Aktipis at 2017 New America discussion
|Education||Reed College – BA (psychology, 2002) University of Pennsylvania – MA (psychology, 2004) and PhD (psychology, 2008)|
|Employer||Arizona State University|
|Known for||Psychology, biology, cancer research|
Christina Athena Aktipis is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University. She is the director of the Interdisciplinary Cooperation Initiative and the co-director of the Human Generosity Project. She is also the director of the Cooperation and Conflict lab at Arizona State University, vice president of the International Society for Evolution, Ecology and Cancer (ISEEC), and was the director of human and social evolution and co-founder of the Center for Evolution and Cancer at UCSF. She is a cooperation theorist, an evolutionary biologist, an evolutionary psychologist, and a cancer biologist who works at the intersection of those fields. Aktipis is the author of the book published on March 24, 2020 from Princeton University Press The Cheating Cell: How Evolution Helps us Understand and Treat Cancer. Athena recently launched the second season of Zombified, a podcast created to communicate the science of zombification in daily life. Zombified is an extension of the Zombie Apocalypse Medicine Meeting (ZAMM), a biannual conference chaired by Aktipis. ZAMM is an interdisciplinary conference where art, science and medicine come together with the aim of solving complex issues.
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Aktipis earned a B.A. in psychology from Reed College in 2002. She earned an M.A. in 2004 and a Ph.D. in 2008 in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2011, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in ecology and evolutionary biology with John Pepper at the University of Arizona. Between 2011 and 2014, Aktipis was an assistant research professor in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University, while also serving as director of human and social evolution at the Center for Evolution and Cancer, at University of California San Francisco. During 2013–2014, Aktipis was a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study, Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin. Upon her return to the United States, Aktipis and her colleague Lee Cronk, a professor in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University, co-founded The Human Generosity Project. Since 2015, Aktipis holds an appointment as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University.
Interdisciplinary Cooperation Initiative
The ASU Interdisciplinary Cooperation Initiative brings together scholars from across the disciplines who are joined by a shared interest in understanding the fundamental principles that drive cooperation. It holds workshops and working group meetings with faculty in and outside of ASU, organizes a biannual Cooperation and Conflict Symposium, and the Interdisciplinary Study of Cooperation Winter School taught by world-renowned cooperation researchers. In addition to supporting the interdisciplinary study of cooperation, it also supports broader ventures to cultivate cooperation among the disciplines.
The Human Generosity Project
A large focus of Aktipis' work is cooperation in humans, focusing especially on helping behavior that occurs in times of need. Aktipis co-directs the Human Generosity Project with Dr. Lee Cronk of Rutgers University. Together with the team, Drs. Aktipis and Cronk study the relationship between biological and cultural influences on human generosity by using multiple methodologies such as field work, laboratory experiments, and computational models.
Microbiome and human behavior
Microbes have access to many systems underlying human behavior. In her lab, Aktipis and colleagues explore how the microbiome may play a role in eating behavior and social behaviors.
Kombucha is a popular drink made by the fermentation of tea by symbiotic bacteria and yeast. Aktipis uses this beverage to explore microbial resource exchange and to determine whether the kombucha symbiosis is able to fight off pathogens that single species of microbes cannot.
Cancer and multicellular cooperation
Multicellular bodies are societies of cells that must cooperate and coordinate to contribute to organism fitness. Cancer represents a breakdown of multicellular cooperation. Aktipis examines cancer through this lens, using evolutionary theory, computational modeling, and clinical collaborations. Aktipi's most recent work on cancer is through the Arizona Cancer and Evolution Center, where she co-leads Project 1: Organismal Evolution and Cancer Defenses and the Outreach Unit.
Aktipis created an educational podcast about how we are vulnerable to be controlled by things and what that means for our future. It features interviews with ASU Psychology Department faculty, other ASU faculty and scholars from outside of ASU talking about forces beyond our control that affect our behavior. It covers diverse disciplines including evolutionary biology, psychology, parasitology, microbiology, computer science and more.
- May, A., Narayanan, S., Joe Alcock, J., Arvind Varsani, A., Maley, C. & Aktipis, A. (2019). "Kombucha: A novel model system for cooperation and conflict in a complex multi-species microbial ecosystem". PeerJ. 7: e7565. doi:10.7717/peerj.7565. PMC 6730531. PMID 31534844.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Aktipis, A., Cronk, L., Alcock, J., Ayers, J.D., Baciu, C., Balliet, D., Boddy, A.M., Curry, O.S., Krems, J.A., Muñoz, A., Sullivan, D., Sznycer, D., Wilkinson, G.S. & Winfrey, P. (2018). "Understanding cooperation through fitness interdependence" (PDF). Nature Human Behaviour. 2 (7): 429–431. doi:10.1038/s41562-018-0378-4. PMID 31097813. S2CID 49667807.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Aktipis, A. (2016). "From human sharing to multicellularity and cancer". Evolutionary Applications. 9 (1): 17–36. doi:10.1111/eva.12303. PMC 4780378. PMID 27087837.
- Wasielewski, H., Alcock, J., & Aktipis, A. (2016). "Resource conflict and cooperation between human host and gut microbiota: implications for nutrition and health". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1372 (1): 20–28. Bibcode:2016NYASA1372...20W. doi:10.1111/nyas.13118. PMID 27270755.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Aktipis, A., De Aguiar, R., Flaherty, A., Iyer, P., Sonkoi, D., & Cronk, L. (2016). "Cooperation in an uncertain world: for the Maasai of East Africa, need-based transfers outperform account-keeping in volatile environments". Human Ecology. 44 (3): 353–364. doi:10.1007/s10745-016-9823-z. PMC 4937096. PMID 27445430.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Aktipis, C. A., Boddy, A. M., Jansen, G., Hibner, U., Hochberg, M. E., Maley, C. C., & Wilkinson, G. S. (2015). "Cancer across the tree of life: cooperation and cheating in multicellularity". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 370 (1673): 20140219. doi:10.1098/rstb.2014.0219. PMC 4581024. PMID 26056363.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Boddy, A. M., Fortunato, A., Wilson Sayres, M., & Aktipis, A. (2015). "Fetal microchimerism and maternal health: A review and evolutionary analysis of cooperation and conflict beyond the womb". BioEssays. 37 (10): 1106–1118. doi:10.1002/bies.201500059. PMC 4712643. PMID 26316378.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Aktipis, C. A. (2011). "Is cooperation viable in mobile organisms? Simple Walk Away rule favors the evolution of cooperation in groups". Evolution and Human Behavior. 32 (4): 263–276. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2011.01.002. PMC 3110732. PMID 21666771.
- Aktipis, C. A. (2004). "Know when to walk away: contingent movement and the evolution of cooperation". Journal of Theoretical Biology. 231 (2): 249–260. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2004.06.020. PMID 15380389.
- "The Evolutionary Biology of Zombification", Center for Evolution and Medicine, Arizona State University, 2019
- "Why Cancer Is Everywhere", Harvard Museums of Science and Culture, 2018
- "Do You Believe in Generosity", TEDxASU, 2016
- "The Science of Sharing", The Exploratorium Museum, San Francisco, 2015
- "Why Do We Get Cancer?", Institute for Advanced Study, Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin, 2014
Between 2011 and 2019, Aktipis organized five bi-annual conferences of the International Society for Evolution, Ecology and Cancer.
Aktipis is the founder of the Zombie Apocalypse Medicine Alliance and the conference chair of the Zombie Apocalypse Medicine Meeting, which debuted with its first meeting on October 18–21, 2018 and is scheduled to take place again October 15–18, 2020.
- "Athena Aktipis | The Biodesign Institute | ASU". Archived from the original on 2017-08-21.
- "Cancer and the transformation of life: An Interview with Athena Aktipis – The Evolution Institute". 2016-01-08. Archived from the original on 2018-05-14.
- "The Cheating Cell: How Evolution Helps Us Understand and Treat Cancer".
- "Interdisciplinary Cooperation Initiative (ICI)".
- "The Human Generosity Project". Archived from the original on 2018-05-12.
- Zimmer, Carl (2014-08-14). "Our Microbiome May Be Looking Out for Itself". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12.
- "What is Kombucha". Archived from the original on 2018-06-12.
- Johnson, George (2015-07-27). "Cellular 'Cheaters' Give Rise to Cancer". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12.
- "Arizona Cancer and Evolution Center". Archived from the original on 2018-08-15.
- "Zombified Podcast".
- Official website
- Profile on Google Scholar
- https://cancer-insights.asu.edu/about-ace/ Arizona Cancer and Evolution Center
- http://cancer.ucsf.edu/evolution Center for Evolution and Cancer at UCSF
- http://www.humangenerosity.org/ The Human Generosity Project
- http://www.aktipislab.org/ Cooperation and Conflict Lab
- http://www.zombiemed.org/ Zombie Apocalypse Medicine Meeting
- https://www.zombified.org/ Zombified Podcast
- https://cooperation.asu.edu/ Interdisciplinary Cooperation Initiative