Belén García Pascual
I am a mathematician doing a PhD in Biomathematics in the Stochastic Biology Group at the University of Bergen, Norway. My supervisors are Iain Johnston and Jan Nordbotten. I have a master in Topology from the University of Bergen under the supervision of Morten Brun, and a bachelor in Mathematics from Complutense University of Madrid supervised by Luis Giraldo Suárez.
I work with mathematical models (deterministic and stochastic) to explain why throughout evolution, bioenergetic organelles (mitochondria and plastids) have ended up with the genes they do for different environmental dynamics. I also explore multi-scale, evolutionary systems using large computational models. Other research work focuses on the use of tools from topological data analysis to compare weighted hypercubes of progression pathways. I have also done research in generative artificial intelligence using large language models (LLMs) for synthetic patient data in healthcare .
Topological data analysis, LLMs, synthetic data, systems biology, mathematical modelling, complex systems, algebraic geometry tools in biology, biostatistics, phenotypic plasticity, mitochondria, cell biology.
PhD candidate in Biomathematics. University of Bergen. January 2021 - May 2024
Funded by the ERC-project ‘EvoConBiO’.
My research focus: reasons for organelle genome loss and organelle gene retention in eukaryotes under different changing environments and selective pressures.
Courses: BINF305 Systems Biology (Autumn 2021, grade A), MAT230 Non-linear Differential Equations (Spring 2022, grade A) and MAT902 Discrete Stochastic Modelling Applications in Cell Biology (Spring 2023, grade B).
Post-student. University of Bergen. Autumn 2020
Research in Topological Data Analysis.
Course: INF161 Introduction to Data Science.
Master in Mathematics: Topology. University of Bergen. August 2018 - July 2020
Master thesis: ‘Geometric Reconstruction and Persistence Methods’. Grade B. Master thesis.
Areas of expertise: Algebraic Topology, Topological Data Analysis, Differential and Algebraic Geometry.
Bachelor in Mathematics. Complutense University of Madrid. September 2013- June 2018
Generation of realistic synthetic tabular data in healthcare using large language models (LLMs) like GPT . Evaluation of the synthetic data employing a wide variety of similarity and privacy metrics and downstream machine learning models.
Attended the dScience Synthetic Data Generation Workshop.
Pedagogy course UPED600 Introduction to Teaching at University and Course Design. University of Bergen. March 2023. The final project designing the curriculum of a course in applied topology is available here.
Elective pedagogy courses UPED694 PhD Supervision and UPED695 Supervising Bachelor and Master Theses. University of Bergen. Spring 2023.
Guest lecturer in the course STAT202 Biostatistics, University of Bergen. Spring 2022.
20 students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Contents: mathematical models of ordinary differential equations. Equilibrium points and phase plane analysis in the framework of systems biology. Introduction to the database BioNumbers to find parameter values in molecular biology. Statistical models for cell division using classical probability distributions.
Sensor for two bachelor theses (STAT292). Spring 2021 and Spring 2022.
Private tutor in mathematics and physics for students from secondary school to first year university level. 2014 – 2019.
Conferences and seminars
Danish-Swedish summer school in TDA and spatial statistics, Aalborg University, Denmark. 26-30 June 2023.
Statistics seminar and self-selected topic: 'Model comparison via simplicial complexes and persistent homology' by Sean T. Vittadello and Michael P.H. Stumpf (2021), https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.211361. University of Bergen. 9 March 2023. Speaker. Slides.
Workshop "Sharing of teaching and learning in Statistics and Data science" , Bergen. 2 December 2022.
Tree of Life Colloquia to facilitate cross disciplinary discussion of diverse biological behaviour with different weekly foci. January 2021- November 2022. Co-organiser and speaker.
International Conference on Scientific Computation and Differential Equations SciCADE, Reykjavik, Iceland. 25-29 July 2022. Speaker. Slides .
Symposium: Determinants of Rates of Origination, Extinction and Evolution, The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Oslo. 28-29 June 2022.
Society for Mathematical Biology Annual Conference, online. 13-17 June 2021.
Center for Data Science CEDAS conference, Bergen. 1-2 June 2021. Co-organiser, responsible of the poster session in a hybrid set-up (using Discord).
Journal Club presentation of the paper 'The shape of things to come: Topological data analysis and biology, from molecules to organisms' by Amézquita, EJ, Quigley, MY, Ophelders, T, Munch, E, Chitwood, DH (2020), https://doi.org/10.1002/dvdy.175. 5 May 2021. Speaker.
Fundamental interactions between algebra and computation, Bergen. 22-23 April 2021.
Young Topologists Meeting, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland. 22-26 July 2019.
Languages: Python (Jupyter Notebook and Spyder) and R.
Volunteer in Pint of Science Norway 2023.
Beca Matrícula Scholarship from the Spanish State covering all tuition fees.
Academic years 2014-2015, 2015-2016 and 2016-2017.
Criteria based on the academic performance of the student and their family income.
Graduated with honours from high school covering all tuition fees of the first academic year of the bachelor, 2013-2014.
Competitive award with 10% success rate. My average high school grade was of 9.5 over 10.
Gender equality projects
GenderAct, 2021-2022. A project for cultural change and gender balance at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Bergen.
MathIsShe (MatEsElla), 2017-2018. Mentoring program for female students in STEM degrees in Spanish universities.
Cambridge English Proficiency (CPE). Level C2. July 2018.
Norwegian Language Course NOR-U3. Level B2, University of Bergen. December 2019.
Spanish – mother tongue.
Perhaps my biggest hobbies are plants, as I enjoy a lot gardening, indoor plants and plant shops. I also love The Lord of the Rings, classic movies (especially with Audrey Hepburn or Cary Grant), fashion, the northern lights and rock and (post-)punk music. The pictures below are of my dearest rabbit Dorothy ❤️