University of Antwerpen (Belgium)

University of Antwerpen (Belgium)

University of Antwerpen (Belgium)

Herwig LEIRS (coordinator)

Professor, Department of Biology, Evolutionary Ecology Group; University of Antwerp



Since his PhD on the population dynamics of the African multimammate mouse, Herwig Leirs has been involved in biology, (applied) ecology, zoonosis epidemiology and integrated pest management research of rodents. His main fundamental interest is to explain rodent population fluctuations and how the ecology of hosts affects the transmissions of pathogens in the population. These insights then also allows more targeted interventions, an approach called Ecologically-Based Rodent Management that he and colleagues introduced approx. 20 years ago and that has developed considerably since then. His association with the Danish Pest Infestation Laboratory (Head of Department for 5 years, afterwards part-time senior researcher) allowed him to gain experience with practical rodent control technologies and applications.

He has been coordinator, participant or advisor for several research projects focusing on ecology, biodiversity, zoonosis epidemiology and pest control of rodents, many of them with international funding. The activities of his research group in these projects involve considerable amounts of field work (in Europe and Africa), molecular analyses in the lab for species identification and pathogen diagnosis, ecological modelling. He has a strong  publication record (>250 scientific papers, Google Scholar h-index=51) and regularly appears in public media. He frequently participated and organised international meetings, and was invited several times as keynote speaker. In 2018 he was awarded a “Lifetime Recognition of Excellence” at the 6th International Conference of Rodent Biology and Management.

As a professor in Antwerp, he is teaching several courses in zoology and in (applied) population ecology and leading the Evolutionary Ecology Group in the Dept of Biology. He has supervised a number of Ph.D.-students (28 completed, 10 ongoing.



Post-doc in eco-epidemiology


Vincent Sluydts is a postdoctoral researcher in the Evolutionary Ecology group with a broad interest in a variety of ecology and epidemiology related subjects. He completed his PhD on the ecology of an African rodent, which is regarded as an important agricultural pest. He shifted his interest towards epidemiology of malaria in South-East Asia, working as a trial coordinator for the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp studying the impact of mass-distribution of topical repellents on the transmission of malaria. After he returned to the University of Antwerp where he participated and coordinated several research projects on the dynamics of pests, diseases and beneficial insects in greenhouses, as well as on leptospirosis in rodents in Asia in as a researcher for the Julius Kühn-Institute in Germany. At the university he is involved in teaching courses on statistics to Bachelor and Master biology students.



Post-doc in eco-epidemiology



Hanne Goris. 2021. Univ Antwerp. The effects of biodiversity on leptospirosis in rodents in contrasting environments.

Hubert Marine. 2021. Univ Antwerp. How the transmission of rodent-borne viral diseases is affected by the biodiversity in Antwerp, Belgium.


Modification date : 18 July 2023 | Publication date : 09 March 2021 | Redactor : N Charbonnel