Jantien Backer was trained as a chemical engineer (at the Technical University Delft, MSc 1999) and she continued in more theoretical research on particle dynamics (at the University of Amsterdam, PhD 2006). She started modelling infectious diseases at the Central Veterinary Institute of Wageningen UR in 2006, working on a variety of topics and diseases. She studied the effectiveness of emergency vaccination and preemptive culling to control infectious livestock diseases, such as classical swine fever, foot-and-mouth disease and avian influenza. She also worked on (maximum likelihood and Bayesian) estimation methods for transmission parameters and test characteristics.
In 2014 she took up her current position at the Centre for Infectious Disease Control at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment.