Dr. Michael Cortez, a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Joshua Weitz's Lab in the School of Biology, has received a Mathematical Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (MSPRF) from the National Science Foundation (NSF). This fellowship is an award of $150,000 over two years that supports Dr. Cortez's research in the fields of mathematics and theoretical biology. Postdoctoral research fellowships are prestigious awards that according to the NSF, "provide increased flexibility for fellows in choosing postdoctoral environments that have maximal impact on their future scientific development." Dr. Cortez's proposed research focuses on developing theory to understand the population dynamics that arise in predator-prey systems where both the predator and the prey populations are evolving.
In addition, Dr. Cortez recently received the 2011 prize for an outstanding paper in ecology theory from the Theoretical Section of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) for his paper "Comparing the qualitatively different effects of rapidly evolving and rapidly induced defences have on predator-prey interactions" published in the journal Ecology Letters. That work focused on understanding how defence evolution and defence induction in response to predation have different effects on the population dynamics of predator-prey systems.