News & Events

Beyond Reciprocity: Transdisciplinary Approaches to Cooperation in Human and Cellular Societies

March 9, 2016

Athena Aktipis, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Arizona State University Are there general principles that underlie cooperation across systems? What do these principles tell us about the evolution of multicellular life and human society? In this talk, Aktipis will discuss her work on human sharing in The Human Generosity Project, which incorporates computational modeling, human subjects experiments and work at eight field sites around the world to understand human sharing. She will also discuss...

Aktipis studies sharing systems around the world through Human Generosity Project

January 28, 2016

Why help someone when you’ll receive nothing in return? How have groups of people cooperating together ensured group survival? These questions lie at the roots of the work of a new Arizona State University professor’s work. Athena Aktipis, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, is a cooperation theorist, theoretical evolutionary biologist, and cancer biologist working at the intersection of these fields. Aktipis is co-director of the Human Generosity Project,...

The alien within: fetal cells influence maternal health during pregnancy (and long after)

August 28, 2015

Parents go to great lengths to ensure the health and well-being of their developing offspring. The favor, however, may not always be returned. Dramatic research has shown that during pregnancy, cells of the fetus often migrate through the placenta, taking up residence in many areas of the mother’s body, where their influence may benefit or undermine maternal health. The presence of fetal cells in maternal tissue is known as fetal microchimerism. The term alludes to the chimeras of...

New York Times covers cellular cheaters who give rise to cancer

August 11, 2015

New York Times contributing science writer George Johnson recently wrote about a new view of cancer as a philanderer. The article covered the work of Athena Aktipis and her international colleagues as they explored how cancer's cheating ways pays dividends for its own benefit---host be damned.  In his monthly New York Times "Raw Data" column, Johnson writes:  "Maybe it was in “some warm little pond,” Charles Darwin speculated in 1871, that life on Earth began....

New study describes cancer’s cheating ways

June 8, 2015

Cancer cells share certain traits with anti-social members of human society. They shirk community responsibilities and engage in behavior aimed at fulfilling their selfish needs at the expense of the greater good. In a new study, Athena Aktipis, a researcher at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, along with her international colleagues, explore the ways in which cancers bypass the protective mechanisms used by multicellular forms to ensure their survival and wellbeing. The...