A software package for immunologists to learn simulation modeling

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Background: As immunology continues to become more quantitative, increasingly sophisticated computational tools are commonly used. One useful toolset are simulation models. Becoming familiar with such models and their uses generally requires writing computer code early in the learning process. This poses a barrier for individuals who do not have prior coding experience. Results: To help reduce this barrier, I wrote software that teaches the use of mechanistic simulation models to study infection and immune response dynamics, without the need to read or write computer code. The software, called Dynamical Systems Approach to Immune Response Modeling (DSAIRM), is implemented as a freely available package for the R programming language. The target audience are immunologists and other scientists with no or little coding experience. DSAIRM provides a hands-on introduction to simulation models, teaches the basics of those models and what they can be used for. Here, I describe the DSAIRM R package, explain the different ways the package can be used, and provide a few introductory examples. Conclusions: Working through DSAIRM will equip individuals with the knowledge needed to critically assess studies using simulation models in the published literature and will help them understand when such a modeling approach might be suitable for their own research. DSAIRM also provides users a potential starting point towards development and use of simulation models in their own research.




Handel, A. (2020). A software package for immunologists to learn simulation modeling. BMC Immunology, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12865-019-0321-0

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