Sunset at the beach, Løkken

PhD student


Who am I?

I was born and grew up in Bangalore, a city in the southern part of India, known for its gardens and pleasant weather. I studied both my Bachelors and Masters degree in the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. While my major in both these degrees was physics, I did projects in a wide range of subjects such as theoretical ecology & evolution, computational biophysics, experimental condensed matter physics and molecular biology. Throughout my bachelors and masters study, my interests refined and narrowed until I landed upon the field of theoretical ecology and evolution, which was the subject of my Masters thesis. I love being outside and playing sports like ultimate frisbee, basketball and badminton and also cycling and hiking. While inside, I enjoy playing video games, listening to and learning music, and reading comics and manga.

Research interests

I am broadly interested in understanding what happens when processes of ecology and that of evolution interact in complex ways. I am also interested in understanding how phenomena such as inter and intra species interactions, stochasticity, and spatial structure can affect the dynamics of general eco-evolutionary systems.

The current topic of my doctorate is to understand the evolution of learning and innovation in organisms. Learning is the process of gaining new information or strategies over the course of an animal’s lifetime. Innovation is the generation of novel strategies or the modification of previously known strategies also within an animal’s lifetime. I am interested in understanding how these processes will evolve over multiple generations and how they will be affected by extended evolutionary synthesis effects such an cultural and epigenetic inheritance, niche construction, etc. I plan to use the framework of reinforcement learning as a tool to understand these phenomena and answer these questions.

  • Eco-evolutionary dynamics
  • Inter- and intraspecies interactions
  • Multi agent game theory
  • Stochasticity and stochastic games


Dharanish Rajendra, Jaydeep Mandal, Yashodhan Hatwalne, & Prabal K. Maiti (2023). “Packing and emergence of the ordering of rods in a spherical monolayer.” Soft Matter, 19(1), 137-146. DOI:

Dharanish Rajendra, Nikhil Maroli, Narendra M. Dixit, and Prabal Kumar Maiti. “Molecular Dynamics Simulations Show How Antibodies May Rescue HIV-1 Mutants Incapable of Infecting Host Cells.” bioRxiv (2022): 2022-09. DOI:

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