This Advanced Study Institute and workshop are jointly organized with the Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems (MITACS).
This Advanced Study Institute and workshop are jointly sponsored by:
About the Topic:
Economic epidemiology deals with the mathematical conceptualization of the interplay among economics, community organization, individual human behavior, and disease ecology to improve our understanding of the emergence, persistence, and spread of infectious agents and of optimal strategies and policy to control that spread. Mathematical models of disease spread already exist to allow the examination of the relative efficacy of particular intervention strategies at curtailing disease spread. However, these models frequently assume unmotivated levels of behavioral compliance, making their results difficult to interpret in real-world scenarios. To correctly evaluate health interventions and alternative public policies, models of disease spread must incorporate both group and individual behaviors (which are often the result of economic, and therefore quantifiable, considerations). Incorporating these behaviors entails important and complex mathematical challenges but is necessary in order to understand which of the theoretically efficient policies could result in the most effective real-world disease control.
About the Location:
Makerere University (http://www.mak.ac.ug/) is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Africa that is a center for research and higher education. Makerere is one of the nodes in the developing AMI-Net network. Students will be housed at the University's guest house and faculty and researchers at nearby hotels and bed and breakfasts, allowing for maximal contact time in an informal and collegiate setting. Good meeting room facilities with internet access and nearby catering will be made available by the University for a modest fee.
Applications Requested from Interested Graduate Students
About the Advanced Study Institute:
The Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS) and the Mathematical Biosciences Institute (MBI), in collaboration with the Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems (MITACS), are holding a two week Advanced Study Institute on economic epidemiology and its application to disease problems in Africa, culminating in a 3-day capstone workshop. The institute will train United States and African graduate students in mathematical epidemiology and the control of emerging and re-emerging diseases. The capstone workshop will enable institute students to interact and establish collaborations with United States, Canadian, and African researchers who are currently actively involved in the modeling of diseases in Africa.
The institute will consist of a series of lectures and tutorials on the design and analysis of models for such topics as the spread of emerging and re-emerging diseases. The first week will provide a basic introduction to mathematical modeling in epidemiology at a fast pace. This introductory week is designed to allow students who have never taken an epidemiological modeling course to acquire the necessary preparatory background they need for the second week. The second week covers more advanced material. Students with prior exposure to economic epidemiology are encouraged to apply only for that second week. Various modeling paradigms will be discussed, as well as introductory lectures on related topics. Additional ASI topics will include the basics of dynamical systems, equilibrium and equilibrium stability; basic tenets of population dynamics and epidemiology; ways to think about human incentives and model human behavior; the role that information about disease plays in determining human behavior; the benefits of surveillance; and methods of calculating and minimizing costs in dynamical systems. There will be a number of hands-on and computer exercises together with group projects to reinforce and extend the various concepts covered. Participants are expected to either continue the research project they begin during the institute or begin work on a new project when they return to their home institution, under the supervision of a mentor.
The inter-disciplinary workshop will bring together mathematicians, economists, epidemiologists, biologists, operations researchers, and others to focus on research challenges in this rapidly-developing field.
The main instructors are as follows. All are experts in mathematical modeling of infectious disease.
Criteria for Selection of Student Participants:
The institute is open to graduate students from all areas of science (genetics, bioinformatics, computational biology/chemistry, etc.) and mathematics. Students will be selected based on their applications, letter of recommendation, and letter of commitment from a mentor to support the continuation of the research project begun during the institute or a new project begun afterward. (The mentor and recommender can be the same.) Students selected for the institute will be from the United States, Canada, and Africa, creating an opportunity for establishing early collaborations between junior researchers.
We expect participants to have the following mathematical background:
Experience with computer algebra software would be useful but not required. To participate only in week 2, prior exposure to and experience with economic epidemiology is required.
The institute is structured so that week 1 will provide a basic background in economic epidemiology. Students who already have this background, specifically, coursework that includes SIR modeling, should apply for week 2 of the institute.
About the Workshop:
A three-day workshop will follow the Advanced Study Institute. The ASI students will be prepared to participate. Invited speakers from the United States, Canada, Africa, and elsewhere will be giving presentations. There will be expository presentations laying out the field of economic epidemiology, talks about research projects, and sessions devoted to research and data challenges. A poster session is also planned.
Additional Information: See the institute website http://dimacs.rutgers.edu/Workshops/ASIEconEpi/index.html to:
Send additional questions to Gene Fiorini, or telephone at (732) 445-0075.
This is part of the DIMACS/MBI US - African BioMathematics Initiative Project.