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


Jason Bell is a Professor of Pure Mathematics and University Research Chair, University of Waterloo. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego in 2002 and held a postdoc at the University of Michigan from 2002–2005. He then held a position at Simon Fraser University before moving to the University of Waterloo in 2012. He was Editor-in-Chief of Communications in Algebra from 2016–2019 and has done work in many different areas of mathematics, including both complex and arithmetic dynamics, quantum algebras, Hopf algebras, Poisson algebras, graph theory, matroid theory, design theory, algebraic geometry, mathematical logic, theoretical computer science, the theory of difference and differential equations, algebraic combinatorics, and Diophantine approximation.




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.




Wilfrid Gangbo is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He received his PhD from Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland and was previously a faculty member at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was awarded the 2018-19 Chancellor’s Professorship in Mathematics at UC Berkeley, and he was the Fall 2018 Eisenbud Chair at MSRI. Dr. Gangbo’s research is in Nonlinear Analysis, Calculus of Variations, Partial Differential Equations and Fluid Mechanics. He is a founder of Founder of "EcoAfrica,” an association of scientists involved in several projects in support of African countries.

Wilfrid Gangbo




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




Alex Kontorovich is a Professor of Mathematics at Rutgers University. He received his BA from Princeton, followed by a PhD from Columbia. Before Rutgers, Kontorovich taught at Brown, Stony Brook, and Yale. In 2013, he received the American Mathematical Society's Levi Conant Prize for mathematical exposition. His research in number theory, geometry, and dynamics was recognized by an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, a Simons Foundation Fellowship, and a von Neumann Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. In 2017, Kontorovich became a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and was elected Fellow of the American Mathematical Society. He currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of Quanta Magazine, as Dean of Academic Content at the National Museum of Mathematics, and is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Experimental Mathematics.

Alex Kontorovich




Bryna Kra is the Sarah Rebecca Roland Professor of Mathematics at Northwestern University. She earned her doctorate from Stanford University and held positions at the University of Jerusalem in Israel, the Institute des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques in France, at the University of Michigan, the Ohio State University, and Pennsylvania State University, before joining the faculty at Northwestern University in 2004. She was awarded the Centennial Fellowship of the American Mathematical Society in 2006 and the Conant Prize of the American Mathematical Society in 2010, and was elected an inaugural fellow of the American Mathematical Society in 2012. In 2016, she became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2019 she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Kra works in ergodic theory and dynamical systems, particularly on problems motivated by combinatorics and number theory.

Marni Mishna




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



Denise Feighan, Chief Operating Officer, PIMS


Rachel Ward, Associate Professor of Mathematics, University of Texas


Brian Conrey, Executive Director, American Institute of Mathematics


Sara Billey, Professor of Mathematics, University of Washington



Robert Lipshitz, Professor of Mathematics, University of Oregon
Robert Lipshitz is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oregon. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2006, and then moved to Columbia University as an NSF Postdoc and then faculty member. He moved to the University of Oregon in Eugene in 2015. His research applies symplectic geometry, partial differential equations, homological algebra, and stable homotopy theory to study problems in low-dimensional topology.

Robert Lipshitz



Anthony Quas, Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Victoria and PIMS Site Director