Vishwesha Guttal, Associate Professor, CES, IISc and Associate faculty, IMI, IISc. 

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 7.54.40 pmI am fascinated by almost all areas of basic sciences and in particular physics, ecology and evolution, but I try to limit myself to studying (a) collective animal behaviour (with a focus on evolutionary aspects and self-organized pattern formation), (b) self-organized spatial patterns in vegetation of semi-arid ecosystems (c) building simple yet “predictive” models of abrupt changes in complex dynamical systems. Prior to joining IISc, I was a postdoc in the group of Iain Couzin at Princeton University; and I did my PhD in Physics at The Ohio State University working with Prof. C Jayaprakash on theoretical ecology. My undergraduate education (Integrated MSc in Physics) was at IIT Kanpur.

Click here for a Curriculum Vitae.

During my graduate student days at Columbus, OH, I used volunteer for Association for India’s Development. Click here for Columbus chapter webpage.

Technical Staff: DSC_1238ArunKumar Mahendran completed his Masters in Computer Application (MCA) at Anna University, Coimbatore. He has been with TEE-Lab since April 2016, working on web development projects including a website and intranet for CES department. He maintains the lab and the department servers including updating the patches, installing and configuring the research related software packages in MAC, LINUX and WINDOWS machines.


priya Priya Iyer:  I am interested in how males and females evolve to look and behave similarly in some and differently in other species. I have tried to study this at different levels (gametes, whole bodies, secondary sexual characters and parental care), and with two species in the wild– blue sheep and ibex in the Indian Trans-Himalayas. I did my PhD with Joan Roughgarden at Stanford University. I researched and taught at IISER Pune for 4 years, and then spent 3 years in Himachal Pradesh on projects related to children’s education. I have resumed my stint as an academian in Vishu’s lab. Check Priya’s profile to see her publications.

sumithra_webSumithra Sankaran did her BSc in Zoology at the University of Madras (Stella Maris College) and an MSc in Wildlife Science fromWildlife Institute of India (Dehradun). She then worked on a number of research projects panning the fields of animal behaviour, conservation and evolutionary ecology over the course of which she became increasingly interested in theory. She worked with our lab first as a teaching assistant for the course EC 201 in Jan-April 2013 and subsequently joined us as a PhD student in Aug 2013. She defended her thesis in Dcec 2018 and she is continuing as a short-term postdoc in the lab. 

Sumithra’s Publications arising from thesis work: 
Sumithra Sankaran, Sabiha Majumder, Ashwin Viswanathan and Vishwesha Guttal,Patchiness and scale-free correlations: characterising criticality in ecosystems, bioRxiv
Alexandre Genin, Sabiha Majumder, Sumithra Sankaran, Alain Danet, Vishwesha Guttal, Florian Schneider, Sonia Kefi, 2018, Monitoring ecosystem degradation using spatial data and the R package spatialwarnings,  Methods in Ecology and Evolution, DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.13058.
Sumithra Sankaran*, Sabiha Majumder*, Sonia Kefi, Vishwesha Guttal, 2018, Implications of being discrete and spatial for detecting early warning signals of regime shifts,  Ecological Indicators, DOI: (*These authors contributed equally to this work). 
Alexandre Génin*, Sabiha Majumder*, Sumithra Sankaran*, Florian D Schneider, Alain Danet, Miguel Berdugo, Vishwesha Guttal, Sonia Kefi, 2018, Indicators of regime shifts in ecological systems with spatially heterogeneous stressors, Ecological Indicators, DOI: (*These authors contributed equally to this work).


PhD Students

Jitesh Jhawar did his graduation in engineering in biotechnology from MITS Gwalior and post graduation in structural biology and biochemistry from IIT Kanpur. With a keen interest in mathematics, he joined a theoretical biology lab as a project student at NCL Pune, where he recognised his interest in ecology. He is interested in understanding animal behaviour from an evolutionary perspective.  He is a nature lover and like things restored in their natural form. He likes travelling and playing sports with friends.

Jitesh’s publication arising from thesis work:
Jhawar, Jitesh, Richard G. Morris, U. R. Amith-Kumar, M. Danny Raj, and Vishwesha Guttal. 2019, “Noise-Induced Schooling of Fish.” arXiv preprint arXiv:1903.12132.
Jitesh Jhawar, Richard Morris, and Vishwesha Guttal, 2019, Deriving mesoscopic models of collective behaviour for finite populations, In Press, Handbook of Statistics (Vol 40): Integrated Population Biology and Modeling Part B. arxiv:  Codes and data are available on github.
Aakanksha Rathore (joint student with Kavita Isvaran): I graduated from MNIT Jaipur with a in Information Technology. Subsequently, I worked as a software developer at SAP Labs for two years. Over the course of two years my inclination towards nature escalated to a point where it became inconceivable to work on anything else. So, I decided to break free and joined Nature Conservation Foundation in 2014. I worked on different aspects of Hornbill’s breeding biology and seed dispersal role. While working on these projects, I became increasingly interested in ecology. Being very new to this field, almost every concept of ecology fascinates me. I am planning to work on something related to Animal Behaviourfor which I intend to use my favourite tools­ Mathematics and Computer programming.

nitin-e1518701627969.jpgNitin Saxena(joint student with Kavita Isvaran): I am broadly interested in evolution and animal behaviour. I did my in Biotechnology from Jaipur National University. Soon after I joined as a project assistant in Dr. Vishwesha Guttal’s lab at CES in Jan 2014. Here I was trying to understand the pattern of evolution of collective movement in fish and birds across various taxa using phylogenetic approach. This built the basis for my current PhD work (started in Aug 2016) where I am looking into the evolution of migration in birds and interaction of different selection pressures in shaping the course of evolution. Among various other things that I love to try, I have found myself really engrossed with, is the idea of teaching and making learning a more fun and comprehensive experience. I would love to continue with my interests in the long run.


Pritha Kundu studied Zoology at Presidency University (Kolkata), and Evolutionary Biology at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (Bangalore) before joining the lab as a PhD student.  She is broadly interested in studying interactions between organisms and their evolutionary consequences.  During her postgraduate studies, Pritha was involved in research projects studying life-history evolution and circadian clock function in Drosoophila melanogaster.  Her non-academic interests include photography, dance, and martial arts.

Screenshot-2018-12-23-at-10.42.02-PMShuaib: It was the BS-MS degree of IISER TVM that gave me a great exposure to different fields of science. I chose Biology as my major as my primary motivations was Evolutionary biology and Ecology. How humankind treats the natural resources in current world scenario and its effects on the existence of life on earth concerns me a lot. I strongly believe that various adversities faced in the modern world will be solved in future by the insights we will be acquiring from the studies related to nature and life. I am fascinated to continue my pursuit here at TEE Lab, being a part of it as a PhD student.


Tanveen Kaur Randhava: I am a B.Tech. graduate in Biotechnology from IIT Roorkee. In 2015, I joined a biotech company, Thermofisher Scientific in Bangalore and worked for 10 months. Following that, I worked with Teach for India as a fellow (teacher) for 4 months. Post that, I took a break from work and was introduced to evolution and ecology through people working in the field, books and online resources. In 2017, I tried conducting a study on species-diversity of anurans in Bannerghatta National Park. I volunteered for a project on mating system in katydids under Rohini Balakrishnan. I am very fascinated about different facets of evolution and behaviour, and the history of life on Earth.

UG-Thesis Students (2019-20)

Ayan Das (IISc, Biology, MSc) – working on models of clustering dynamics in vegetation. 

Dhanya Rajendran (IISc, Biology, BSc) – working on models of parental care/sexual selection with DBT postdoc in our lab Dr Priya Iyer.

Vivek Jhadav (IISER, Mohali, Physics, BS-MS) – working on data-driven spatial models of collective behaviour with PhD student Jitesh Jhadav and Danny Raj (INSPIRE-faculty from Chemical Engineering, IISc). 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s