After having obtained a BA and Ph.D. in Mathematics from Harvard, Corina Tarnita applies her knowledge of mathematics to study evolution and evolutionary dynamics. Part of her work focuses on understanding how population structure affects the outcome of evolutionary processes—whether individuals interact at random, or whether they interact in well-defined networks, how these networks change dynamically through time, and what determines these changes are all crucial to the understanding of biological interactions. Her work led to a general result that describes the effect of structure on evolution.
More recent work together with Martin Nowak and E O Wilson has led to a model that attempts to explain the emergence, evolution, and scarcity of the highly social behavior that exists in certain species like ants, wasps or bees.
Corina Tarnita is a junior fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows and an affiliate of the Department of Mathematics and of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, Harvard University.