Ms Sara Loo
Research Associate

Ms Sara Loo

School of Biotech & Biomolecular Science

I am a mathematical biologist, using mathematical tools and models to explore evolutionary dynamics, with broad applications. I obtained my Honours degree in Medical Mathematics (Advanced) from the University of Wollongong in 2014, achieving First Class Honours with my thesis on the mathematical modelling of cancer therapy. 

In 2019 I graduated from my doctoral studies at the University of Sydney. My thesis presented mathematical models of human strategies, with a focus on reproductive strategies in hunter-gatherers. During my studies I was selected as a young scientist representing Australia at the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis, where I developed a model to study the cultural evolution of low fertility at high socio-economic status. 

Currently, I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Tanaka Lab. 

Room 2062, Level 2, Biological Sciences Building South E26, UNSW
  • Journal articles | 2022
    Loo SL; Tanaka MM, 2022, 'The role of a programmatic immune response on the evolution of pathogen traits', Journal of Theoretical Biology, vol. 534, pp. 110962,
    Journal articles | 2021
    Loo SL; Rose D; Hawkes K; Kim PS, 2021, 'Mate guarding in primates arises due to partner scarcity, even if the father provides no paternal care at all', Theoretical Population Biology, vol. 142, pp. 100 - 113,
    Journal articles | 2021
    Xiong X; Loo SL; Zhang L; Tanaka MM, 2021, 'Modelling the effect of birth and feeding modes on the development of human gut microbiota', Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 288, pp. 20201810,
    Journal articles | 2020
    Loo SL; Ong A; Kyaw W; Thibaut LM; Lan R; Tanaka MM, 2020, 'Nonsynonymous Polymorphism Counts in Bacterial Genomes: a Comparative Examination', Applied and Environmental Microbiology, vol. 87, pp. 1 - 16,
    Journal articles | 2020
    Loo SL; Rose D; Weight M; Hawkes K; Kim PS, 2020, 'Why Males Compete Rather Than Care, with an Application to Supplying Collective Goods', Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, vol. 82,
    Journal articles | 2019
    LOO SL, 2019, 'MATHEMATICAL MODELLING OF THE EVOLUTION OF HUMAN BEHAVIOURS AND STRATEGIC CHOICE', Bulletin of the Australian Mathematical Society, vol. 100, pp. 523 - 524,
    Journal articles | 2017
    2017, 'Further Mathematical Modelling of Mating Sex Ratios & Male Strategies with Special Relevance to Human Life History', Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, vol. 79, pp. 1907 - 1922,
    Journal articles | 2017
    Loo SL; Hawkes K; Kim PS, 2017, 'Evolution of male strategies with sex-ratio–dependent pay-offs: Connecting pair bonds with grandmothering', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 372, pp. 20170041 - 20170041,

I am passionate about using mathematical models to gain insight into how biological entities evolve over time. 

I am currently developing models that explore the evolutionary dynamics of pathogens and how mutations that occur within-host during infection affect the epidemiology and evolution of pathogens. I am also developing models of cultural evolution, to consider how dynamics of imitation and social learning can modify environments to affect the emergence of new diseases. 

Alongside this work, I continue to collaborate with colleagues at the University of Sydney on models of human life-history evolution and the evolution of reproductive strategies. 

UNSW Women in Maths & Science Champion (Early Career Researcher) 2019 - 2020