UBC zoologist named fellow of the Royal Society UK

May 16, 2024

Dr. Sally Otto
Dr. Sally Otto

Dr. Sally Otto—a theoretical biologist focused on fundamental questions of population genetics and evolution—has been elected to the Fellowship of the United Kingdoms Royal Society. She joins 12 other UBC Science fellows elected to the society over the past decades.

A highly acclaimed scientist, Dr. Otto received the coveted MacArthur Fellowship in 2011—popularly known as the Genius Award—among many other honours. Her research focus is a multi-pronged approach of population-genetic mathematical models and statistical tools to understand how evolutionary processes have generated the wondrous diversity of biological features observed in the natural world.

This new cohort have already made significant contributions to our understanding of the world around us and continue to push the boundaries of possibility in academic research and industry,” said Sir Adrian Smith, president of the Royal Society. 

From visualising the sharp rise in global temperatures since the industrial revolution to leading the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, their diverse range of expertise is furthering human understanding and helping to address some of our greatest challenges.

Sally amazes and inspires us all,” said internationally renowned evolutionary biologist and UBC colleague Dr. Dolph Schluter. Her fellowship recognizes out loud her monumental contributions to theory and experimental research in evolutionary biology.”

Dr. Otto—appointed to UBC Zoology and the Biodiversity Research Centre—developed the mathematical foundation for the leading theory on the evolution of sexual reproduction in nature. She is the world authority on a wide range of theoretical topics in evolution and has written the standard textbook on mathematical methods for ecology and evolutionary biology.

She is a co-leader of the B.C. COVID-19 Modelling Group, an interdisciplinary research team that works on rapid response modelling of the virus. Dr. Ottos research has resulted in 200 publications and a book, with more than 25,000 citations.

  • Biodiversity
  • Zoology

Musqueam First Nation land acknowledegement

UBC Science acknowledges that the UBC Point Grey campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm.

Learn more: Musqueam First Nation

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