BCAM welcomes Professor Amira Kebir through Science by Woman programme under the Women for Africa Foundation

  • Kebir will work along with Maira Aguiar, group leader of the Mathematical and Theoretical Biology group, on the development and expansion of RepairX, a decision tool for deploying vaccinations efforts in the context of COVID-19

Amira Kebir is an Assistant Professor of applied mathematics at the University of Tunis and a researcher at the BIMS laboratory at Pasteur Institute of Tunis. Her research interests include the application of mathematical and computational models in biology and public health. She has an interesting background in population modeling as well as its mathematical and numerical analysis and been involved in several research projects related to health programs like Covid-19 and cancer.

The motivation on studying applied mathematics stems from her passion for problem-solving and the beauty of the abstract concepts of mathematics. “The ability to apply these concepts to real-world problems and make a difference in people's lives is what keeps me going. I am constantly learning and pushing the boundaries of my knowledge, which makes my research career both challenging and fulfilling”, explains Amira Kebir.

She will work with the Mathematical and Theoretical Biology (MTB) group at BCAM on the development and expansion of RepairX, a decision tool for deploying vaccination efforts in the context of COVID-19. “I am excited about the opportunity to work with Maíra Aguiar and the MTB team at BCAM to contribute to innovative research that has the potential to make a real impact in the field of life sciences. The MTB team is a newly established and growing research group that collaborates with many scientists internationally, and I am excited about the opportunity to work with such a highly interdisciplinary group”, remarks.

Joining MujeresxÁfrica project was the perfect motivation and opportunity to collaborate with other researchers in the field of applied mathematics and contribute to a project aimed at improving vaccination of COVID-19. “The MujeresxÁfrica project's focus on gender equality and empowering women in Africa, and it aligns well with my personal values and research interests. As a mathematician, I believe that our field has the potential to make a significant impact in many areas of society, including health, the environment, and social justice. Being part of the MujeresxÁfrica project provides me with an opportunity to apply my skills and expertise to a project that can make a difference in the lives of African women”.

The objective of this project is to incorporate age-specific transmission dynamics, risks of severe disease, and mortalities associated with the distribution of vaccine statuses and disease recovery statuses into the SEIR/D model. “This will enable us to determine the optimal age- and stage-class vaccination effort and compare the effects on case severity, hospitalizations, and mortality with existing or other proposed strategies”, explains Amira Kebir. “The goal is to find the optimal vaccination strategy for each age group in a high seroprevalence situation, while minimizing the number of severe cases or deaths. Additionally, we will be investigating the optimal administration of an additional vaccine dose and its impact on severe cases and deaths”. The project will be working on African countries as Senegal, Madagascar, Tunisia, and Cameroon, where they already have serological survey data from Spike-directed Abs obtained during the REPAIR project”.

Choosing the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics - BCAM as her host institution relies on her willingness to install new, stable, and valuable collaborations with other researchers from diverse backgrounds and expertise and to contribute to innovative research that can have a real impact in the field of life sciences. “I am looking forward to working on the Vaccination Optimization project, which is a significant challenge, and it requires the collaboration of researchers from different fields. I anticipate that working at BCAM will provide me with the opportunity to engage with a community of scientists who value collaboration, innovation, and excellence, and I look forward to building new relationships with researchers and making valuable contributions to the scientific community”, adds the Proffessor. 

Foundation Mujeres x Africa

FM´A is a Spanish private, non-profit entity created in February 2012 by María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, the former vice president of the Government of Spain. Its mission is “to promote African women’s leadership in scientific research and technology transfer and to foster the capacity of the research centres in their home countries”.