I am an Assistant Professor in Theoretical Ecology at the Department Theoretical and Computational Ecology (TCE) in the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), and a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Theoretical ecology, Evolutionary theory, Infectious diseases, Network theory, Complex systems
I am broadly interested in questions ranging from population dynamics to evolutionary theory. My research addresses questions at the interface of ecology and evolution, where complex interactions act on multiple levels of organization and at varying time scales. In many cases drivers of biological change are difficult to trace, and they integrate in ways that are poorly understood. One field where there is an increasing realization of the significance of interactions between ecology and evolution is in the study of infectious diseases. One area I have been studying is malaria and its parasite, P. falciparum, which presents a unique framework for extending general theories with evolutionary aspects and the inclusion of temporal processes. Here, the short time-scales at which ecological and evolutionary processes take place, in a time where we have increasing availability and richness of data from multiple scales, the growing accessibility to computational power and advanced informatics tools, and rapid evolution of powerful machine learning approaches, now make it possible to qualitatively and quantitatively address questions on ecological and evolutionary feedbacks, creating unprecedented opportunities to set foundations of new integrative theories.
On this front, I have been developing an integrated Eco-Evolutionary framework of Extinction Therapy relevant to the eradication of different types of Metastatic Cancer, and a general framework of Multi-strain Pathogens that addresses challenges of control and elimination from the lense of intra- and inter-specific parasite diversity.
The study of multi-scale systems often necessitates consideration of structure on different levels, such as demographic heterogeneity in local populations coupled with metapopulation connectivity patterns on broader regional scales, as well as how different forms of structure dynamically evolve and/or emerge over time, as a consequence of within level processes and between level feedbacks.
My broad interdisciplinary background provides me with appropriate tools for incorporating top-down and bottom-up views in my investigations and also tends to shape the scientific questions I choose to pursue. For example, my approach often includes a combination of Mathematical Models and Computational Agent-Based Stochastic Simulations to represent different levels of system organization, as well as tools from Network Theory and Nonlinear Dynamics, while my questions often relate to unsoled queries in the universe of Complex Systems.
Dr. Martina Ferraguti (PostDoc). Project description: Zoonotic Spillover and its dependency on combined multiple-host and multiple-vector dynamics, as part of the Marie Curie fellowship (will be hosted for 3 months by Prof. Andy Dobson at Princeton U)
Dr. Christoph Becker (PostDoc). Project description: Energy Transition, as part of the Future of Energy initiative led by the UvA Institute for Advanced Study (co-supervisor: Dr.Vitor Jvasconcelos)
Sofie te Wierik (PhD candidate). Project description: Governance of Green and Atmospheric water (co-supervisors: Prof. Joyeeta Gupta and Dr. Erik Cammeraat)
Claudia Meyer (PhD candidate). Project description: A theoretical and experimental study of multiple-virus and multiple-plankton dynamics (co-supervisors: Prof. Jeff Huisman and Prof. Corina Brussaard)