Sylvia Ranjeva

PhD Student

205 Erman Hall
1103 E 57th St‎.
Chicago, IL 60637

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I am interested in the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases, and particular in the dynamical processes that shape pathogen diversity. I am a sixth-year MD/PhD student at the university of Chicago, completing my PhD under joint mentorship in the Sarah Cobey and Greg Dwyer labs in the Department of Ecology & Evolution. Prior to joining the lab, I completed my undergraduate studies in Engineering Science at Penn State University, where I worked with Dr. Steven Schiff to investigate the etiological and environmental factors that affect the incidence of post-infectious hydrocephalus in sub Saharan Africa. During undergrad, I also completed a research internship at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, where I studied the genetic basis of cell shape evolution in Neisseria. For my PhD work, I wanted to apply my foundations in mathematics towards models of disease dynamics that would have viable consequences for public health. My research focuses on fitting stochastic mechanistic models of disease transmission to data in order to quantify the ecological mechanisms that underlie pathogen dynamics. My first project focused on understanding the factors that drive the high prevalence and diversity of human papillomavirus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted infection. Particularly, we investigated the contributions of type-specific immunity, inter-type competition, and ecological differentiation among human subpopulations to the dynamics of HPV types. My second project focuses on quantifying the strength and duration of homisubtypic and heterosubtypic immunity to influenza viruses.


1.) Schiff SJ, Ranjeva SL, Sauer T, Warf BC, Climate Drives Hydrocephalus in East Africa, Journal of Neurosurgery Pediatrics 2012 Sep;10(3):161-7.

2.) Li L, Padhi A, Ranjeva SL, Donaldson SC, Warf BC, Mugamba J, Johnson D, Opio Z, Jayarao B, Kapur V, Poss M, Schiff SJ, Association of Bacteria with Hydrocephalus in Ugandan Infants, Journal of Neurosurgery Pediatrics, 2011 Jan;7(1):73-87.

3.) Veyrier FJ, Biais N, Morales P, Belkacem N, Guilhen C, Ranjeva S, Sismeiro O, Péhau-Arnaudet G, Rocha EP, Werts C, Taha MK. Common cell shape evolution of two nasopharyngeal pathogens. PLoS genetics. 2015 Jul 10;11(7):e1005338.