Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SocialBrain (Brain growth under social pressure: mathematical modelling of brain growth when individuals face social challenges)
Reporting period: 2016-10-01 to 2018-09-30
- González-Forero M, Gardner A. (2018) Inference of ecological and social drivers of human brain-size evolution. Nature 557, 554-557.
- González-Forero M. (2018) At Nature Ecology and Evolution Community: https://natureecoevocommunity.nature.com/users/92985-mauricio-gonzalez-forero/posts/33491-the-human-brain-from-ecology-and-seemingly-culture
- González-Forero M. (2018) At The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/why-do-humans-have-such-large-brains-our-study-suggests-ecology-was-thedriving-force-96873
- Mean Field Games, Sapienza University (2017).
- Numerical Methods for Optimal Control Problems, Sapienza University (2017).
- Have been actively mentored by my host PI, Andy Gardner, in publishing in the highest impact journals, writing applications for fellowships and grants, and promoting my work.
2-way transfer of knowledge to the host institution:
- Have given multiple talks in the University, exposing local researchers to cutting edge mathematical modelling techniques.
- Have engaged with members of the University, which has led to two new possible future collaborations.
Conference talks given:
- The Institute of Behavioural and Neural Sciences Mini Symposium in St Andrews (2016).
- The European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association Conference in Paris (2017).
- The Models in Population Dynamics, Ecology, and Evolution Conference in Leicester (2018).
Other dissemination activities:
Invited talks given:
- Centre for Biological Diversity, University of St Andrews (2016).
- Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge (2017).
- Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (2017).
- Stochastic Models for the Inference of Life Evolution group, Collège de France (2018).
- Department of Anthropology, Durham University (2019).
- Upcoming: School of Mathematics, University of St Andrews (2019).
- Actively promoted my work online via my website (mgforero.info) and twitter account (@MauricioGForero).
Selected media coverage:
- Discover Magazine: http://discovermagazine.com/2019/jan/human-origins
- Associated Press: https://apnews.com/7fe4e81cbb114ee2adf42c6e49f19b45
- LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-human-brain-evolution-20180523-story.html
- Vox: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/5/23/17377200/human-brain-size-evolution-nature
- New Scientist: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2169862-we-may-have-got-the-evolution-of-our-big-brains-entirely-wrong/
- TBS eFM Radio: http://cdn.podbbang.com/data1/tbsadm/thism180529002.mp3
- Co-organizer with P. Avila, of the University of Lausanne, of the symposium “Life history evolution: bridging theory and data” at the Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) in Turku, Finland, 2019.
- Visited R. Dunbar at Oxford University (December 2018). Dunbar is the main proponent of the dominant hypothesis to explain brain evolution, which my results refute. My visit sought to identify Dunbar’s concerns on my work, which he referred to as very promising.
- Was invited to contribute a paper to the collection “Links between cognition and fitness” in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.
Next career steps:
Applications submitted for PI status funding at St Andrews:
- Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship (2017 call). Advanced to review but subsequently rejected.
- BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship (2018 call). Advanced to review but subsequently rejected.
- Royal Society University Research Fellowship (2019 call). Advanced to review and is ongoing.
- ERC Starting Grant (2019 call). Ongoing.
- Submitted 18 applications in Europe, the US, and Australia. Was not shortlisted for 12, and am waiting to hear from the rest.
- Postdoc at the Washington University in St. Louis, USA, which I declined.
- Industry job at Syngenta, in Basel, Switzerland, which I declined.
I declined these offers to wait decisions from my applications for PI status.
- Contract extended for one year while I obtain decisions from my applications for PI status.