Amitabh Joshi obtained a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Botany (1986) and M.Sc. in Genetics (1988) from Delhi University, India, and a Ph.D. in Genetics (1993) from Washington State University, Pullman, working with John N. Thompson and Michael E. Moody on variation in the outcomes of coevolution among competing species of fruitflies. During this time, he also did theoretical work on the cost of sexual reproduction and the evolution of extreme ecological specialization. He then worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Laurence D. Mueller at University of California, Irvine (1994-96), primarily on adaptation to larval and adult crowding in fruitflies. In 1996, he joined the faculty of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bangalore, India, where he is presently Professor and Chairman of the Evolutionary and Organismal Biology Unit. He has been Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies, Berlin, during 2001.
Academic and Research Achievements: Joshi’s current research interests are in life-history evolution and small population and metapopulation dynamics, and he carries out a combination of experimental evolution studies with fruitflies, and theoretical work using computer simulations. He is particularly interested in the evolution of adaptations to crowding, and evolution of developmental rates and rates of ageing, and in the interplay of local dynamics and migrations patterns/rates in affecting global metapopulation dynamics. His group has done extensive work on these areas in the past 15 years at JNCASR. The common thread that runs through this work is that of understanding better how the ecology and genetics of organisms interact and, through development, shape evolutionary trajectories. Hence the central focus of this body of work on the evolution of life-histories – the life-history of an organism is the filter through which all traits must pass in order to affect Darwinian fitness. The ecological context determines which traits enable an organism to succeed, but their inheritance is refracted through genetic constraints that arise from the developmental process. Much of the work in his group has focused on (a) the ecological context created by crowding and its attendant competition, (b) how this context affects the evolution of diverse traits like developmental rates, fecundity schedules, feeding behaviour, stress resistance and lifespan, (c) the molecular/developmental/biochemical correlates of these traits, and (d) how these life-history changes can affect the demographic attributes of populations and the stability of their dynamics. In addition, he has also worked on the evolution of extreme ecological specialization and the evolutionary maintenance of sexual reproduction.
Other Contributions: Joshi has also been active in academic services other than through research and teaching. He has served on the editorial boards of Resonance, Journal of Genetics, Journal of Biosciences, International Journal of Evolutionary Biology and Journal of Theoretical Biology. He is presently Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Genetics.
Awards and Honours: Joshi is a Fellow of all the three national science academies of India, and was awarded the Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar Award (Biological Sciences) in 2009, and the Lakshmipat Singhania-IIM Lucknow Young Leader in Science and Technology (National Leadership Awards) in 2010. He is also a J. C. Bose National Fellow.