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PHOL 419. Applied Probability and Stochastic Processes for Biology. 3 Units.

Applications of probability and stochastic processes to biological systems. Mathematical topics will include: introduction to discrete and continuous probability spaces (including numerical generation of pseudo random samples from specified probability distributions), Markov processes in discrete and continuous time with discrete and continuous sample spaces, point processes including homogeneous and inhomogeneous Poisson processes and Markov chains on graphs, and diffusion processes including Brownian motion and the Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process. Biological topics will be determined by the interests of the students and the instructor. Likely topics include: stochastic ion channels, molecular motors and stochastic ratchets, actin and tubulin polymerization, random walk models for neural spike trains, bacterial chemotaxis, signaling and genetic regulatory networks, and stochastic predator-prey dynamics. The emphasis will be on practical simulation and analysis of stochastic phenomena in biological systems. Numerical methods will be developed using a combination of MATLAB, the R statistical package, MCell, and/or URDME, at the discretion of the instructor. Student projects will comprise a major part of the course. Offered as BIOL 319, EECS 319, MATH 319, SYBB 319, BIOL 419, EBME 419, MATH 419, PHOL 419, and SYBB 419.