EVECO links fundamental questions in population ecology and behavioural ecology to applied problems in health, agriculture or nature conservation. Major questions concern how the dynamics of host populations affect pathogen transmission and ultimately the force of infection on humans. The research often focuses on rodent-borne infections, the range of involved pathogens has during the last decade included viruses (hantaviruses, arenaviruses, filoviruses), bacteria (Yersinia pestis, leptospira, mycobacteria), protists (Leishmania spp), helminths or arthropods (fleas, ticks). Some of the work is of fundamental epidemiological value (e.g. Davis et al. 2004 Science, 2008 Nature; Reijniers et al 2012 Ecology Letters, 2014 Biology Letters, Gryseels et al 2017 PLOS Pathogens).
The group participates in several national and international research projects funded by UAntwerpen, FWO, VLIR-UOS, EU, DFG, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank African Centres of Excellence. The group has developed a strong network in Europe with among others Bernhard-Nocht Institute of Tropical Medicine (Berlin), University of Oslo, Liverpool University and in Africa (Sokoine University, Tanzania; Université de Kisangani, DRC; Mekelle University and Arba Minch University in Ethiopia and several other institutes in Central, Eastern and Southern Africa). The spokesman, Herwig Leirs, has been asked to participate as an advisor for several international rodent projects, or was asked for his advice by national or international authorities, including WHO, during some rodent borne disease outbreaks.