Mathematical tools make it possible to bring together research from different disciplines in order to achieve synergy. This is essential for gaining new insights into areas such as the spread and control of infectious diseases. I see it as my job to promote the added value of this strategy and to encourage a multidisciplinary approach.
Mirjam Kretzschmar studied Mathematics and Biology at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz and Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen (Germany). She obtained her doctorate with the highest possible distinction for her research into models for parasitic infections.
From 1987 to 1992, Mirjam Kretzschmar worked at research institutes in Germany, the Netherlands, the United States and the United Kingdom. During this period, her main focus was on theoretical research into mathematical models that can clarify the interactions between different populations.
When she joined the RIVM in 1992, Mirjam Kretzschmar shifted her focus to applied research. At present, she primarily uses mathematical methods and models to obtain a new understanding of the spread of infectious diseases and the possible effects of interventions. Organizations such as the Health Council of the Netherlands use this information in formulating policy recommendations, for example on whether or not to vaccinate against a particular infectious disease, or in preparing for a possible flu outbreak.
Since 2008, Mirjam Kretzschmar has also been an associate professor at the University Medical Center Utrecht. By facilitating cooperation between various faculties in a virtual research centre – the Utrecht Centre for Infection Dynamics – she is seeking to bring about greater collaborative effectiveness in this field of research. As of June 2014 she is Professor Dynamics of Infectious Diseases at Utrecht University.
Areas of expertise
- Mathematical disease modelling
- Infectious disease dynamics
- Modelling of intervention strategies
- Disease burden estimation