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

Jayadev Athreya (ex-officio) PIMS Co-Director International 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.


Kristine Bauer (ex-officio) PIMS Co-Director Industrial and Professor of Mathematics at the University of Calgary

Kristine Bauer

Kristine is an associate professor in mathematics at the University of Calgary. She obtained her PhD from the University of Illinois in 2001. Her primary research area is algebraic topology and she is one of the founding members of the Women in Topology network, which seeks to increase the visibility and retention of women in the field by involving them in high-quality collaborative research projects. Kristine has been recognized with the Faculty of Science Excellence in Teaching Award and the GREAT Supervisor Award at the University of Calgary.



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.




Derek Bingham, Professor or Statistics and Actuarial Science, Simon Fraser University.

Derek Bingham is a Professor of Statistics and Actuarial Science at Simon Fraser University. He completed his PhD in Statistics in 1999 with Randy Sitter at SFU on the design and analysis of fractional factorial split-plot experiments. After graduating, he moved to the Department of Statistics at the University of Michigan as an Assistant Professor. In 2003, he joined the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science at Simon Fraser as the Canada Research Chair in Industrial Statistics. The focus of his current research is on developing statistical methods for combining physical observations with large-scale computer simulators. This includes new methodology for Bayesian computer model calibration, emulation, uncertainty quantification and experimental design. His work is generally motivated by real-world applications. His recent collaborations have been with scientists at USA national laboratories (Argonne National Lab and Los Alamos National Lab) and also USA Department of Energy sponsored projects (Center for Radiative Shock Hydrodynamics; Center for Exascale Radiation Transport).

Derek Bingham


Dan Coombs, Professor of Mathematics and Department Head, University of British Columbia

Dan Coombs is a Professor of Mathematics and the Head of the Mathematics Department at the University of British Columbia. He obtained his PhD in 2001 from the University of Arizona, held a postdoctoral position at Los Alamos National Laboratories (2001-2003), and joined UBC in 2003. Prof. Coombs works in the field of computational immunology, addressing a wide range of problems in viral disease dynamics and HIV modelling, and in the dynamics of receptors on cell surfaces. In particular, he and his co-workers have recently developed innovative single particle tracking algorithms that have enabled improved and insightful interpretation of experimental data from cell biology.

Dan Coombs





Denise Feighan (ex-officio), Chief Operating Officer, PIMS

Denise Feighan is the Chief Operations Officer for the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences. She has a BSc. in Biochemistry From the University of Calgary where she worked in various medical research labs. In 2003 she transferred with a neuroscience research lab from the University of Calgary to the UBC Brain Research Centre and became Lab Manager. She joined PIMS in 2011 as Manager of Finance and Administration and became PIMS Chief Operations Officer in 2018.

Denise Feighan






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




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




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




Jonathan C. Mattingly, James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and Statistical Science, Duke University

Jonathan Christopher Mattingly received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Princeton University in 1998. He spent 4 years as a Szego assistant professor at Stanford University and a year as a member of the IAS in Princeton, before moving to Duke in 2003, where he is currently a Professor of Mathematics and of Statistical Science. His expertise is in the longtime behavior of stochastic system including randomly forced fluid dynamics, turbulence, stochastic algorithms used in molecular dynamics and Bayesian sampling, and stochasticity in biochemical networks. Since 2013 he has also been working to understand and quantify gerrymandering and its interaction of a region's geopolitical landscape. This has lead him to testify in a number of court cases including in North Carolina, which led to the NC congressional and both NC legislative maps being deemed unconstitutional and replaced for the 2020 elections. He is the recipient of a Sloan Fellowship and a PECASE CAREER award. He is also a fellow of the IMS and the AMS. He was awarded the Defender of Freedom award by Common Cause for his work on Quantifying Gerrymandering.

Jonathan C. Mattingly




Rafe Mazzeo, Professor of Mathematics, Stanford University, Director - Park City Mathematics Institute

Rafe Mazzeo received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute for Technology in 1986. He worked as an instructor and assistant professor at Stanford University before moving to the University of Washington. He returned to Stanford as an Associate Professor in 1992 before becoming a Full professor in 1997, where he has also served as the Department Chair. His research interests include Linear and Nonlinear PDE (Geometric microlocal analysis and geometric scattering, Hodge and index theory, spectral geometry, curvature equations, etc.).

Rafe Mazzeo





Nilima Nigam, Professor of Mathematics, Simon Fraser University

Nilima Nigam is a Professor of Mathematics at Simon Fraser University. She received her Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the University of Delaware in 1999. Her research interests are in the areas of PDE and numerical analysis, with applications in computational electromagnetics and micromagnetics. Specifically, she works on the development and analysis of numerical methods for exterior scattering problems, including FEM and integral equation methods. She is also interested in the use of computational techniques in material science and biology.

Nilima Nigam





Stephanie Portet, Professor of Mathematics, University of Mantioba

Stephanie Portet is a Professor of Mathematics and the PIMS Site Director at the University of Manitoba. Her work is in the area of cellular biology, and more specifically, cytoskeletal networks. The organization of a cytoskeletal network is the main determinant of its cellular function. Prof. Portet's work involves a multidisciplinary approach encompassing different domains such as biophysics and mathematical biology. She is interested in models of the organization of networks and assembly of filaments composing those networks to characterize the determinants of their structures and mechanical properties. Deterministic and stochastic dynamical models are used; mathematical and computational analyses are conducted to characterize the transient and asymptotic behaviour of models. Her special interest is in the intermediate filament network.

Stephanie Portet




Rachel Ward, Associate Professor of Mathematics, University of Texas

Rachel Ward is the W.A. "Tex" Moncrief Distinguished Professor in Computational Engineering and Sciences — Data Science and Associate Professor of Mathematics at UT Austin. From 2017-2018, she was a visiting research scientist at Facebook AI Research. She is recognized for her contributions to sparse approximation, stochastic optimization, and numerical linear algebra. Prior to joining UT Austin in 2011, Dr. Ward received the PhD in Computational and Applied Mathematics at Princeton in 2009 and was a Courant Instructor at the Courant Institute, NYU, from 2009-2011. Among her awards are the Sloan research fellowship, NSF CAREER award, and the 2016 IMA prize in mathematics and its applications.

Rachel Ward



Ozgur Yilmaz (ex officio) PIMS 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.