Athena Aktipis researches cooperation and conflict in biological systems including cancer evolution and the human microbiome.
She is a cooperation theorist, social psychologist, theoretical evolutionary biologist, and cancer biologist who now works at the intersection of these fields. In 2019, Aktipis started a podcast called “Zombified” that is an educational exploration of how we are vulnerable to being “hijacked” by everything from parasites to monstrous algorithms. In 2020, Aktipis published the critically acclaimed book, The Cheating Cell: How evolution helps us understand and treat cancer.
Aktipis is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology and co-director of the Human Generosity Project, the first large-scale transdisciplinary project to investigate the interrelationship between biological and cultural influences on human generosity.
She's also the co-founder and director of Human and Social Evolution at the Center for Evolution and Cancer at the University of California, San Francisco.