Professor Its received his B.S. (1972), M.S. (1974) and PhD (1977) degrees from Leningrad State University, and his Habilitation (1987) from the Leningrad Branch of the Steklov Mathematical Institute. He joined the faculty at IUPUI in 1993.

Professor Its works at the interface between mathematics and physics and he has been one of the key figures in the theory of integrable systems since the late 1970s. He has made several major contributions in the development of the so-called algebro-geometric and Riemann-Hilbert approaches to the study of evolution equations. His other research interests include spectral theory of differential operators, special functions, orthogonal polynomials and marix models.

Professor Its is the recipient of the 1976 Moscow Mathematical Society Prize for Young Mathematicians (which he shared with B. Dubrovnin and I. Krichever), and the 1981 Leningrad Mathematical Society Prize. Its was also named the 2002 Hardy Fellow of the London Mathematical Society. He is a co-editor-in chief of the Journal of Mathematical Physics, Analysis and Geometry. He was awarded Distinguished Professor in 2003.