• Who

    I'm an Assistant Professor @ Indiana University - Bloomington in Epidemiology & Biostatistics, School of Public Health & the EEB department. I'm an eco-epidemiologist with a focus on ecology and evolution of infectious diseases. I earned my Ph.D. in Ecology & Evolution at Silwood Park, Imperial College London advised by Prof. Mick Crawley. After a MRC postdoctoral fellowship (2013-2015) at Imperial College, Infectious Diseases Epidemiology Department, I accepted a postdoctoral position at the Odum School of Ecology, UGA, to work with Prof. Pejman Rohani on the ecology & evolution of vaccine preventable childhood diseases (2015-2019).


    I'm fascinated by trying to understand the frequency, magnitude and shape of seasonal disease dynamics and the effects of population heterogeneity. Primarily, identifying evolutionary, ecological and demographic drivers of (re-) emergence and seasonality of infectious disease systems, with the aim of informing vaccination and other control public health policies. Scaling up individual-level interactions to understand the population-level outcomes (e.g., the evolution of virulence or immune evasion).


    My research focuses on the ecology of infectious diseases in humans and other animals. My research agenda seeks to understand the dynamics of biological populations and epidemics, focusing on how to bring experimental and observational data together with mathematical theory. The majority of my body of work has been on vaccine preventable diseases dynamics, with a view to understanding fundamental processes in ecology and evolution. My ongoing research falls into the following themes: (i) pathogen evolution and phylodynamics; (ii) seasonal disease transmission; (iii) anthropogenic effects (e.g. vaccines); (iv) adaptive behavior.


    My approach is to use theoretical models to understand how human and other animal systems behave generally, while simultaneously seeking to confront and validate models with data and make predictions. I use a combination of mathematical modelling, phylodynamics approaches and cutting-edge statistical inference techniques. With these methods I am able to make quantitative, testable predictions and confront process-based models with parallel data streams. This is the central premise of my research program and the common thread of my work. For more details check out my lab.

  • Ongoing projects

    A selection of projects I'm involved in much of my current research is based on understanding long-term data on spatio-temporal incidence patterns of microparasitic infections such as pertussis, measles and bovine tuberculosis. In addition, Some new projects on COVID-19. In my work, I formalize scientific hypotheses as mathematical models to make precise predictions and powerful inference.

    Bacterial Evolution & immune evasion

    We are developing mechanistic models of pertussis evolution for countries under different vaccine regimes

    In collaboration with Andy Preston, Sam Scarpino, Matthew Hahn, Luis Rocha, Eric Harvill & Michael Weigand

    Evolution of resistance to Schistosomiasis

    Investigating population structure and differential transmission potential in snail populations in Senegal. Will recruit Postdocs soon!

    In collaboration with Jason Rohr, Maurine Neiman & Curt Lively

    Disease spreading modeling through social and genomic data of SARS-CoV-2 in the United States

    Integrating paralel data streams

    Adaptive behavior and disease transmission

    Integrative Epi-economic framework to understand adaptive changes in behavior and transmission consequences

    Drivers of pertussis dynamics

    Bayesian coalescent framework to formally tests drivers of evolution in B. pertussis populations

    In collaboration with Pejman Rohani & Aaron King, Thijs Bosch

    Herd immunity erosion: source and sink dynamics

    Characterize disease dynamics and vaccine coverage, estimate the epidemiological impact of vaccine hesitancy, and identify the spatial scale of herd immunity.

    Evolution of antiviral resistance

    Computationally test the hypothesis that increased HA binding avidity is associated with increased rates of Oseltamivir resistance.

    In collaboration with Sam Scarpino & Deven Gokhale

    Tick borne emergence in the Midwest

    Using Indiana as an Early Warning System for tick expansion in the Midwest. Phylogeographic analysis of tick and pathogen diversity and disease dynamics

    In collaboration with Karo Oomodior, Keith Clay, Dan Becker, Curt Lively & Ellen Ketterson

    Vaccine waning immunity

    England & Wales and particular states in the US incidence times series of pertussis for different vaccine eras.

    Influenza viral attributes

    Emergence and pathogenesis of influenza viruses, with a focus on identification of attributes which influence tropism, pathogenicity, and evolution of influenza viruses.

    In collaboration with Jasmina Luczo, Mark Tompkins & Pejman Rohani

    Impact of maternal vaccination

    The historical pertussis literature indicates that maternal vaccination may potentially lead to a reduction in the efficacy of routine infant immunization. We studied the possible downstream consequences of maternal immunization.

    In collaboration with Lourdes de Lima, Daniela Leite

    Within herd dynamics

    Epidemiological impact of control & immunisation activities on within-herd bovine tuberculosis outbreaks

    In collaboration with Christl Donnelly and DEFRA

    Environmental drivers of plant-herbivore dynamics

    In temperate regions the seasonal pattern of plant productivity and senescence is influenced strongly by the prevailing weather. For herbivores the onset of spring is particularly important for survival and growth, while subsequent plant production will potentially influence lactation and recovery of body mass before the next breeding season.

    In collaboration with Mick Crawley, Josephine Pemberton, Steve Albon & Dan Nussey

  • Selected Publications

    For a complete list of publications check my CV

    Information Seeking Responses to News of Local COVID-19 Cases: Evidence from Internet Search Data

    Effects of mitigation strategies on COVID-19 averted cases in Sichuan, China

    Liu, Bento et al.

    Accepted Plos Comp Bio

    COVID-19 incidence in the county increased on average by a statistically significant 0.024 per thousand residents

    Andersen, Bento et al 2020


    Estimation of the incubation period of COVID-19 using viral load data

    Ejima, Bento et al. medrxiv 2020

    Under Review in Epidemics

    Evolutionary consequences of feedbacks between within-host competition and disease control

    Greischar, Bento et al. JID 2020

    Impacts of State Reopening Policy on Human Mobility

    Nguyen, (...) Bento et al NBER 2020

    Tracking public and private response to the covid-19 epidemic  

    Gupta (...) Bento et al. NBER 2020

    Inferring Timing of Infection Using Within-host SARS-CoV-2 Infection Dynamics Model: Are “Imported Cases” Truly Imported?

    Ejima, Bento et al 2020

    Under review Plos One

    Global effects of delays in detection of COVID-19

    Bento et al. nearing submission (available upon request)

    Age and sex specific susceptibility as a predictor for COVID-19 prevalence in China

    Bento, Ajelli et al. nearing submission (available upon request)

    Feeding the disparities: the geography and trends of breastfeeding in the United States

    Garnier, Bento et al.

    under review in Vaccine

    Epidemiological impact of control and immunisation activities on within-herd bovine tuberculosis outbreaks

    Bento & Donnelly. 2020. Scientific Reports (Forthcoming)

    Core pertussis transmission groups in England and Wales: A tale of two eras


    Bento et al. 2018. Vaccine

    The relative role of age groups in pertussis transmission scenarios

    Bento et al. 2018. BioRxiv

    Maternal pertussis immunisation: clinical gains and epidemiological legacy

    Bento, King & Rohani. 2017. Eurosurveillance

    Physiological proteins in resource-limited herbivores experiencing a population die-off

    Garnier, Bento et al. 2017

    Forecasting epidemiological consequences of maternal immunization

    Bento & Rohani 2016. Clinical Infectious Diseases

    EpiJSON: A unifed data-format for epidemiology

    Finnie, Bento et al. 2016. Epidemics

    A review of epidemiological parameters from Ebola outbreaks to inform early public health decision-making

    Bento et al. 2015. Nature Scientific Data

    Exploration of the power of routine surveillance data to assess the impacts of industry-led badger culling on bovine tuberculosis incidence in cattle herds

    Bento et al. 2015. Veterinary Record

    Multiple pathways mediate the effects of climate change on maternal reproductive traits in a red deer population

    Stoffer, Bento et al. 2014. Ecology



    Climatic effects of plant productivity and herbivore performance in St Kilda

    Bento et al. in review (available upon request)

    Warming and vegetation community dynamics in a wild red deer population

    Bento et al. submitted (available upon request)

    Spring temperature and rain mediate summer growth in the Park Grass experiment

    Bento et al. nearing submission (available upon request)

  • The Bento Lab

    Get to know us & join us!

    Ana Bento PI

    Eco-epidemiologist with a focus on ecology and evolution of infectious diseases.

    Maria Litvinova Postdoc


    Opidoids models

    Seth Edmunds Phd Student


    Varun Rao PhD Student


    Turner DeBlieux Phd student


  • Teaching & Mentoring

    I have been fortunate to create and teach a variety of classes and mentor several outstanding undergraduate and MSc. and Ph.D. students.


    Three unifying principles guide my teaching and mentoring approach:

    (i) combining foundational principles with practical application

    (ii) guided active learning

    (iii) quantitative reasoning


    These are some courses I have designed and or taught:

    Public Health Surveillance and Monitoring

    E 250 @ Indiana University

    Introduction to Scientific Computing

    Statistics and Computing in R for Ecologists and Epidemiologists (Indiana University- Bloomington

    Machine learning

    Introduction to machine learning with R - applied to ecological problems (2019 @ Odum School of Ecology)

    Computational Modeling

    Computational Modeling ECOL 8540 - applied to infectious disease systems (May 2018 @ IDEAS, UGA)

    Introduction to modelling

    Introduction to modelling with R - apply population models (2017 @ Odum School of Ecology)

    R ladies Athens

    R Ladies group in Athens GA. ALL #R welcome



    Mathematical Models

    Introduction to Mathematical Models Epidemiology and Control of Infectious Diseases (2013-2014 @ Infectious Disease Epi. Dept Imperial)

    Generalised Linear Modeling in R

    Statistics and Computing in R for Ecologists (2009-2012 @ Silwood Park Imperial)

  • Find us here

    Bento Lab

    School of Public Health, IU-Bloomington

    1025 7th Street, #C113

  • Media Coverage

    Women in Ecology

    Nature Ecology & Evolution


    See excerpts interviews here , The Guardian, StatNews, wtiu, Expresso (Portugal), wfiu, LEO, wtiu, IU

    WSJ (for coverage on collaborative work), FOX59, WTFIU, WSJ, Reuters, KHN, MSNBC, NYT, THE, FOX59, ERI, TODAY show, StatNews

  • Social Me

    Check out my latest updates! Also @bento_lab for news on my #BentoLab