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Christopher Remien : Mathematical Models of Biological Markers

Indirect measurements are ubiquitous in the life sciences because it is often impossible or impractical to directly measure the process of interest. I will show how dynamic mathematical models of biological systems can aid interpretation of biological markers, focusing on the dynamics of acetaminophen (APAP, Tylenol) overdose and stable isotope signatures. APAP is one of the most common drugs on the planet. While safe in therapeutic doses, APAP is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States. I will present a mathematical model of APAP overdose that can be used to estimate time since overdose, overdose amount, and need for liver transplant from measurable markers of liver injury at the time of hospital admission. Similarly, stable isotopes are used by ecologists and forensic scientists as markers of diet and movement patterns. I will show how, with suitable mathematical models, stable isotope ratios of the hair of a murder victim were used to reconstruct the victim's movement history in the time preceding death.

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