Lloyd Demetrius

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Lloyd Demetrius
Residence United States and Germany
Fields Mathematician and theoretical biologist
Institutions Max Planck Institute
Harvard University
Alma mater University of Cambridge
University of Chicago
Known for Evolutionary entropy
Models of longevity
Notable awards Guggenheim Fellowship (1979)

Lloyd A. Demetrius is a mathematician and theoretical biologist at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics at Berlin, Germany, and the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary biology, Harvard University. He is best known for the discovery of the concept, evolutionary entropy, a statistical parameter that characterizes Darwinian fitness in models of evolutionary processes at various levels of biological organization - molecular, organismic and cultural. Evolutionary entropy, an analogue of the Gibbs entropy in statistical physics, is the cornerstone of directionality theory, an analytical study of evolution by variation and selection. The theory has applications to: a) the development of aging and the evolution of longevity; b)the origin and progression of age related diseases such as cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease; c) the evolution of cooperation and the spread of inequality.


Born in Jamaica, he carried out his undergraduate studies in mathematics at the University of Cambridge, UK. He received his PhD in mathematical biology, from the University of Chicago and was then a postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley.


Demetrius was a faculty member in a number of mathematics departments in the USA: University of California, Berkeley; Brown University, and Rutgers University (1971–1979); and a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen (1980–1989). Since 1990, he has been with the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, first as a visiting professor (1990–1992), and then as an associate in population genetics. He has held visiting professorships at MIT, University of Paris, and was an occupant of a Chaire Municipale, a distinguished visiting professorship at the University of Grenoble. His research includes the application of ergodic theory and the theory of dynamical systems to the study of evolutionary processes in biological and socio- economic systems .He has also pioneered the application of the methodology of Quantum Mechanics to the study of allometric relations between metabolic rate and generation time in cells . This work is the mathematical basis for the analysis of cancer and neurodegenerative disorders as metabolic and bioenergetic diseases.

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