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Tutorial addresses stochastic modeling in biological process

Population genetics, epidemics, competition, and predation are just some of the biological topics to which stochastic models can be applied. The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) will host a tutorial March 16-18, 2011, to introduce selected topics in stochastic models with an emphasis on biological applications.

Stochastic modeling is used to estimate the probability of outcomes in order to predict what conditions might be like under different scenarios. Rather than using fixed variables such as in other mathematical modeling, a stochastic model incorporates random variations to predict future conditions. An example is the study of protein function in molecular biology where stochastic modeling techniques are used to determine the functional roles of unknown proteins by integrating multiple sources of data about the protein.

An introduction to the basic theory of Markov chains and stochastic differential equations will be given at the tutorial, which will be held at NIMBioS on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus. In addition, applications of Markov chain models and stochastic differential equations will be explored in problems associated with enzyme kinetics, viral kinetics, drug pharmacokinetics, gene switching, population genetics, birth and death processes, age-structured population growth, competition, predation, and epidemic processes.

The tutorial is primarily geared toward faculty and graduate students in the biological sciences, but tutorial also suits faculty and students from other fields including those with primarily mathematics backgrounds who have had little exposure to stochastic modeling.

The tutorial will consist of a series of lectures and lab sessions by tutorial organizers and guest lecturers. Tutorial organizers include Edward Allen and Linda Allen (Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Texas Tech University) and Jie Xiong (Department of Mathematics, University of Tennessee).


Contact: Catherine Crawley
National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS)

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