Sylvia Ranjeva

PhD Student

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

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Broadly, I am interested in the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases, and particularly in mathematical models of disease dynamics. My research focuses on the ecological mechanisms that maintain diversity in pathogen communities. My Ph.D. thesis work will investigate the effects of perturbations, such as vaccination, on the composition of viral communities. These findings will offer unique insight into clinical questions about the management of these diseases in real patient populations.

My research in the Cobey and Dwyer labs investigates the dynamics of human papillomavirus, a prevalent sexually transmitted virus and oncogenic pathogen. We are developing a mechanistic transmission model to infer the mechanisms that support stable coexistence of a large number of HPV types in the human population. Our model captures the stochastic dynamics of HPV infection. We use Bayesian inference via Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) to fit the model to the HPV in Men (HIM) dataset. This extensive multinational database contains longitudinal infection data and information about patient demographics and sexual practices that affect risk. These may be important in shaping the composition of the viral community. Ultimately, we will use these models to predict how population-level perturbations to HPV type distributions, such as vaccination, will affect the viral community. Furthermore, the model developed for HPV can be generalized to explore diversity in other pathogen systems.


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.