De Pillis Earns Top AMS Honor

Harvey Mudd College Professor of Mathematics and department Chair Lisette de Pillis has been elected into the 2016 class of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society (AMS). The Fellows program recognizes de Pillis for contributions to mathematical oncology and immunology research, leadership in mathematical biology education and service to the mathematical community.

De Pillis is one of 50 AMS Fellows recognized this year for making outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication and utilization of mathematics. She has made pivotal contributions to mathematical oncology and immunology research. With over 60 highly cited research publications, de Pillis is highly respected in the mathematical biology community. Her cutting-edge developments in the mathematical modeling of cancer immunology and the work she does in collaboration with physicians and biological scientists make her a recognized leader in her field.

De Pillis serves as the Norman F. Sprague Jr. Professor of Mathematics and the Life Sciences, an endowed professorship honoring a faculty member who has contributed to interdisciplinary work at the College and who has significant ties to the Department of Biology. De Pillis was instrumental in helping to develop the College’s mathematical biology major, one of the first such undergraduate majors in the country. More broadly, de Pillis is recognized among students and faculty alike for her mentorship and guidance.

“Lisette is committed to providing research experiences for students and has co-authored numerous papers with undergraduates, most of whom have gone on to PhD programs in mathematics, applied mathematics, biology, epidemiology, veterinary medicine and more,” says Smallwood Family Chair and mathematics Professor Art Benjamin, who nominated de Pillis. “She is also a dedicated mentor to younger faculty members and an active advocate for women in the mathematical sciences.”

De Pillis has served on numerous editorial boards and, in 2014, served as guest co-editor of the American Mathematical Monthly, a special issue devoted to mathematical biology. She has given numerous keynote and plenary addresses, including SIAM 2009, Mathematical Biosciences Institute 2014 and SCALA (Scientific Computing Around Louisiana) 2015. She has been recognized by Argonne National Laboratories as a Maria Goeppart Mayer Fellow—the only scholar from an undergraduate institution and only the second mathematician to receive this distinction.

De Pillis has served as director of the Harvey Mudd College Global Clinic Program and as founding director of the College’s Quantitative Life Sciences Center, and has received over $1 million in research funding from the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies.