340.677.01 | AY 2013-2014 - 4th Term | 3 Credit(s)
MF 3:30:00 PM
  • Contact Information
    Derek Cummings
    Justin Lessler
  • Course Learning Objectives

    Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

    • Assess computational and theoretical studies of infectious diseases that appear in the literature
    • Develop simple computational models of infectious disease to simulate the spread of an infectious disease in a population
    • Distinguish between existing computational approaches and describe the relative strengths and weaknesses of each
  • Course Description

    This course will focus on the dynamic processes that affect the spread of infectious disease.  We will present basic conceptual approaches and a survey of specific theoretical and computational methods for simulating the spread of diseases.  Specific topics will include simulation of disease in small populations, simulation of the impacts of interventions, the effect of population heterogeneity on transmission, social networks and the links between transmission dynamics and the evolution of pathogens.  Particular methods to be covered include deterministic, stochastic, age-structured and spatially structured models, social network theory, and other tools of systems epidemiology.  Particular focus will be paid to simple models of transmission and estimation of parameters describing the dynamics of transmission.  A goal of the class is for students to be comfortable constructing their own simulations of disease transmission.  Concepts and methods will be applied to historical epidemics, current emerging diseases and diseases of international public health importance.

  • Intended Audience
    Master's and Doctoral students in International Health, Epidemiology, Biostatistics and other fields who have an interest in using simulation to study infectious diseases.
  • Methods of Assessment

    15% class attendance and participation
    15% 1-3 question quizzes on modules and readings (due before each class with modules or readings)
    20% mini-midterm
    10% project proposal
    40% final project

  • Prerequisites
    Biostatistics 621-623 or 651-653 or consent of instructors. In addition, one year of calculus is recommended.
  • Course Schedule

    Please see the course Session for a full list of dates and items for this course.

  • Academic Ethics Code

    Students enrolled in the Bloomberg School of Public Health of The Johns Hopkins University assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the University's mission as an institution of higher education. A student is obligated to refrain from acts which he or she knows, or under the circumstances has reason to know, impair the academic integrity of the University. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating; plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information to any agent of the University for inclusion in the academic record; violation of the rights and welfare of animal or human subjects in research; and misconduct as a member of either School or University committees or recognized groups or organizations.

  • Contact Information(from old syllabus)

    Derek Cummings
    Office: E6541

    Justin Lessler, PhD
    Office: E6545

  • Disability Support Services
    If you are a student with a documented disability who requires an academic accommodation, please contact the Office of Student Life Services at 410-955-3034 or via email at