Scientific Review Panel

The scientific activities of the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences are reviewed by an arm's-length Scientific Review Panel (SRP) of experts from various fields of the mathematical sciences. The SRP meets once a year to make recommendations to the Board on the selection of upcoming scientific activities.


Current SRP Members


David Aldous Professor of Statistics, University of California at Berkeley. David Aldous is Professor in the Statistics Dept at U.C. Berkeley, since 1979. He received his Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1977. He is the author of "Probability Approximations via the Poisson Clumping Heuristic" and (with Jim Fill) of a notorious unfinished online work "Reversible Markov Chains and Random Walks on Graphs". His research in mathematical probability has covered weak convergence, exchangeability, Markov chain mixing times, continuum random trees, stochastic coalescence and spatial random networks. A central theme has been the study of large finite random structures, obtaining asymptotic behavior as the size tends to infinity via consideration of some suitable infinite random structure. He was founding editor of the journal "Probability Surveys". He has recently become interested in articulating critically what mathematical probability says about the real world. Aldous is a Fellow of the Royal Society, and a foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

David Aldous




Martin Barlow Martin Barlow is a leading figure in probability and an expert in diffusion on fractals and other disordered media. His work has been important in such diverse fields as partial differential equations, including major progress on the De Giorgi conjecture, stochastic differential equations, the mathematical finance of electricity pricing, filtration enlargement and branching measure diffusions.

Martin Barlow

Barlow's awards include the CRM-Fields-PIMS Prize, the Jeffery-Williams Prize of the Canadian Mathematical Society, the Rollo Davidson Prize from Cambridge University and the Junior Whitehead Prize from the London Mathematical Society. He has been a leader of the international probability community, an organizer of numerous conferences and editor of several probability journals. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, The Royal Society of Canada, The Royal Society(London) and the American Mathematical Society.


Liliana Borcea Professor of Mathematics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, received her PhD in Scientific Computing and Computational Mathematics at Stanford University, in 1996. From 1996-1997 she was an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Applied Mathematics at California Institute of Technology, and between 1997-2013 she was in the Computational and Applied Mathematics department at Rice University. She moved to University of Michigan in 2013. Her research interests are in stochastic methods with application to wave propagation and imaging in random media, in inverse problems and in the multi-scale analysis of diffusion in high contrast media. Examples of applications are in underwater acoustics, electromagnetic wave propagation and imaging in the atmosphere, groundwater flow, solute transport and controlled source electromagnetic oil and gas exploration. She is a member of the SIAM council (2014-2017). She served as the chair of the SIAM Imaging Science activity group 2010-2011 and is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Academy of Finland, for the Center of Excellence in Inverse Problems Research, 2012-2017. She is on the editorial boards of the SIAM Journal on Multiscale Modeling and Simulations, the SIAM Journal on Uncertainty Quantification and on the international advisory panel of the journal Inverse Problems.

Liliana Borcea



James Colliander PIMS Director, Professor of Mathematics at University of British Columbia, Graduated from Macalester College in 1989. He worked for two years at the United States Naval Research Laboratory on fiber optic sensors and then went to graduate school to study mathematics receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in 1997 under Jean Bourgain. Colliander was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley and spent semesters at the University of Chicago, the Institute for Advanced Study and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. His research mostly addresses dynamical aspects of solutions of Hamiltonian partial differential equations, especially non-linear Schrödinger equation. He is also the Founder/CEO of an education technology company called Crowdmark, a collaborative grading and analytics platform.

James Colliander

Yakov Eliashberg Herald L and Caroline L Ritch Professor at Stanford University Has research interests in symplectic and contact geometry, several complex variables, singularity theory and low-dimensional topology. He is one of the founders of symplectic topology, a new and active area of research which emerged in 1980s and found important applications in other areas of mathematics and theoretical physics.


Professor Eliashberg was born in 1946 in Leningrad (now St Petersburg), Russia. He received his doctoral degree in Leningrad University in 1972 under the direction of V A Rokhlin, and in the same year he joined Syktyvkar University in northern Soviet Union as an Associate Professor. In 1988 he emigrated to the United States and in 1989 became a Professor at Stanford University. He is a Member of US National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1995, was awarded the Oswald Veblen Prize from the American Mathematical Society in 2001, awarded the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa at the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France, in 2009 and in in 2013 received the Heinz Hopf Prize from the ETH, Zurich, Switzerland.

Philip Holmes Eugene Higgins Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and Applied and Computational Mathematics has been at Princeton since 1994. He directed the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics until 1997, and again in 2010-11.

Phillip Holmes

Dr. Holmes is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics and of the American Mathematical Society. He has held various positions including Director of the Center for Applied Mathematics at Cornell (81-86); Chaire Aisenstadt at the Centre de Recherches Mathematiques, Universite de Montreal (85-86); Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholar at the California Institute of Technology (88-89). In 2001 he was elected an Honorary Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Holmes is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics and of the American Mathematical Society. He has held various positions including Director of the Center for Applied Mathematics at Cornell (81-86); Chaire Aisenstadt at the Centre de Recherches Mathematiques, Universite de Montreal (85-86); Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholar at the California Institute of Technology (88-89). In 2001 he was elected an Honorary Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.


Niky Kamran James McGill Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at McGill University received his licence en sciences mathematiques from the Universite Libre de Bruxelles in 1980 and his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Waterloo in 1984, where he was the Ph.D. gold medalist. He was the first recipient of the Andre Aisenstadt Prize in 1991 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2002. From 2006 to 2008, he held a Killam Research Fellowship awarded by the Canada Council for the Arts. His research interests are in differential geometry, partial differential equations and mathematical physics.




Sándor Kovács Craig McKibben and Sarah Merner Endowed Professor of Mathematics at the University of Washington, received his Ph.D. in 1995 at the University of Utah under the direction of János Kollár. After being a C.L.E. Moore Instructor at M.I.T., and an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago he joined the faculty of the University of Washington in 2000. Dr. Kovács has held visiting positions at the Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Kyoto (Japan), the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley (California), the Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest (Hungary), the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton (New Jersey), and the Instituto Nacional de Matemática Pura e Aplicada in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Dr. Kovács's research is in higher dimensional algebraic geometry, he is especially interested in questions related to moduli theory, singularities and vanishing theorems for cohomology groups. He received the Rényi Kató Prize of the Bolyai János Mathematical Society (Hungary) and has been the recipient of an AMS Centennial Research Fellowship, an NSF CAREER award, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, and a Simons Fellowship.

Sandor Kovacs




Mark Lewis Canada Research Chair in Mathematical Biology, Killam Research Fellowship holder, Director of the Centre for Mathematical Biology at the University of Alberta received his BSc from the University of Victoria in 1987 and D. Phil from Oxford in 1990. After a postdoc at the University of Washington he joined faculty at the University of Utah in 1992 before moving to the University of Alberta in 2001. He has held visiting positions at Imperial College, Princeton, Minnesota, and Oxford. His research involves mathematical modeling of biological processes, involving interplay of science and mathematics, where ideas from each lead to advances in the other. Professor Lewis's work develops techniques in stochastic processes, dynamical systems and partial differential equations and has led to significant advances, for example, in modeling territorial pattern formation in wolf populations, predicting population spread in biological invasions like the West Nile virus, and assessing the effect of habitat fragmentation on species survival. Research prizes include the Canadian Applied and Industrial Mathematics Society Research Prize and the CRM-Fields-PIMS Prize for Exceptional Research in Mathematics.

Mark Lewis




Douglas Nychka Director of the Institute for Mathematics Applied to Geosciences, National Center for Atmospheric Research. Douglas Nychka is a statistical scientist with an interest in the problems posed by geophysical data sets or, more generally, by substantive problems in science and engineering. His current interests are in quantifying the uncertainty of numerical experiments that simulate the Earth's present and possible future climate. His statistical expertise is in spline and spatial statistical methods especially as they are applied to large geophysical data sets and numerical models. He has a Ph. D. in Statistics (1983) from the University of Wisconsin and he subsequently spent 14 years as a faculty member at North Carolina State University. He assumed leadership of the Geophysical Statistics Project at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in 1997, a program funded by the National Science Foundation to develop collaborative research and training between statistics and the geosciences. In 2004 he became Director of the Institute of Mathematics Applied to Geosciences (IMAGe). IMAGe is an interdisciplinary component of NCAR with a focus on transferring innovative mathematical models and tools to the geosciences. He has received the Jerry Sacks Award for Multidisciplinary Research (2004), the Distinguished Achievement Award Section on Statistics in the Environment (2013), the Achievement Award for the International Statistics and Climatology Meeting (2013). He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics.

Doug Nychka



Raman Parimala, Arts & Sciences Distinguished Professor at Emory University, Atlanta received her Master's degree at Stella Maris College, Chennai and her Ph. D. degree in 1976, at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. She was a Professor at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research before she moved to Emory Univeristy. She has held visiting positions at several institutions including the MSRI, Berkeley, EPFL, Lausanne, ETH, Zurich and Université Paris-Sud, Orsay.


Dr. Parimala has given a number of special addresses including the Coxeter lectures at the Fields Institute, Toronto in May 2013; Noether lecture of the AWM, at the joint AMS-MAA national meeting at San Diego, January 2013 and the Bernoulli Lecture at EPFL Lausanne, December, 2012. She also gave a plenary lecture at the International Congress of Mathematicians, Hyderabad, 2010 and a sectional invited address at the International Congress of Mathematicians, Zurich, 1994.

Dr. Parimala is on the editorial boards of a number of Mathematics Journals and is currently the editor in chief of the Journal of the Ramanujan Mathematical Society. Her research interests include quadratic forms, Brauer groups, algebraic groups and homogeneous spaces.



Alexander Razborov, Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Service Professor in Computer Science, University of Chicago. Alexander Razborov received his B.Sc in mathematics from Moscow State University and PhD from the Steklov Mathematical Institute (advisor: S. Adian). Currently he is an Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Service Professor at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Chicago, with part-time appointments at Steklov Mathematical Institute and Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago. Dr. Razborov's research interests span several areas in Theoretical Computer Science, including computational complexity, proof complexity, quantum computing and computational complexity, as well as related mathematical areas, notably Discrete Mathematics and Combinatorial Group Theory. He received the Rolf Nevanlinna Prize in 1990, the Godel Prize in 2007 and the David P. Robbins Prize in 2013. Dr. Razborov is a member of the Academia Europea (since 1993) and a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (since 2000).

Alexander Razborov



Michael J. Shelley, Lilian and George Lyttle Professor of Applied Mathematics, Professor of Mathematics and Neural Science, Co-Director, Applied Mathematics Laboratory. Michael J. Shelley is an American applied mathematician who works on the modeling and simulation of complex systems arising in physics and biology. This has included free-boundary problems in fluids and materials science, singularity formation in partial differential equations, modeling visual perception in the primary visual cortex, dynamics of complex and active fluids, cellular biophysics, and fluid-structure interaction problems such as the flapping of flags, stream-lining in nature, and flapping flight. He is also the co-founder and co-director of the Courant Institute's Applied Mathematics Lab.

Michael J. Shelley

Shelley was born in La Junta, Colorado (USA). He holds a BA in Mathematics from the University of Colorado (1981) and a PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Arizona (1985). He was a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University, and then joined the faculty of mathematics at the University of Chicago. In 1992 he joined the Courant Institute of Mathematics at New York University where he is the George and Lilian Lyttle Professor of Applied Mathematics. He is also a Professor of Neuroscience (NYU) and Professor of Mechanical Engineering (NYU-Poly). Recent honors include Distinguished Chair of the Pacific Institute of Mathematical Sciences(2001), Elected Fellow of the American Physical Society (2007) and the Inaugural Fellow of the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (2009)

Kannan Soundararajan, Professor of Mathematics and Director of the Mathematics Research Center (MRC) at Stanford University. Soundararajan received his BS degree from the University of Michigan, and his Ph.D, supervised by Peter Sarnak, from Princeton University in 1998. After postdoctoral positions at Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study, he was on the faculty of the University of Michigan, before moving to Stanford University in 2006. His main research interests lie in number theory, and in particular in multiplicative number theory and L-functions, but he is broadly interested in many problems in number theory, combinatorics, probability and analysis.


Soundararajan has received the Salem Prize, the SASTRA Ramanujan Prize, the Ostrowski Prize, the Infosys Prize, and a Simons Investigator Award. He gave an invited lecture at the ICM in 2010.

Jun-cheng Wei, Canada Research Chair (Tier I), University of British Columbia received his PhD from University of Minnesota in 1994. He was a postdoctoral fellow at SISSA (Trieste, Italy) from 1994 to 1995. In 1995 he joined the department of mathematics at Chinese University of Hong Kong where he held the Wei Lun Chair Professor from 2011 to 2013. He then moved to University of British Columbia in 2013 as a CRC in Nonlinear Partial Differential Equation. He has published extensively and his research covers both pure and applied mathematics, ranging from De Giorgi and Liouville type properties of nonlinear partial differential equations, concentration phenomena, nonlinear analysis, geometric scalar curvature problems, to reaction-diffusion systems, diblock and triblock copolymer problems, phase-transitions in material sciences and pattern formation in mathematical biology. He is an Invited Speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians, Korea, 2014, a plenary speaker at the International Congress of Chinese Mathematicians, Beijing, 2010, and a Senior Croucher Fellow in 2005.

Jungchen Wei