Fellow: Awarded 2008
Field of Study: Organismic Biology & Ecology
Competition: US & Canada
Born in Moscow, Russia, Sergey Gavrilets earned a B.S. degree in physics (1982) and a Ph.D. in physics and mathematics (1987) at the Moscow State University. He then worked for four years as a researcher at the N. I Vavilov Institute of General Genetics of the Soviet Academy of Sciences in Moscow, before taking up postdoctoral positions at INRA Toulouse, France (1991-92), and the University of California, Davis (1992-95). At UC Davis, he first became interested in fitness landscapes and speciation modeling, which have been the focus of his subsequent researches. He joined the faculty of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1995, and is currently a Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology and Mathematics there.
Mr. Gavrilets has been a visiting professor at the Ecole Normale Superieure and Laboratoire d'Ecologie at the Universite P. et M. Curie in Paris; the Institute of Evolutionary and Biochemical Genetics in Pavia, Italy; the Department of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands; and the Center for the Study of Evolution at the University of Sussex, U.K.; among other institutions, and an Invited Fellow for Research in Japan, at the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
His book Fitness Landscapes and the Origin of Species was published in 2004 by the Princeton University Press in its Monographs in Population Biology series. Among his other publications are "A dynamical theory of speication on holey adaptive landscapes," American Naturalist, 154 (1999), 1-22, which received the President's Award of the American Society of Naturalists; "Rapid evolution of reproductive barriers driven by sexual conflict," Nature, 403 (2000), 886-889; "Models of speciation: What have we learned in 40 years?" Evolution, 57 (2003), 2197-2215; and, with A. Vose, "The dynamics of Machiavellian intelligence," Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA, 103 (2005), 16823-16828. During his Guggenheim Fellowship term, he is studying the social brain hypothesis: coevolution of genes, memes, and social networks.