Nena Bollen PhD Student (co-supervision G. Baele, KU Leuven)

Biographical sketch

Nena Bollen holds a master’s degree in bio-statistics from the KULeuven. Her interest in public health was sparked (a bit unconventionally) during her bachelor’s degree in sociology, where she became fascinated by how social factors can influence health on a population level. This interest has grown from social epidemiology to epidemiology in general, finding a niche in the study of infectious diseases. Her field of study lies in estimating viral spread using phylogeographic models. She also has a fondness for data visualisation projects.

PhD project

In 2020, Nena started a PhD co-supervised by Guy Baele at the Evolutionary and Computational Virology Lab (KU Leuven) and Simon Dellicour at the Spatial Epidemiology Lab (ULB).


Phylogeography reveals association between swine trade and the spread of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus in China and across the world
W.-T. He, N. Bollen, Y. Xu, J. Zhao, S. Dellicour, Z. Yan, W. Gong, C. Zhang, L. Zhang, M. Lu, A. Lai, M. A. Suchard, X. Ji, C. Tu, P. Lemey, G. Baele, and S. Su. "Molecular Biology and Evolution", Vol. 39, Issue 2, Pages msab364, 2022.

Exploiting genomic surveillance to map the spatio-temporal dispersal of SARS-CoV-2 spike mutations in Belgium across 2020
N. Bollen, M. Artesi, K. Durkin, S. L. Hong, B. Potter, B. Boujemla, B. Vanmechelen, J. Martí-Carreras, T. Wawina-Bokalanga, C. Meex, S. Bontems, M.-P. Hayette, E. André, P. Maes, V. Bours, G. Baele, and S. Dellicour. "Scientific Reports", Vol. 11, Issue 1, Pages 18580, 2021.

On the use of phylogeographic inference to Infer the dispersal history of rabies virus: a review study
K. D. Nahata, N. Bollen, M. S. Gill, M. Layan, H. Bourhy, S. Dellicour*, and G. Baele*. *Equal contribution
"Viruses", Vol. 13, Issue 8, Pages 1628, 2021.