Mathematical Modeling of Infectious Diseases

EPI 266 Winter 2020 (1.5 unit)
Course Director: Travis Porco, PhD, MPH
Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics


This course is an introduction to concepts of mathematical modeling of infectious diseases; topics include branching processes and the basic reproduction number, dynamical systems, and methods for data fitting Including Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC). At the conclusion of this course, students will:

  • Understand key concepts of epidemic modeling (herd immunity, basic reproduction number, stochastic vs deterministic modeling);
  • Read and assess mathematical models based on their biomedical assumptions;
  • Understand selected methods for fitting mathematical models to data; and
  • Understand how to assess forecasts from mathematical models.

Probability theory or statistics. Exceptions to this prerequisite may be made with the consent of the Course Director, space permitting.

Course Director:

Travis Porco, PhD
Phone: 415-476-4101


Course content will be delivered through weekly interactive lectures. These will take place on Fridays from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM, Jan. 10 to Mar. 20.

The daily schedule of activities will be posted on the course's online syllabus.



Biomedical Informatics: Computer Applications in Health Care and Biomedicine (Health Informatics) by E.H. Shortliffe, J.J. Cimino. Springer-Verlag. 2006.

Books may be purchased either through the publisher or a variety of commercial venues (e.g.,


Grades will be based 10% on class attendance, 75% on weekly assignments, and the remainder on a take-home final examination.

Students not in full-year TICR Programs who satisfactorily pass all course requirements will, upon request, receive a Certificate of Course Completion.

UCSF Graduate Division Policy on Disabilities


To apply for this course, please fill out and submit the application below. Course fees are covered by the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and hence there is no charge for the course. The deadline for application is December 20, 2019. Only one application needs to be completed for all courses desired during the quarter.

The application is best completed using the latest version of Firefox, Chrome or Safari.