, he continued his education in Canada and received a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Alberta in 1996. After spending 4 years at Vanderbilt University, he joined the University of Manitoba in 2000 where he has been ever since. Dr. Kopotun’s research is mostly in approximation theory, with particular interest in constrained approximation and related areas. He serves on the editorial boards of several journals including Journal of Approximation Theory.

Dr. Kopotun was the inaugural PIMS Site Director at the University of Manitoba (2015-2021) and has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2021.



Matthew Letts Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science, University of Lethbridge

Matthew Letts

Prof. Matthew G. Letts is the Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Lethbridge and a member of the Department of Geography and Environment. Matt has previously served as Associate Dean (2012-2019), as interim Associate Vice-President Research (2014-15) and as Academic Program Director of the Destination Project, the first stage of which was the development of the new Science Commons at the University of Lethbridge. Letts has also been a strong advocate for Engineering, the Agility program in innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as other experiential learning initiatives at the UofL. Matt has served on the PIMS Board of Directors since 2019.

Letts’ academic background includes a B.Sc. and B.A. from Queen’s University, an M.Sc. from McGill University and a Ph.D. in Geography, from King’s College London. His ecological research program at the University of Lethbridge has been supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and Alberta Innovates. His work focused on plant physiological acclimation to environmental stress in a variety of ecosystems, from coulee grasslands to the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, northern peatlands, tropical cloud forests of Colombia and Mediterranean environments of southern France.

He has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2019.



Gail Murphy Vice-President Research (pro-tem), University of British Columbia


Gail C. Murphy is a Professor of Computer Science and Associate Vice-President Research and International pro tem at the University of British Columbia. She is also co-founder and Chief Scientist at Tasktop Technologies Inc. Her research interests are in improving the productivity of software developers and knowledge workers by giving them tools to identify, manage and coordinate the information that really matters for their work. Dr. Murphy is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and an ACM Distinguished Scientist. With her students, she has received best and test of time awards from ICSE, ACM SIGSOFT and Modularity. She received a B.Sc. (Honours) degree in Computing Science from the University of Alberta and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Washington.

She has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2016.



Dugan O'Neil Vice-President Research and Professor of Physics, Simon Fraser University


As the Associate Vice-President, Research, Dugan O’Neil works closely with the Vice-President, Research and International, and shares responsibility for academic leadership in, and administration of, research and other scholarly activities. Together, they work to raise Simon Fraser University's research profile to an internationally competitive level. Activities include the encouragement, facilitation and administration of research across faculties and other offices at SFU.

He is cited for integrating sophisticated digital infrastructure into a diverse scientific community that spans engineering, natural sciences, health, social sciences and humanities.

He has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2018.



Vakhtang Putkaradze Vice President of Transformation, Science and Technology at ATCO

Vakhtang Putkaradze

Vakhtang Putkaradze holds a PhD in theoretical physics (1997) from the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. He has held the position of L.E. Dickson Instructor at the University of Chicago, faculty positions at the New Mexico and Colorado State Universities, and most recently the title of Centennial Professor of Mathematics at the University of Alberta. In addition, he was the Site Director for Pacific Institute for Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) at the UofA. He also held visiting professorship positions at the Ibaraki and Kyoto Universities (Japan), TU Dublin (Ireland), and University of Aix-Marseille (France). Vakhtang has received numerous prizes at the university, national, and international level, including the CAIMS-Fields Prize for Industrial Mathematics, University of Alberta Commercialization Award, Japanese Society for Promotion of Sciences Senior Award, Flaherty Visiting Professorship, and Humboldt Fellowship, in addition to several teaching awards. From 2019, he is leading the Science and Technology part of ATCO Transformation Team, his current position being the Vice President of Transformation, Science and Technology at ATCO.

He has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2020.



Ian Stavness Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Saskatchewan & GIFS Chair, Computational Agriculture, Global Institute for Food Security

Ian Stavness

Ian Stavness is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Saskatchewan and the GIFS Research Chair in Computational Agriculture. He received his PhD at UBC in 2011 and held a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University with the NIH Center for Biomedical Computation in 2012. He directs the Biological Imaging & Graphics (BIG) lab focused on 3D modeling, computer graphics, image analysis and machine learning for biological and biomedical applications. His research group is currently focused on agricultural applications of computer modeling and machine learning, including plant breeding, image-informed agronomy, and economic and environmental sustainability in food production.

He has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2021.



Elizabeth A. Thompson Professor Emeritus, Department of Statistics, University of Washington

Elizabeth A. Thompson

Elizabeth A. Thompson is a professor emerita in the Department of Statistics, University of Washington. Until her retirement in 2018 she was professor of Statistics and also adjunct professor in the departments of Biostatistics and of Genome Sciences at the University of Washington, and the Director of the University of Washington Interdisciplinary Faculty Group in Statistical Genetics (1999-2017).She remains Director of an Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate program in Statistical Genetics. She received her B.A. (1970) in mathematics and Ph.D. (1974) in mathematical statistics from Cambridge University, UK and then did postdoctoral work in the Department of Genetics, Stanford University, before taking up a position on the faculty of the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics, University of Cambridge in 1976. She served as a University Teaching Officer on the faculty from 1976 to 1985, while she also was a Fellow of Kings College Cambridge from 1975-81, and then Fellow and Director of Studies in Mathematics at Newnham College. She joined the faculty of the University of Washington in December 1985, as a professor of statistics, where she served as Chair 1989-1994, and again 2011-2014.

Dr. Thompson's research interest is in the development of methods for mode-based likelihood inference from genetic data, and particularly from data observed on large and complex pedigree structures. Questions of interest range from analyses of long-term gene frequency differentiation in widely dispersed populations, to short-term extinction of genes in the small population of a highly endangered species; from inference of genealogical relationships among individuals to inference of the genetic basis of traits from data observed on members of a known pedigree; and from analyses of patterns of genome sharing in plants to modern methods for human linkage analysis. In recent years, several of these questions have been addressed using Monte Carlo likelihood. She has held NSF grants in Population Biology (1987-90), Conservation Biology (1990-93) and Computational Biology (1993-97 and 1998-2002). Also in interdisciplinary development, she was a member of the Program in Mathematics and Molecular Biology (1994-2006), funded as a Burroughs Welcome Interfaces in Science program with the mission to recruit and train students from the mathematical sciences in cross-disciplinary work in mathematical molecular biology. At the University of Washington, she participated in interdisciplinary graduate programs in Quantitative Ecology & Resource Management, in Computational Molecular Biology, and in the Mathematical Biology Fellows program. However, her core research has been through an NIH award in the Genetic Epidemiology of Complex Traits. Initially funded in 1991, this award has been an R37 MERIT award since 2008, and ends only now in 2020.

Dr Thompson has served on the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Pacific Institute for Mathematical Sciences, the Banff International Research Station, and the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics and on the Board of Trustees of the National Institute for Statistical Science., and as a member of Council of the International Statistical Institute. She has also served on the National Research Council Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics, on the Committee to Review the Scientific Approaches used during the FBI's investigation of the 2001 Anthrax letters, and is a current member of the Board of Mathematical Sciences and Analytics. Her primary academic society affiliation has been to the International Biometric Society (IBS), first serving as a member of the British Region Committee in 1984-5. From 1997-1999, she served on the Executive Committee of West North American Region(WNAR) and was WNAR President in 1998. She was a member of the Council of the IBS, 2006-2013, and President 2016-2017.

Dr. Thompson is a recipient of a Doctor of Science degree from the University of Cambridge, the inaugural Jerome Sacks award for cross-disciplinary research from the National Institute for Statistical Science, the Weldon Prize for contributions to Biometric Science from Oxford University, UK, and of a Guggenheim fellowship. She is an honorary fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge, and an elected member of the International Statistical Institute, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the US National Academy of Sciences.

She has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2020.



Ozgur Yilmaz PIMS Deputy Director and Professor of Mathematics at the University of British Columbia

Ozgur Yilmaz

Özgür Yilmaz is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of British Columbia. His research focuses on the mathematics of information and data. He received his PhD in Applied and Computational Mathematics from Princeton University in 2001. He held a postdoctoral position at University of Maryland, College Park before joining UBC in 2004.

Dr. Yilmaz serves on the editorial boards of various journals including Applied and Computational Harmonic Analysis. He is affiliated with several institutes at UBC, including the Institute of Applied Mathematics, Data Science Institute, and CAIDA, and has served as the Deputy Director of the Banff International Research Station (BIRS) from 2019 - 2020. He has been involved with PIMS in many capacities, most recently as one of the leaders in the Collaborative Research Group (CRG) in High Dimensional Data Analysis.

He has been a member of the PIMS Board of Directors since 2021.