Marta Pardo has a degree in Mathematics from the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) and a master’s degree in Advanced Mathematics and Mathematical Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Barcelona (UPC). She is currently part of the group of pre-doctoral researchers at the Center for Advanced Studies of Blanes (CEAB-CSIC).
Last September she joined the Mosquito Alert team to complete her doctoral thesis. Her doctoral thesis focuses on the study of the dynamics of diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, and also on the study of the different vectors that transmit them.
What led you to decide to do a PhD?
During the master I was working in a company like Data Scientist for two years, combining my studies and work. During this stage I decided to do my doctorate, since I did not see my future within the private company. I also love studying and learning new things and I think this is what a PhD offers me.
Have you encountered any obstacle to accessing a doctoral program?
I would have liked to be eligible for an FPI scholarship, but with grades below 7.5 it is very difficult to get one. My average grade was not high, so one of my problems was getting certain scholarships.
Why did you choose the Center for Advanced Studies of Blanes and Mosquito Alert to do the thesis?
I think it is a multidisciplinary project with many study possibilities, in which I will learn many things from different fields.
What is your current line of research?
My research focuses on the creation and study of mathematical models to study ecological and epidemiological processes. To carry out this type of study, dynamic systems are used mostly, that is, systems that describe the variation of certain variables as a function of time. In addition, we will also approach the study in a probabilistic way using stochastic systems.
How is the research work in your day to day?
Because it is my initial stage in the doctorate, my work focuses on training, for this I read papers by prominent authors on the subject, both by mathematicians and ecologists to be able to delve into ecological and epidemiological systems. In parallel, I program a simple user participation model in the Mosquito Alert app, so that later, with what I learned, introduce more complexity to the model and be able to better describe the process to be studied.
Why do you think the study of disease-transmitting mosquitoes is relevant?
Some species of mosquitoes are disease vectors, meaning they can transmit infectious pathogens. In this sense, I believe that it is vital to carry out preventive measures to prevent these species of mosquitoes from spreading as much as possible.
Math and mosquitoes? Could you explain us how these two factors can be related?
Mathematics describes the world and mosquitoes are part of it, therefore mathematics can be used to describe the life cycle of mosquitoes, as well as the diseases they can transmit.
Within mathematics is the area of dynamic systems, which are the equations that describe how certain variables vary as a function of time. In our case, the variables can be the number of eggs, larvae and adult mosquitoes, with this mathematical tool we can study how these quantities evolve over time, as well as determine what are the parameters related to these variables (fertility, larval development to adult mosquito …) that influence the decrease or growth of this evolution.
What expectations do you have of the doctorate?
None, enjoy the day to day.
What do you like most about your job?
The work environment, I feel very comfortable with people, and I feel that my opinion has a predominant weight over my work.