Hye-Won Kang and Wasiur KhudaBukhsh
Stochastic modelling is becoming increasingly popular in biological sciences. The ability to account for intrinsic fluctuations and uncertainty in experimental outcomes has been an advantage of stochastic methods. The application of stochastic tools has proven to be tremendously useful in analyzing biological data. In particular, stochastic methods have found usefulness in studying the spread of infectious diseases, in understanding the biophysics of enzyme kinetics, metabolism, immune-response mechanisms, in constructing phylogenetic trees etc. The objective of this two-part mini-symposium is to highlight some of the recent advances in the closely related areas of stochastic epidemiology and biochemical reaction networks - both at the molecular as well as the ecological scale. The first session will focus on epidemiology, while the second will discuss biochemical reaction networks in broad generality. Both sessions will cover a wide range of themes (including applications and techniques) giving a broad overview of the two fields. Specific topics include new asymptotic results/approximations, multiscale methods and statistical inference algorithms. Network-based approaches to epidemic modelling will also receive attention. With the recent Ebola and COVID-19 outbreaks in West Africa and China respectively, these methods are not only interesting from a theoretical standpoint, but also potentially important for timely public health interventions.