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


Sara Billey Professor of Mathematics and John Rainwater Faculty Fellow, University of Washington. Received her Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego in 1994 supported by the National Physical Science Consortium Fellowship, 1990-1994. She held an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship and UC Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship, before joining the Department of Applied Mathematics at MIT in 1998. While at MIT, she received the NSF CAREER Award, 2000-2006 and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers under the Clinton administration. She joined the faculty at the University of Washington in 2003. She is an inaugural fellow of the American Mathematical Society and received the Bergstrom Award for Art and Science 2018 with collaborator Timea Tihanyi. Her research interests include algebraic combinatorics, Lie theory, computational algebraic geometry, probability, experimental mathematics, complexity theory, fingerprint databases, discrete geometry and mathematical machine learning algorithms.




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



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




Marni Mishna is a Professor of Mathematics at Simon Fraser University and serves as Deputy Director of the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences. Originally from Edmonton, Marni successively obtained degrees in pure mathematics from the University of Waterloo, Simon Fraser University and the Université du Québec à Montréal. She held an NSERC Postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Bordeaux and the Fields Institute in Toronto before returning to Simon Fraser as faculty in 2005. Her distinctions include an NSERC University Faculty Award, and numerous invited positions in France. She has served on the NSERC Scholarships and Fellowships committee
Marni is an expert in combinatorics. Her research investigates interactions between discrete structures and many diverse areas such as representation theory, functional equations, and algebraic geometry. Her specialty is the development of analytic tools to study the large-scale behaviour of discrete objects. She is a leader within the international combinatorics community, and has organized several major conferences, workshops and schools.

Marni Mishna




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



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