I studied Molecular Biology and Genetics at Istanbul Technical University. During my undergraduate studies I became interested in the field of Ecology and Evolution and did internships on animal behaviour in Switzerland and Ireland. I then went on to pursue a 2-year research Master’s in Evolutionary Biology (MEME) funded by the European Union. I worked on projects using computer simulations to investigate evolution of social complexity and human cooperation. I also did behavioural economics experiments on how children learn social norms by copying others. After my Master’s, I pursued my dream of doing fieldwork and investigating human societies. I did my PhD at UCL, researching cultural evolution and behavioural adaptations in Pygmy hunter-gatherers in the Congo. During my PhD, I was part of an inter-disciplinary Hunter-Gatherer Resilience team funded by the Leverhulme Trust. I obtained a postdoctoral research fellowship from British Academy after my PhD. I am currently working as a British Academy research fellow and lecturer in Evolutionary Anthropology and Evolutionary Medicine at UCL.
I am an anthropological archaeologist with broad interests in hunter-gatherers, lithic technology, human evolution, and complex systems theory. I am particularly interested in understanding processes of long term social, evolutionary, and adaptational change among hunter-gatherers, specifically by using approaches that combine archaeological data, ethnographic data, and computational modeling.
computer simulations of biological macroevolution; dynamics and evolution in social and systems, also memetics and macromemetics - evolution of culture
Co-evolutionary dynamics of social-ecological systems
social-ecological systems modeling
I study human culture and cooperation in relationship to the environment. In particular, I study how social norms, institutions and societies evolve, and how they are influenced by ecological and social forces. I strive to use this research to learn how to better build durable, sustainable and just institutions and societies. I use experimental economics and agent-based modeling to explore these connections, and work with lot of wonderful people.
I am interested in the evolutionary, cultural, and psychological processes through which complex human organizational patterns emerge. My approach consists largely of developing and analyzing mathematical and computational models of dynamic populations, which are informed by research across many disciplines. Some areas of study closely related to my work include social and cultural evolution, social identity and group formation, mate choice, institutional mechanisms for cooperation, social and cultural constraints on decision making, cognition, biological pattern formation, agent-based modeling, and the philosophy of modeling.
Prehistoric archaeology of hunter-gatherer societies in Mesoamerica and American Southeast; comparative analysis of urban form and service provision; social inequality; complex adaptive systems; cultural evolution.
Evolution of social behavior and complex systems