US-Africa Advanced Studies Institute on Mathematical Modeling of Infectious Diseases in Africa

June 11 - 22, 2007
AIMS, Cape Town, South Africa

Brenda Latka, (Program Chair), DIMACS,
Wayne Getz, UC Berkeley,
Abba Gumel, University of Manitoba,
Fritz Hahne, AIMS,
John Hargrove, SACEMA,
Simon Levin, Princeton University,
Edward Lungu, University of Botswana,
Fred Roberts, DIMACS,
Alex Welte, Wits University,
Presented under the auspices of the DIMACS Special Focus on Computational and Mathematical Epidemiology.

This Advanced Study Institute is jointly organized with African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), and
South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (SACEMA).

This Advanced Study Institute is jointly sponsored by:

Applications Requested from Interested Graduate Students

In Summer 2007, DIMACS/SACEMA/AIMS will hold an Advanced Study Institute on Mathematical Modeling of Infectious Diseases in Africa for students interested in this field. The institute will be followed by a research workshop that will serve as a capstone.

Location: African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS)
Capetown, South Africa
Dates: June 11 - 22, 2007 with a follow-up workshop in nearby Stellenbosch June 25-27, 2007
Funding: Participants travel and local expenses will be covered through funds provided by
DIMACS, SACEMA, AIMS, and the US National Science Foundation

About the Topic:

Mathematical modeling of the spread of infectious disease has a long history going back to Bernoulli's modeling of smallpox in 1760. In recent years, models have been vitally important in the development of approaches to such critical diseases as HIV/AIDS, which is of such importance to Africa. Modelers in collaboration with public health officials also played an important role during the 2003 SARS outbreaks and are already working to determine ways to contain the spread of a pending influenza pandemic. The DIMACS/SACEMA/AIMS Advanced Study Institute will provide a select group of students the opportunity for exposure to a field where there is a critical shortage of people with the necessary high-level skills and which has many exciting opportunities for research and practical application.

About the Advanced Study Institute:

The Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS), in collaboration with the South African Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation Centre of Excellence in Epidemiological Modeling and Analysis (SACEMA) and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), is holding a two week Advanced Study Institute on mathematical modeling and infectious diseases 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 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 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 mathematical epidemiology are encouraged to apply only for that second week. Various modeling paradigms will be discussed, as well as introductory lectures on related topics. 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 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.) About half of the students selected for the institute will be from the United States and half from 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 mathematical epidemiology is required.

The institute is structured so that week 1 will provide a basic background in epidemiology. Students who already have this background, specifically, coursework that includes SIR modeling, should apply for week 2 of the institute.

About the Location:

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is located in Muizenberg, a small seaside suburb of Cape Town and an area of outstanding natural beauty. Lecturers and students all live and dine at AIMS, allowing for maximal contact time in an informal and collegiate setting.

Additional Information: See the institute website to:

Send additional questions to, or telephone at (732) 445-4449.

This is part of DIMACS Special Focus on Computational and Mathematical Epidemiology

DIMACS was founded as a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center and a joint Project of Rutgers, Princeton University, AT&T Labs, Bell Labs, NEC Laboratories America and Telcordia Technologies. Affiliate Members: Avaya Labs, Georgia Institute of Technology, HP Labs, IBM Research, Microsoft Research, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Stevens Institute of Technology.

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Document last modified on November 27, 2006.