Anita Layton, professor of Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, Pharmacy and Biology, has been named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). The prestigious RSC award is the highest honour an individual can achieve in the arts, social sciences and sciences. It reflects Layton’s outstanding career as a researcher, academic and mentor. Layton is one of 102 new Fellows elected this year by their peers for their outstanding scholarly, scientific and artistic achievements.
Layton is an internationally acclaimed authority and leading researcher in mathematical medicine and biology. She has solved long-standing problems in scientific computing and renal physiology. Layton is recognized for her pioneering contributions to computational methods for fluid-structure interaction problems and mathematical modelling of mammalian physiology and pathophysiology, including the first sex-specific models of kidney physiology and blood pressure regulation. She leads the Layton group, a diverse interdisciplinary team of researchers that use computational modelling tools to better understand aspects of health and disease.
Among her many accolades, Layton is a Fellow of the Association for Women in Mathematics (2022), winner of the Krieger-Nelson Prize (2021) and winner of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award (2021). She holds a Canada 150 Research Chair in Mathematical Biology and Medicine here at the University of Waterloo.
She serves both the university and the academy more broadly as an editor for several journals, as well as serving as the Associate Dean, Research and International, for the Faculty of Mathematics and chairing the Research Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Council at the University of Waterloo. Layton has published hundreds of book chapters and articles in scholarly journals, and supervised more than 30 postdoctoral, doctoral, master’s and undergraduate research projects at the University of Waterloo.
This award is significant, Layton reflects, because it “recognizes the contributions of interdisciplinary research – how researchers from distinct fields work together and combine their expertise to solve a large problem.” She is excited about this public recognition of how “interdisciplinary and data-driven approaches can be leveraged to solve increasingly complex, real-world problems.”
Prior to joining the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Mathematics in 2018, Layton was the Robert R. & Katherine B. Penn Professor of Mathematics at Duke University, where she also held appointments in the department of biomedical engineering and the department of medicine. She completed her PhD at the University of Toronto in 2001.
“I have enjoyed outstanding support from my department, faculty, and university,” Layton reflects. “I have been at Waterloo for four years now, and sometimes it still amazes me how well I am being treated here and how helpful people are to me.” She calls special attention to the importance of the next generation of scholars in research collaboration. She could not have achieved this distinction, Layton says, without “my brilliant and hardworking trainees! Very little can be accomplished without my research group.”
Founded in 1882, the RSC comprises the Academics of Arts, Humanities and Sciences, and the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. The RSC recognizes excellence, advises the government and the larger society, and promotes a culture of knowledge and innovation in Canada and other national academies worldwide. You can read more about the University of Waterloo researchers honoured by the Royal Society of Canada in the Office of Research article here.