Mari Kawakatsu

Mari Kawakatsu

JSMF Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania


Thank you for visiting my website. I am a James S. McDonnell Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Biology at the University of Pennsylvania and an affiliate of the Penn Center for Mathematical Biology. My postdoctoral mentor is Joshua Plotkin.

I obtained my PhD in Applied and Computational Mathematics from Princeton University, where I was supervised by Simon Levin, Naomi Leonard, and Corina Tarnita. Prior to that, I completed my undergraduate studies in Physics and Sociology at Yale University.

My research focuses on the theoretical modeling of social evolution and self-organization in collective systems. I am especially interested in understanding how inter-individual differences and population structures influence and are influenced by collective dynamics. I use tools from evolutionary game theory, dynamical systems, and network science to explore topics including

  • the role of peer-to-peer gossip in cooperation;
  • the impact of stereotype use on indirect reciprocity;
  • cooperation and polarization in group-structured populations;
  • emergent hierarchies in adaptive networks; and
  • self-organized division of labor in ant colonies.

As a teacher and mentor, I strive to create inclusive learning environments in undergraduate classrooms and beyond. At Princeton, I served as a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning and as a Resident Graduate Student in First College (now New College West), one of the undergraduate residential colleges.

Since 2021, I have served as the Communications Secretary for the Women in Network Science (WiNS) Society, which aims to foster opportunities for the education, employment, and career advancement of women, trans, and non-binary scholars in network science. To learn more about our activities, please follow us on Twitter and check out our website.

A short CV is available here and a full CV is available here.

Please feel free to contact me at marikawa [at] sas [dot] upenn [dot] edu.


October 2023: I will be attending the Creative Convergence Workshop at Princeton University.

October 2023: I will be attending the Postdocs in Complexity Conference XI at the Santa Fe Institute.

September 2023: I attended the Penn-Meiji Workshop on Mathematical Biology.

May 2023: I attended the SIAM Conference on Applications of Dynamical Systems (DS23) in Portland, OR. Alice Schwarze, Heather Zinn Brooks, and I organized a minisymposium titled “Women in Network Science” on Sunday, May 14th.

March 2023: I attended the Postdocs in Complexity Conference X at the Santa Fe Institute.

March 2023: I attended the American Mathematical Society (AMS) 2023 Spring Southeastern Sectional Meeting at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

January 2023: I attended the Winter Workshop on Complex Systems (WWCS) 2023, hosted at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). I gave a talk as part of the Simulation-based Science (SbS) seminar series hosted by UvA’s Institute for Advanced Study.

October 2022: I attended the Postdocs in Complexity Conference IX at the Santa Fe Institute.

September 2022: I attended the Building Networks: Women in Complex & Nonlinear Systems workshop at the Banff International Research Station (BIRS).

July 2022: I gave a virtual talk at the SIAM Conference on the Life Sciences (LS22).

June 2022: I gave a virtual seminar at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in the Sciences and Humanities at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

April 2022: I gave a virtual talk as part of the Complex/Dynamical Systems Seminar in the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of Colorado Boulder.

April 2022: I attended the Postdocs in Complexity Conference VIII at the Santa Fe Institute.

March 2022: I gave a virtual talk at the AMS Spring Eastern Sectional Meeting.

January 2022: “Tuning cooperative behavior in games with nonlinear opinion dynamics” led by Shinkyu Park and co-authored with Anastasia Bizyaeva, Alessio Franci, Naomi Leonard is now published in IEEE Control Systems Letters!