Mathematical Biology Seminar

Timothy Reluga
Department of Mathematics, Penn State University,
Wednesday November 19, 2008
3:05pm in LCB 215
"Accounting for self-interest in the public-health management of infectious diseases.

Abstract: In his classical text on the history of the Peloponnesian war, Thucydides provides a description of one of the eternal challenges to all nations: the devastation that can be caused by an epidemic. Infectious diseases continue to plague nations around the world. While vaccines and modern medicine have greatly reduced disease burdens in many parts of the world, pressures from continually growing human populations and microbial evolution are eroding our advances. Today, management problems are as much social as biological. In this talk, I'll describe some contemporary challenges we face in managing infectious disease. Using game theory, dynamical systems, and Markov decision process theory, and other methods, we can formulate and solve a rich and understudied set of problems with practical implications.