Ben Ashby (PI)

Associate Professor
Department of Mathematics, SFU

I am a mathematical biologist interested in the ecology and (co)evolution of hosts and their parasites. I use mathematical models and simulations to study how parasites spread through populations and evolve traits such as infectivity and virulence, and in turn how this affects the evolution of host traits such as resistance or mating strategies.

Post doctoral researchers

Cameron Smith

Cameron Smith

I am a mathematical biologist who is interested in population dynamics and epidemiology, and applying stochasticity to mathematical models. My PhD centred on the development of “hybrid methods” and their implementation on reaction-diffusion systems. Currently, my work focusses on the investigation of within-host dynamics and the effects that these have on the evolution of pathogens along the mutualism-parasitism continuum, together with a small amount of work modelling some aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Outside of maths, I attempt to play football, enjoy taking walks and singing.

View Cameron’s Publications

PhD students

Jason Wood

Jason Wood

I am interested in using mathematics to help develop our understanding of eco-evolutionary systems, especially using computational methods. My current research investigates the coevolutionary dynamics of systems with three species involved; at the moment I am considering a Host – Parasite – Hyperparasite system. I completed my undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Physics (MMath) at the University of York in 2018 and my Master’s project focused on the swimming of microorganisms. In my spare time I like to read, take latin and ballroom dancing lessons, and play the niche sport of underwater hockey.

View Jason’s Publications

Master’s students

Niloufar (Niloo) Saeidi

Niloufar (Niloo) Saeidi

I am interested in computational biology, data science, and algorithms. I completed my bachelor’s degree in computer engineering and I was involved in two projects in the field of evolutionary game theory during my undergraduate studies. During my master’s degree, I will focus on the analysis of infectious diseases and genomic data. I enjoy strength training, biking, hiking, and playing the piano in my spare time.

Zahresh Walji

Zahresh Walji

My research involves mathematically modelling the evolution of parasites in hosts with varying climates, mainly temperature, as well as testing those models in the lab. I completed my BSc in mathematics in 2023 and microbiology in 2019, both at the University of Victoria. During my bachelors, I did research on the spread of COVID between cities as well as applications of bioinformatics. I also love teaching and I have been a private tutor since 2011. My hobbies include exploring new restaurants and cafes, camping, performing, traveling and spending quality time with my friends.

Undergraduate students

Alyssa Anderson

Alyssa Anderson

I recently completed my undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics at Simon Fraser University. This summer I’ll be conducting a USRA to investigate the mechanisms underlying immune regulation, focussing on the dynamics among negative regulators, host immunity, and pathogen infection strategies. In the future, I hope to pursue my master’s degree, and one day my PhD so that I can research and teach subsequent generations. In my spare time, I enjoy baking, outdoor activities, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

Parva Farsani

Parva Farsani

I am a third-year student pursuing an undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics at Simon Fraser University. I have a strong interest in biomathematics, and this summer I will be conducting a USRA, focusing on modelling the eco-evolutionary dynamics of microbes. I am passionate about this field and am eager to continue my education through graduate studies in biomathematics. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, playing chess, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

Research assistants

Sarah Abdullah

Sarah Abdullah

I am passionate about the intersection between public health and contemporary education. I am currently completing my Bachelors of Arts in Health Sciences from Simon Fraser University with a certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, where I’ve acquired a solid foundation in the determinants of health and factors involved in enhancing learning. In the future, I wish to work in a classroom setting as an elementary school teacher. I am working to develop collaborative workshops for teachers and researchers to bring mathematical epidemiology into K-12 classrooms. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, reading, and spending quality time with family and friends.

Alumni

Lydia Buckingham (PhD, 2024)

Scott Renegado (USRA, 2023)

Alistair Pirrie (PhD, 2023)

*Yvonne Krumbeck (PhD, 2022)

*Halimubieke Naerhulan (PhD, 2020)

Hettie Chapman (MMath, 2021)

Tom Griffiths (MMath, 2020)

Tim Coulter (MMath, 2020)

*co-supervised

Recent collaborators

Honorary group members

Herbert ‘Herbie’ Puppington

Herbert ‘Herbie’ Puppington

I joined the pack group in August 2020. I’m still young, but I’m growing fast and will be working hard on my recall skills and house training over the next few months. I have broad research interests and am keen to investigate anything new.