Mari Kawakatsu

Mari Kawakatsu

JSMF Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania


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 completed my PhD in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Princeton University, where I was fortunate to be advised by Simon Levin, Naomi Leonard, and Corina Tarnita. Prior to that, I completed my bachelor’s degree in Physics and Sociology at Yale University. I was born in Japan, grew up in Tokyo, and went to high school just outside of New York City and in northeast Italy.

As a mathematical biologist and an applied mathematician, I use tools from evolutionary game theory, dynamical systems, and network science to explore mathematical and computational models of collective and emergent behavior in social systems. I am especially interested in understanding how inter-individual differences and population structures influence and are influenced by collective dynamics. My recent projects have focused on self-organized division of labor in ant colonies, hierarchies in adaptive networks, and cooperation and polarization in group-structured populations, among others.

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


January 2023: I will be at the Joint Mathematics Meetings (JMM) 2023 in Boston, MA.

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

September 2022: I will be at 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!

December 2021: “Interindividual cooperation mediated by partisanship complicates Madison’s cure for ‘mischiefs of faction’” with Yphtach Lelkes, Simon Levin, and Corina Tarnita is now published in PNAS!

December 2021: I gave a virtual talk at Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS) Winter Meeting.

August 2021: Phil Chodrow, Nicole Eikmeier, Dan Larremore and I published an article in SIAM News. Check it out!

March 2021: I am serving as the Communications Secretary for the Women in Network Science (WiNS) Society for 2021–2022. Follow us on Twitter, and please feel free to reach out to me with any questions about WiNS!