DIMACS Workshop on The Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases: Host-Pathogen Dynamics

September 23-25, 2002
DIMACS Center, CoRE Building, Rutgers University

Denise Kirschner, University of Michigan, kirschne@umich.edu
Alan Perelson, Los Alamos, asp@atlas.lanl.gov
Presented under the auspices of the Special Focus on Computational and Mathematical Epidemiology.

Co-sponsored by DIMACS and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund

Epidemic models of infectious diseases have been developed since the middle of the 1900's. Hundreds of mathematical models have explored the effects of both bacterial and viral pathogens on subgroups of human populations and this workshop will provide an overview. After decades of research focusing on infected patients and experimental animals, most modern research in microbial pathogenesis takes place at the level of cellular and biochemical mechanisms governing host-parasite interaction; however, studies at multiple scales will undoubtedly be needed for a deeper understanding of infectious diseases. For example, linking pathogen-specific information to that regarding the immune system will be critical for understanding the dynamics of most bacterial infections. Components of host-pathogen systems are so numerous and their interactions so complex that intuition alone is insufficient to fully understand the dynamics of the interactions. Mathematical modeling becomes an important experimental tool. Recently, models of host interactions with microbes have begun to appear, including models that explore bacteria-host level interactions. These models have studied, for example, antimicrobial chemotherapy, urinary tract bacterial infections, mycoparasite-immune dynamics, tuberculosis. Models of persistent viral infections, namely HIV-host models, also have a successful recent history. Many of the key results that have shaped our recent understanding of the T-cell and viral dynamics in HIV disease have come from mathematical modeling approaches. Many others have given insight into HIV-immune dynamics as well as disease progression. It is clear that models of within-host events are tied to population trends in diseases as well. A new line of research aims to link information obtained at the host level to predict both prevalence and incidence of disease at the population level. This workshop will focus on this line of research.
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Document last modified on February 15, 2002.