Afonso Dimas Martins

Project

Track: 10, Tools to explore risk of emergence of vector-borne diseases in ecosystems

Promotor

Hans Heesterbeek (UU)

Primary Supervisor

Hans Heesterbeek (UU)

Cosupervisor

Quirine ten Bosch (WUR)

University

Utrecht University, Wageningen University

E-mail

Description PhD project

My interests are spread out across many disciplines such as molecular biology, mathematics, and behaviour. This means I can make small talk about very different themes, but also makes making life-defining decisions a bit difficult. Choosing this PhD, however, made this decision a bit easier, since it calls for a connection between many different fields, catering to my divergent curiosities. During the following years I’m sure I’ll meet inspiring minds and learn how to become a proper scientist.

I started as a Biology student, but in the last year of my Bachelor’s, I participated in a project where I was exposed to epidemiological mathematical models and started gaining intuition on how to represent different population dynamics with simple models.

To continue along this path, I enrolled in a Master of Biostatistics program. During my Master’s thesis, I worked on modelling host viral transmission using within-host models, which then expanded into my thesis. In this project, I walked through the whole process of mathematical modelling, from the analytical study to the model fitting to data.

I became interested in this PhD project because it would allow me to explore more deeply the area of theoretical epidemiology using a multi-disciplinary approach. The study of the dynamics of vector-borne diseases is a very relevant topic, and mathematical modelling is a great contribution to this research. Within this project, I hope to understand how different vectors emerge and can be maintained in a population and learn how to model the interactions between the many agents of an ecosystem. I would like to contribute to answering questions regarding the evolution and spread of vector-borne diseases using all I know and learning new methods and approaches. Most importantly, I believe this PhD program will allow me to be a successful member of academia and be forever a learner.


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One Health PACT with project number 109986 is (partly) financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).