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  1. In this paper, we show that solutions to ordinary differential equations describing the large-population limits of Markovian stochastic epidemic models can be interpreted as survival or cumulative hazard functions when analysing data on individuals sampled from the population. We refer to the individual-level survival and hazard functions derived from population-level equations as a survival dynamical system (SDS). To illustrate how population-level dynamics imply probability laws for individual-level infection and recovery times that can be used for statistical inference, we show numerical examples based on synthetic data. In these examples, we show that an SDS analysis compares favourably with a complete-data maximum-likelihood analysis. Finally, we use the SDS approach to analyse data from a 2009 influenza A(H1N1) outbreak at Washington State University.
  2. Abstract Motivation

    Advances in experimental and imaging techniques have allowed for unprecedented insights into the dynamical processes within individual cells. However, many facets of intracellular dynamics remain hidden, or can be measured only indirectly. This makes it challenging to reconstruct the regulatory networks that govern the biochemical processes underlying various cell functions. Current estimation techniques for inferring reaction rates frequently rely on marginalization over unobserved processes and states. Even in simple systems this approach can be computationally challenging, and can lead to large uncertainties and lack of robustness in parameter estimates. Therefore we will require alternative approaches to efficiently uncover the interactions in complex biochemical networks.


    We propose a Bayesian inference framework based on replacing uninteresting or unobserved reactions with time delays. Although the resulting models are non-Markovian, recent results on stochastic systems with random delays allow us to rigorously obtain expressions for the likelihoods of model parameters. In turn, this allows us to extend MCMC methods to efficiently estimate reaction rates, and delay distribution parameters, from single-cell assays. We illustrate the advantages, and potential pitfalls, of the approach using a birth–death model with both synthetic and experimental data, and show that we can robustly infer model parameters using a relativelymore »small number of measurements. We demonstrate how to do so even when only the relative molecule count within the cell is measured, as in the case of fluorescence microscopy.

    Availability and implementation

    Accompanying code in R is available at

    Supplementary information

    Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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