Welcome to the lab for Modeling and Theory in Ecology and Epidemiology

We study the complexity underlying the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases.

Our work relies on a variety of extensive data sets, from long time series of disease incidence that span decades, to large ecological networks, to molecular (sequence) data on pathogens. The disease work involves international collaborations with public health and research partners around the world. On the theoretical front, we use mathematical models together with computational and statistical approaches to bridge the gap between data and models.

Our research

Our research addresses the Ecology and Evolution of infectious diseases. 

Host-pathogen systems are paradigmatic and fascinating examples of complex adaptive systems. They combine the challenges of nonlinear dynamics, large number of interactions between diverse components, and changing conditions because of evolution or environmental changes. Questions on how to model these systems and at what scales, how to make inferences from large but incomplete data sets, how to predict and alter the course of their dynamics, are central at this time of increased contact between natural and built-in environments, increased human movement, and rapid environmental changes. Our work relies on a variety of extensive data sets, from long time series of disease incidence that span decades, to large ecological networks, to molecular (sequence) data on pathogens. The disease work involves international collaborations with public health and research partners around the world. On the theoretical front, we use mathematical models together with computational and statistical approaches to bridge the gap between data and models.

See more at out RESEARCH and PUBLICATIONS sections.

New paper on how frequency-dependent competition between strains enhances the persistence of malaria transmission systems published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution

Qixin, Shai, and Mercedes' new paper with collaborators Kathryn Tiedje and Karen Day at the University of Melbourne has just been published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution in the section Models in Ecology and Evolution. The paper shows how Plasmodium falcipuram...

New commentary on how deforestation influences the risk of malaria published in eLife

Mercedes and her collaborator Andres Baeza's essay has just been published in e-Life. The commentary discusses how combining spatial and temporal data is helping researchers to understand how deforestation influences the risk of malaria. Forests can act as reservoirs...

New paper on the effect of climate ‘slowdown’ on malaria transmission in the highlands of Ethiopia published in Nature Communications

Mercedes and her collaborators' new paper showing that a decline in malaria cases in the highlands of Ethiopia was driven by a transient slowdown in global warming and associated changes in climate variability was recently published in Nature Communications! Their...

Celebrating International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month at the Santa Fe Institute!

Mercedes has been featured in a new twitter thread put together by the Santa Fe Institute for International Women's Day and Women's History Month! The thread showcases a small slice of the enormous contributions to science women have made at the institute. Check out...

New paper on thresholds for antigenic diversity for falciparum malaria transmission at high endemicity published in PLOS Computational Biology

Qixin and Mercedes' new paper deriving a threshold for antigenic diversity for falciparum malaria transmission in regions where malaria is highly endemic was recently published in PLOS Computational Biology. In regions where falciparum malaria is highly endemic, the...