Personal profile

Research interests

My research is about mathematical modelling in biology. To understand how biological systems work, and how biological processed operate I develop mathematical models and analyse these. For instance, we can learn how a disease spreads, and what factors contribute to its spread by studying a mathematical model for disease spread.

My work spans several areas in biology. I am active in mathematical ecology, where I have worked on the effects of space and dispersal on the dynamics of populations. I have modelled and analysed the dispersal behaviour of several species. I have also investigated the dynamics of bumblebee colonies and investigated how stress can contribute to the decline of pollinator populations.

I am interested in evolutionary ecology. An areas to which I have contributed to in particular are the evolution of altruism and cooperation. I have studies this for various species and settings. An area I enjoyed working on was how recognition, in the form of green beards, can facilitate the evolution of cooperation. A further area in which I work is the evolution of pathogens, in particular the evolution of virulence.

I have worked extensively in mathematical epidemiology and on the formulation of models for various infectious diseases. I have worked on measles, meningococcal disease and HIV. I have contributed to a theory for the use of bacteriophage to control bacteria. An interesting aspect of mathematical epidemiology that I have developed is the interplay between human behaviour and the spread of an epidemic. This has been important to understand the effect control measures for covid-19.

More recently I have investigated how models can be linked to data and how we can parametrise or select models. This I have applied, for instance, in the analysis of animal movement patterns.

See Vincent Jansen's Google Scholar Citations

Personal profile


In these videos I explain I explain some of the common themes in my work and talk about bee colony failure. My work on how communities organise around common interests is explained in this video on the social butterfly effect, which was used to finding Twitter tribes

I was one of the first to show the effect of declining rates of MMR vaccination after a fake story about a link between the MMR vaccine and autism had started spreading in the UK. You can read the news flashes of that time here and here. The last sentence in the Science paper in 2003 that I wrote about that was "In their attempt to avoid the perceived risk associated with vaccination, parents' behavior collectively results in a substantial increase in the real risk of exposure to measles."  Now that fake news stories about vaccines have gone global, that statement has taken on a even larger relevance.

I have published with mathematicians, I therefore have an Erdos number of 4.

You can read more about what interests me in these blogs.


Barking beetle patterns. What does a mathematical biologist do?

Why Guinness has been good, even for you

What zoology has taught us about the Black Death

Trailblazers in Biology

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or