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Jessica King

Jessica King

Research Assistant

Research Assistant
Member type
Technical Staff
CIBIO-InBIO, Universidade do Porto, Campus de Vairão, Rua Padre Armando Quintas. 4485-661 Vairão, Portugal

In 2015, I concluded my BSc degree in Biology, with a specialization in Evolutionary Biology and Development, at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon. I continued my strong interest in Evolutionary Biology with an MSc course in Evolutionary Genetics at the School of Biological Sciences of the University of Edinburgh.

I am very interested in evolutionary biology, ecology and mathematics, and in particular in the interface between all three fields. Prior to going to Edinburgh, I acquired research experience in experimental evolutionary biology, as an intern in the laboratory of Dr. Patrícia Beldade, at the Gulbenkian Institute of Science.

My interest in studying the theoretical aspects of biology, in particular in the area of evolutionary biology and ecology, motivated me to take up a theoretical MSc research project that lay at the interface between these fields. For my MSc project (supervised by Dr. Jarrod Hadfield, University of Edinburgh), I developed mathematical models of phenotypic evolution in heterogeneous environments, via the evolution of local genetic adaptations to the environment and the evolution of phenotypic plasticity.

My experience in Edinburgh fueled my interest in biomathematics, which led me to apply for the project I currently work on, with Dr. Gabriela Gomes (CIBIO-InBIO) and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine) and Prof. Isabel Labouriau (Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto). The project concerns the ability of the bacterium Wolbachia, which is a symbiont of many insects, to modify host susceptibility to viral infections. The introduction of Wolbachia into disease vectors is being considered to reduce the transmission of dengue, chikingunya and zika viruses. I will hereby develop mathematical models informed by available data to investigate 1) the conditions for Wolbachia invasion, and 2) the resulting impact on human disease incidence.

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