MTB Members


Maíra Aguiar – Group Leader

I am a mathematical epidemiologist working on infectious disease dynamics. With a multidisciplinary research profile, I am trained in dynamical systems theory, stochastic processes, nonlinear dynamics, bifurcation analysis and biostatistics, holding a double European PhD degree, PhD in Life Sciences, from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and PhD in Population Biology, from the University of Lisbon, Portugal.

I am the founder and group leader of the Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Group at the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics (BCAM) in the Basque Country, Spain, and my scientific interests addresses significant mathematical and fundamental questions in biology and medicine, with special focus on public health epidemiology modeling. I a member of the Board of Directors of the European Society for Mathematical and Theoretical Biology (ESMTB), serving as Vice-President from 2018-2020. As a member of the Basque Modeling Task Force, I am currently assisting the Basque Health Managers and the Basque Government during the COVID-19 responses.

Nico Stollenwerk – Experienced Researcher

I am a biomathematician working in population biology and complex systems throughout my scientific career. With previous experiences in European projects, mainly on influenza and dengue fever, I am currently a Visiting Researcher at BCAM, Bilbao, and an active member of the Basque Modeling Task Force (BMTF) on COVID-19.

Vanessa Steindorf – Postoctoral Fellow

I am a mathematician with a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics, having wide experience in teaching and mathematical modelling. My academic background is in Biomathematics, with emphasis on Epidemiology. I proposed deterministic models (ODEs, PDEs) to represent, to study and to analyse the behaviour of infectious diseases, focusing on vector borne diseases, such as Chagas disease and Dengue fever.
My research interest is to develop and to analyze mathematical models, to study the propagation of infectious diseases, presenting possible scenarios and assessing control measures.

Fernando Saldaña – Postoctoral Fellow

I am an applied mathematician currently working on the mathematical modeling of infectious diseases. I obtained a PhD degree in applied mathematics, with honors, at the Center for Research in Mathematics, Mexico. I am interested in applying mathematical modeling and computer simulation methods to real-world problems in biology, ecology, and public health. I have significant experience in the analysis and formulation of kermack-mckendrick-type epidemiological models, scientific computing, optimal control theory, and parameter estimation for ODE epidemic models. I have one year of postdoctoral experience working on COVID-19 epidemiological dynamics and I am currently studying connections between climate change and infectious diseases transmission, in particular, the spillover effect dynamics.

Akhil Srivastav – Research Technician

 I am a trained mathematician who received my Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Applied Mathematics from the School of Advanced Sciences, Vellore Institute of Technology, India. During my M.Phil and Ph.D., I worked on infectious disease modeling, such as vector-borne diseases and influenza. My current focus is on Covid-19 Modeling and Dengue Disease, as well as developing a good model, analyzing data with the model, and discussing control interventions (Optimal Control). My research interests include vector-borne disease mathematical modeling, Covid-19, infectious disease dynamics, mathematical modeling of social problems, non-linear dynamics, optimal control, and complex networks.

Bruno Guerrero – Research Technician

I am a Venezuelan physicist, graduated from the University of Los Andes (Venezuela), with an M.Sc. in Physics from the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research, and received a Ph.D. degree from the University of Navarra (Spain) within the doctorate program in Complex Systems. I trained in far-from-equilibrium statistical physics and non-linear phenomena, performed experiments and numerical simulations in granular matter, and have teaching experience in physics and biostatistics.
Throughout the years, my research has aimed to further the understanding of diverse collective behaviors appearing in complex systems, bearing in mind their direct applications in industry and everyday life. Formerly, I have focused on the study of granular phenomena,  shedding light on the dynamics of driven disordered systems and transport processes in confined geometries. Currently, I am more interested in developing bio-mathematical models to describe infectious disease spreading.

Rubén Blasco – Research Technician

I am a mathematician by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and I have experience in computer science programming and blockchain testing. I have recently received my master degree in Physics and Mathematics by the University of Granada. I consider myself as a curious person, who likes to apply mathematics in the real world. I have great interest in PDEs and predictive models, as well as in machine learning and AI. I am currently working in Collaboration with Biodonostia Health Research Institute on survival and cost-effectiveness analysis for the COVID-19 vaccination programmes in the Basque Country.

Luis Mateus – Research Technician

I am a mathematician currently working on my PhD project “Comparison, prediction and approximation in the stochastic modelling of biological systems”. I have done research on parameter estimation and model selection in a Bayesian framework using real world data.
Since February 2023, I am working as a Research Technician, under the supervision of Dr. Maíra Aguiar, on the project of territorial classification system to assess the risk of arbovirus outbreaks in the Basque Country.

Bechir Naffeti – Research Technician

I am mathematician working with a solid experience of the modeling of infectious diseases. Trained on optimization theory applied to real life problems, I use mathematical programming and methods to solve quantitative problems in many disciplines. I obtained a PhD degree in applied mathematics at the Faculty of Sciences of Bizerte in Tunisia, and I am currently a Research Technician at the MTB group at BCAM, working on immunological infectious disease modeling.

Vizda Anam – PhD Student

I have received my Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics from University of Gujrat, Gujrat, Pakistan. During my Masters, I have worked on wave models of partial differential equations using the Sinc-Collocation approach. I moved to Spain on October 2020 to work on my Ph.D. project “SEV-2017-0718” under the supervision of Dr. Maíra Aguiar at the Mathematical and Theoretical Biology MTB-Group. My Ph.D. project focuses on within-host modeling aiming to understand the host-immune components involved in disease progression. Applied to dengue fever epidemiology, I am developing within-host models to understand the immunopathogenesis of severe disease after a mild/asymptomatic primary dengue infection. This modeling approach will be applied to different infectious diseases.

Carlo Estadilla  PhD Student 

I am a Ph.D. fellow at the MTB group at BCAM. I am currently working on the cost-effectiveness of COVID-19 interventions including vaccination. I have previously done research on the optimal control, modeling, and forecasting of COVID-19. I took my graduate degree in applied mathematics from the University of the Philippines – Diliman, where I studied the optimal control of an HIV/AIDS epidemic model. My general interest is in the optimization of interventions and policies affecting population-level dynamics and behavior.

Bob W. Kooi, VU Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Visiting Fellow
I am an applied mathematician.  My main research interests are in the use of mathematical models to help solve problems in Ecology and Epidemiology. Research emphasis is on the application of bifurcation theory for the analysis of mathematical models based on processes and mechanisms at lower levels of  organization, such as the individual, to solve problems at higher levels, such as populations and ecosystems. Topics of special interest are the role of interactions between populations, such as predator-prey interaction, disease transmission, inducible defense mechanisms and competition on ecosystem structure and functioning.

Amira Kebir, IPEIT, Université de Tunis & Institut Pasteur de Tunis, Tunisia – Visiting Fellow
I am currently an Assistant Professor of applied mathematics at the University of Tunis, a researcher at the BIMS laboratory in Pasteur Institute of Tunis and I hold a Ph.D. on applied mathematics since 2010. I’m also the coordinator of the option BioS (Biosystematics) and an instructor on the research master’s program TICV at the University of Tunis El Manar. My expertise is in differential equations, optimal control, game theory and their application in epidemiology and ecology. My main field is to find optimal solutions for a large public health problem such as optimal vaccination strategies and optimal therapies.  For the past 5 years, I have been working mainly on mathematical modeling of epidemiological phenomena.

Zeineb Ouinissi, University of Tunis El Manar, Tunisia – Internship Student (From May. 2023 – June 2023)

I am a PhD student in applied mathematics at the BIMS laboratory of the Pasteur Institute of Tunis. I obtained my master degree at the University of Tunis ElManar. During my master, I worked on the modeling and mathematical analysis of the dynamics of cancer stem cells and the optimization of treatments. For my PhD project, I developing, analyzing and solving optimal control problems for mathematical models in immunology in order to better understand and interpret the immune response of different infectious diseases.

Former Internship Students

Silvia Garcia
University of Salamanca, Spain

From Sept. 2021 – March 2022

Stefano Spaziani
Politecnico di Milano, Italy

From March – July 2021

Irati Egigure
University of Basque Country, Spain

From Dec. 2020 – Feb. 2021


External PhD/Master Students

Chiara Cicolani
Erasmus+ Traineeship, University of L’Aquila, Italy
From Feb. – Dec. 2022

External Scientific Members

Andrea Pugliese
Università degli studi di Trento, Italy
Since 2019


Urszula Skwara
 Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin, Poland
(From Sept. – Oct. 2021)

Nico Stollenwerk
University of Trento, Italy
From Sept. 2020 – March 2021


Former Members

Nicole Cusimano
Postdoctoral Fellow (From Feb. 2020 – May. 2022)

Damián Knopoff
Postdoctoral Fellow (From Dec. 2020 – Jun. 2022)