Professor Athena Aktipis is a cooperation theorist, evolutionary biologist and cancer biologist working at the intersection of these fields. As well as researching cooperation in humans, particularly in times of need, she studies other systems that are governed by fundamental tensions between cooperation and conflict. She is the co-founder and incoming president of the International Society for Evolution, Ecology and Cancer.
Aktipis is prolific science communicator, with writing credits including Scientific American, Slate Magazine and the Conversation. She is also the host of The Zombified Podcast, an educational exploration of how we are vulnerable to being “hijacked” by everything from parasites to monstrous algorithms, and the producer of two educational livestream channels: Channel Zed and Cooperation Science Network. Her most recent book is The Cheating Cell: How Evolution Helps Us Understand and Treat Cancer.
Aktipis is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University and co-Director of The Human Generosity Project, which looks at food sharing, resource transfers, shared work and other forms of cooperation in order to apply these principles to practical problems, including resource management and disaster recovery. She runs the Cooperation and Conflict lab in Arizona and spends part of the year in Greece. You can hear her speaking about her research for TEDxASU here.