• Who

    I'm an Assistant Professor @ Indiana University - Bloomington in Epidemiology & Biostatistics, School of Public Health & the EEB department. I'm a disease ecologist 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. Pej Rohani on the ecology & evolution of vaccine preventable childhood diseases (2015-2019).

    Why

    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).

    What

    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.

    How

    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.

  • Selected 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 and measles. 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.

    Adaptive behavior and disease transmission

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

    In collaboration With Dan Kaffine & Antonio Bento

    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

    In collaboration with carla Mavian

    Bacterial Evolutionary Signatures

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

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

    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

    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

  • Selected Publications

    For a complete list of publications check my google scholar. Brief description below with links for the publications

    Disease-economy trade-offs under alternative pandemic control strategies

    Ash et al medRxiv 2021

    HIV cases during the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan

    Ejima et al JAIDS 2021

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

    Ejima et al. Epidemics 2021

    also in medRxiv

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

    Bento et al PNAS 2020

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

    Liu et al. Plos Comp Bio 2020

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

    Andersen et al. 2020

    medRxiv

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

    Greischar et al. JID 2020

    Impacts of State Reopening Policy on Human Mobility

    Nguyen et al NBER 2020

    Tracking public and private response to the covid-19 epidemic

    Gupta et al. NBER 2020

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

    Ejima et al medRviv 2020

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

     

    Bento et al. 2018. Vaccine

    Maternal pertussis immunisation: clinical gains and epidemiological legacy

    Bento, King & Rohani. 2017. Eurosurveillance

    Forecasting epidemiological consequences of maternal immunization

    Bento & Rohani 2016. Clinical Infectious Diseases

    EpiJSON: A unifed data-format for epidemiology

    Finnie et al. 2016. Epidemics

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

    Garnier et al. 2017

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

    van Kerkove et al. 2015. 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

    Donnelly et al. 2015. Veterinary Record

    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 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

    SPH

    Opidoids models

    Seth Edmunds Phd Student

    SPH

    Varun Rao PhD Student

    NRT

  • 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 examples of 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

    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)

  • Find us here

    Bento Lab

    School of Public Health, IU-Bloomington

    1025 7th Street, #C113

    812-856-1729
  • Advisory Work

    COVID-19

    1

    WHO 

    Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of experts for educational institutions and COVID-19 would be to provide strategic and technical advice to WHO, UNESCO and UNICEF on matters relating to educational institutions and COVID-19 transmission.

    2

    BIG Ten

    Member of the Epi- Core cardiac registry for COVID-19

    3

    Epidemiologist in the COVID-19 advisory group

  • Media Coverage

    Women in Ecology

    Nature Ecology & Evolution

    COVID-2019

    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, NYT

  • Social Me

    Check out my latest updates!