No photo of Dieter Heylen
  • Nationalestraat 155

    2000 Antwerp

    Belgium

  • Nationalestraat

    2000 Antwerpen

    Belgium

20202022

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Personal profile

Research expertise

Dieter Heylen is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Tropical Medicine (started for 50% in July 2020, from May 1st  2022 onwards: full-time), and head of the unit ‘Eco-modelling’ of the Biomedical Department. He obtained an Individual Global postdoctoral Fellowship (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, EU funding) with an outgoing phase at Princeton and Cornell University and an incoming phase at the University of Hasselt (Censtat-Interuniversity Institute for Biostatistics and statistical Bioinformatics). He graduated in Biology (specialization: Biochemistry/ Physiology) and obtained his PhD in Biology (2011). Between 2011 and 2017 he obtained two postdoctoral fellowships of the FWO. He also obtained a MSc. Degree in Statistics (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) and worked for almost a year as a statistical consultant in a pharmaceutical company (Johnson & Johnson). He started is academic career in 2005 at the University of Antwerp, where he developed an unique research line that focuses on the evolutionary ecology of ticks, tick-borne diseases and songbirds and the epidemiology of avian zoonotic diseases.

The Eco-modelling Unit aims to conduct innovative research in the field of mathematical modelling of dynamic biological systems. The unit, embedded in the Eco-Epidemiology group, executes targeted experimental work  as well, that in addition to correlative data will guide the parameterization of models in order to obtain a good comprehension of complex multi-host vector-borne disease cycles.  Building deterministic, stochastic, individual-based and Bayesian models, the unit tries to understand disease dynamics and interactions at the human-animal-ecosystem interface, in order to improve disease prevention and control. Microparasites characterised by strong ‘mass action’ (among which: directly transmittable viruses) and weak(er) mass action (vector-borne diseases) are covered. Research spans from the pathogen interactions within individual hosts, to the dynamics of pathogens and their vectors across time-space scales, to the eco-epidemiology of infectious diseases at population-level, including the impact of ecological change and of interventions. Additionally, key questions in evolutionary ecology of infectious diseases are addressed, including the evolution of virulence and host specificity, as well as host/pathogen community conditions shaping the likelihood of pathogen spill-over events.  

Network

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