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Infectious Disease Dynamics: Theoretical and Computational Approaches

East Baltimore
4th term
3 credits
Academic Year:
2014 - 2015
Instruction Method:
Class Times:
  • M F,  3:30 - 4:50pm
Auditors Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor:
Derek Cummings

Biostatistics 621-623 or 651-653 or consent of instructors. In addition, one year of calculus is recommended.


Focuses on the dynamic processes that affect the spread of infectious disease. Presents basic conceptual approaches and a survey of specific theoretical and computational methods for simulating the spread of diseases. Specific topics include simulations of disease in small populations, and of the impacts of interventions; social networks and the links between transmission dynamics and the evolution of pathogens. Methods include deterministic, stochastic, age-structured and spatially structured models, social network theory, and other tools of systems epidemiology. Particular focus is paid to simple models of transmission and estimation of parameters describing the dynamics of transmission. Students will be comfortable constructing their own simulations of disease transmission. Concepts and methods are applied to historical epidemics, current emerging diseases and diseases of international public health importance.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Assess computational and theoretical studies of infectious diseases that appear in the literature
  2. Develop simple computational models of infectious disease to simulate the spread of an infectious disease in a population
  3. Distinguish between existing computational approaches and describe the relative strengths and weaknesses of each
Methods of Assessment:

Class attendance and participation 15%, 1-3 question quizzes on modules and readings (due before each class on those with modules or readings) 15%, Mini-midterm exam 20%, Project proposal 10%, Final project 40%

Instructor Consent:

No consent required