Current Postdoctoral Research Associates
Péter is interested in the ecological impacts of climate change and other anthropogenic influences, such as habitat loss and habitat restoration. He studies diverse aspects of this topic, from climate change impacts on the structure of arctic host-parasite systems to the impacts of a melting sea ice habitat on polar bear populations. Outside of the Arctic, Péter works with Dr. Claire Standley to study how habitat fragmentation and conservation corridors affect parasite and pathogen transmission in tropical ecosystems, for instance, between domestic dogs and cats, feline mesopredators such as ocelot and margay, and apex predators such as jaguar and puma. Péter’s research blends ecological insight and field data collection with statistical analyses and mathematical modeling to identify and quantify the biological mechanisms by which environmental change affects ecosystems. Common to all of his projects is a focus on conservation biology and an emphasis on applying quantitative models and empirical findings to aid conservation managers in proactive conservation planning.
Paul is a theoretician interested in evolutionary medicine. His work focuses primarily on modeling the evolution of virulence in microparasites, the epidemiological and evolutionary effects of disease intervention strategies, and the evolution of aging. A main goal of his research is to understand how phenotypic variation among hosts influences the dynamics and evolution of infectious diseases. Presently he is working on integrating theory and data in order to gain a more complete understanding of the factors (e.g. host immunity, virulence-transmission tradeoff) underlying virulence evolution in ecologically realistic host-pathogen systems. Ultimately, the goal of this work is to provide policy makers with new conceptual tools in the pursuit of enduring solutions to the problem of treatment-driven pathogen evolution.
Anieke van Leeuwen
As theoretical ecologist, Anieke is fascinated by the complexity of ecosystems and community dynamics. The question of what processes structure ecosystems, is at the core of her research. Anieke studies how accounting for population structure and for differences between individual characteristics affects ecosystem processes. The effect of human interference with ecosystems is another part of her research interests. Human interference with ecological processes often shapes a dominant interaction in communities be it the impact of fisheries on top-predator species or the large-scale deforestations in agricultural areas. Such interference has direct as well as indirect effects, often visible at many different trophic levels. Anieke’s research focuses on the causes of population collapses, lack of species recoveries, and regime shifts. For this focus a mechanistic approach is used, to understand the processes underlying observed patterns, and leading to explanations of emerging population and community dynamics. Anieke makes use of physiologically structured population models and stage-structured biomass models, and both numerical and analytical techniques for analysis. Connect with her through ResearchGate or LinkedIn.
As a veterinarian, Carrie is most interested in the physiological, immunological, and pathological processes occurring inside hosts in response to infectious disease pressures. Why do hosts get the infections that they do, when they do? What makes some hosts more susceptible than others, and what drives seasonal susceptibility? How do current infections affect hosts’ abilities to fight off other infectious agents? Carrie is particularly interested in the immunomodulatory effects of macroparasite infections, and has studied coinfection trade-offs in wild herbivores in a natural anthrax and gastrointestinal parasite system in Africa. She is currently extending this research into new African systems and new species, while examining issues of immunological resistance and tolerance and the interactions between hosts, parasites, and the host microbiome. Her underlying goal is to bring immunology out controlled laboratory settings, and to build off of the work that others have conducted in animal models by ground-truthing it in more variable natural systems.