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Tackling the Within-Host Stochastic Dynamics of HIV Infection
(or: Why Virology Needs Theoretical Physicists)

Dr Tim Vaughan

Centre for Atom Optics and Ultrafast Spectroscopy,
Swinburne University of Technology

3:30 pm Friday, 15 May 2009, EN101 (Ground Floor, EN Building), Hawthorn.

The World Health Organisation estimates that nearly 1% of the world's population is currently infected with HIV -- the virus that causes AIDS. While advances in anti-retroviral therapy have led to significant improvements in the expected lifetimes of sufferers, the disease continues to claim the lives of over two million people annually.

Part of the difficulty in developing effective treatments is due to the overwhelming complexity of the infection dynamics -- much of which is only now being revealed through the application of modern laboratory techniques. Sophisticated models which extend the mesoscopic realism of stochastic models to the full macroscopic infection dynamics are therefore necessary in order to capture
important features of the infection process.

In this talk, I will demonstrate how the Poisson representations developed by Gardiner, Chaturvedi and Drummond promise to render the integration of fully stochastic continuous time models of the infection process numerically tractable, by allowing discrete birth/death processes to be exactly described in terms of equivalent sets of diffusion processes.

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