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    We are hiring!

    Looking for two Postdoctoral Research Associates

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    Details:

    We’re interested in working with people who like to ask big, interesting questions that ecompass evolution, epidemiology, ecology and bahavior. We particularly welcome people who are (or are striving to be) independent, self-motivated, collaborative, and excited to learn. We encourage applicants from all backgrounds: our work thrives on the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people with diverse interests and life experiences.

     

  • Who

    I'm an assistant professor @ Cornell University Vet School. I lead a team of transdisciplinary researchers to shape, develop and coordinate integrative research into how data-driven modeling to end current and prevent future pandemics. 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. After a MRC postdoctoral fellowship (2013-2015) @ Imperial College, Infectious Diseases Epidemiology Department, I took a postdoctoral position @ the Odum School of Ecology, UGA, on the ecology & evolution of vaccine preventable childhood diseases (2015-2019). Prior to joining Cornell, I was faculty at IU SPH (2019-2023), and while on extended sabattical, I took a position at Rockefeller Foundation (2022-2023) as Director of Science.

    What

    I am building a transdisciplinary research program that leverages mathematical and computational modeling, machine learning, and data science to identify the eco-evolutionary, demographic, and environmental drivers of pathogen emergence, persistence, and spread. My lab focuses on the ecology of infectious diseases in humans and other animals. Our 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. Tackling biological questions of public application and importance. The majority of my body of work has been on diseases dynamics, with a view to understanding fundamental processes in ecology and evolution. The lab 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.

    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).

    How

    At the Bento Lab our approach is to develop 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. We use a combination of mathematical modelling, phylodynamics approaches and cutting-edge statistical inference techniques. We focus on developing coupled models (epi-econ, evo-eco) to holistically understand a system. With these methods we are able to make quantitative, testable predictions and confront process-based models with parallel data streams. This is the central premise of my lab's research program and the common thread of our work.

  • Selected ongoing projects

    A selection of projects our lab is involved 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 and schistosomiasis. We formalize scientific hypotheses as mathematical models to make precise predictions and powerful inference.

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    Adaptive behavior and disease transmission

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

    In collaboration with Dan Kaffine Akhil Rao & Antonio Bento

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    Evolution of resistance to Schistosomiasis

    Investigating population structure and differential transmission potential in snail populations in Senegal.

    In collaboration with Jason Rohr, Maurine Neiman & Curt Lively

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    Alpha and Beta CoVs spillover risk

    Spillover risk surveillance- big brown bats in Colorado

    In collaboration with Rebekah Kading

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    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

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    Bacterial Evolutionary Signatures

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

    In collaboration with Andy Preston, Matthew Hahn & Michael Weigand

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    Tick borne emergence

    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, Curt Lively & Ellen Ketterson

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    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 

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    Investigating the spread of mosquito-borne diseases in complex urban environments

    Mathematical models for MBDs

    In collaboration with Marco Ajelli & others

  • Selected Publications

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

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    Early risk-assessment of pathogen genomic variants emergence

    Susswein et al 2023 MedRxiv

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    Estimation of the incubation period and generation time of SARS-CoV-2 Alpha and Delta variants from contact tracing data

    Manica et al 2023 Epidemiology & Infection

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    Genomic epidemiology sheds light on the recent spatio-temporal dynamics of Yellow Fever virus and the spatial corridor that fueled its ongoing emergence in southern Brazil

    Giovanetti et al 2023 MedRxiv

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    Wastewater surveillance of pathogens can inform public health responses

    Diamond et al 2022 Nature Medicine

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    Disease-economy trade-offs under alternative pandemic control strategies

    Ash et al Nature comms 2022

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    Model-based evaluation of alternative reactive class closure strategies against COVID-19

    Liu et al 2022 Nature comms

     

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    Designing isolation guidelines for COVID-19 patients with rapid antigen tests

    Jeong et al Nat comms 2022

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    Vaccinations Against COVID-19 May Have Averted Up To 140,000 Deaths In The United States

    Gupta et al 2021 Health Affairs

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    Revisiting the guidelines for ending isolation for COVID-19 patients

    Jeong et al 2021 eLife

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    Prevalence of Clinical and Subclinical Myocarditis in Competitive Athletes With Recent SARS-CoV-2 Infection. Results From the Big Ten COVID-19 Cardiac Registry

    Daniels et al JAMA Cardio. 2021

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    HIV cases during the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan

    Ejima et al JAIDS 2021

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    Global effects of delays in detection of COVID-19

    nearing submission (available upon request)

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

    Ejima et al. Epidemics 2021

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

    Bento et al PNAS 2020

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

    Liu et al. Plos Comp Bio 2020

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

    Andersen et al. 2020

    medRxiv

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

    Greischar et al. JID 2020

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    Tracking public and private response to the covid-19 epidemic

    Gupta et al. NBER 2020

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

    Ejima et al medRviv 2020

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

     

    Bento et al. 2018. Vaccine

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    Maternal pertussis immunisation: clinical gains and epidemiological legacy

    Bento, King & Rohani. 2017. Eurosurveillance

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    Forecasting epidemiological consequences of maternal immunization

    Bento & Rohani 2016. Clinical Infectious Diseases

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    EpiJSON: A unifed data-format for epidemiology

    Bento & Rohani 2016. Clinical Infectious Diseases

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

    Finnie et al. 2016. Epidemics

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

    Garnier et al. 2017

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

    van Kerkove et al. 2015. Scientific Data

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

    Donnelly et al. 2015. Veterinary Record

     

     

  • The Bento lab

    Get to know us & join us!

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    Ana Bento

    PI

     

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    Yining Sun

    PhD Student

     

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    Laura Alexander

    Researcher Assistant

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    Robel Kassa

    Product developer

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    Agastya Mondal

    Former Research Assistant

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    Mina Parastarn

    Former Engineer

     

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    Cate Heine

    Former Research Assistant

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    Kaithlyn Jonhson

    Former Postdoc

     

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    Zachary Susswein

    Former Research Assistant

     

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    Maria Litvinova Former Postdoc 

     

  • Teaching | Mentoring | Workshops

    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

     

    I have also organized NSF funded workshops on addressing complex systems problems

    These are examples of some courses I have designed and or taught:

    Moving towards a holistic transdisciplinary view to Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases                       

    2022 NSF funded transdisciplinary workshop

    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

    R bootcamp

    Self guided workshops

    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 code along workshop

    Introduction to modelling with R - based on a course i designed while at UGA

  • Advisory Modeling & Policy-related work

     

    1

    WHO

    Technical Advisory Group for educational institutions and COVID-19

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    BIG Ten

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

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    US Track & Field

    Epidemiologist in the COVID-19 advisory group

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    PAHO

    Develop federated data sharing & modeling

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    FIOCRUZ

    Early Warning Tools for emerging pathogens

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  • Bento Lab values

    In our lab, we differ in many ways, from where we come from geographically and socioeconomically to how we live and identify. What we share is a commitment to making our communities more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and just, and to creating a space where we all feel safe, welcomed, respected, celebrated, and empowered, not in spite of but because of our differences. We strive for excellence as scholars, as scientists, as teachers, and as members of our communities, which include our lab group, our department, our university, our fields of study, our scientific societies, and our city, Ithaca, NY. We can achieve excellence only by including, listening to, and advocating for individuals representing a diversity of races, ethnicities, educational and socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, ages, religious beliefs, and immigration experiences.

    We recognize the deep-seated inequity of our society, of academia, and of science and the perpetuation of systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, ableism, and other exclusionary, discriminatory, and hateful practices that have made academia and science inaccessible, hostile, and unsafe for many. We understand that responsibility for change lies with all of us. We commit to effecting change by:

    • Informing our actions by educating ourselves on systemic exclusion and oppression in our communities
    • Investing in recruiting and mentoring trainees from marginalized groups
    • Committing to equitable and inclusive hiring practices
    • Improving our work environment to remove barriers and accommodate every person
    • Reserving time for discussing concerns about inclusivity and safety, rewarding open dialogue with appropriate changes, and respecting anonymity
    • Defending the expansion of “excellence” to include skills, efforts, and experiences that have been historically undervalued and discouraged
    • Making thoughtful, equitable decisions about who we choose to work with, invite, nominate, and cite
    • Seeking opportunities to learn and acknowledge the historical context of our field (the good and the ugly) and to teach marginalized perspectives in the classroom
    • Actively contributing to increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in our department
    • Addressing actions or words that do not uphold our lab values and supporting one another in working towards our goals as a lab

     

    ~ The Bento Lab, 1/1/2024. This is a living outline of our values and guidelines. We will revisit it annually to determine if we’re acting in a manner that prioritizes our values and revise it to reflect changes in our community.

     

  • Socials

     

     

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  • Media Coverage

    Links to selected coverage of our work

    Manuscripts & other results

    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, NIA, Sinclair

    Women in Ecology

    Nature Ecology & Evolution

    AJPH Podcast

    Recording available here

  • Check out our latest updates!