An Introduction to Infectious Disease Modeling

Monday, June 24, 2019 - Wednesday, June 26, 2019 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM

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Course Description

The course will help students understand and develop and simple infectious disease models using R. Heavy emphasis will be placed on understanding key aspects in the design of these models, use of the epidemiologic literature to guide choice of model parameters and determining fit of the model to observed data. Each session is a combination of didactic lecture and hands-on practice. Students will learn how to construct different types of infectious disease models, how to obtain key parameter estimates from the literature and how to use models to gain insights into transmission dynamics and potential control strategies.

Course Objectives

The primary objective of this course is to provide students with the tools to understand and develop basic models of infectious diseases. To achieve this objective, students will gain facility in the use of R to (1) develop and/or run simple models of infectious disease; (2) compare model output to observed data and (3) use the models to provide insights into the natural history of an infection and potential control measures.


By the end of the course, students will be able to:


  • Understand and/or develop simple transmission models for sexually transmitted infections and respiratory transmitted infections
  • Read relevant articles to identify key parameters for input into the model(s)
  • Be able to understand concepts relevant to model calibration
  • Discuss methods for model validation
  • Incorporate different prevention and treatment strategies to examine impact on transmission and disease prevalence


No experience with R is assumed, but students should be familiar with computing in the Windows environment. A basic understanding of statistical and epidemiological principles is strongly encouraged but brief introductions to key concepts will be offered as necessary although focus will naturally be on developing models using R.




Students will need access to a computer with high-speed internet access with R and R studio installed. Instructions for installation will be provided by the instructor prior to the start of class.

Course Reading List

The course will use detailed handouts for programming. The lectures will incorporate examples from the literature to illustrate how to derive and/or obtain key parameters. At the end of the class, I will provide recommendations for texts for those interested in continuing to learn about infectious disease modeling.


Shalini Kulasingam, PhD, MPH

My research interests include human papillomavirus (HPV), cervical cancer, cancer screening, vaccines, and decision and cost-effectiveness modeling.


Course Fee

Registration is $625.00


The registration period has closed for this event.


University of Minnesota

West Bank Office Building

Room 405 (enter through the 3rd floor reception area)
1300 South 2nd Street
Minneapolis, MN 55454


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