Sarah Cobey

From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki


I'm a doctoral candidate in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan. My dissertation is a blend of theoretical and statistical models of influenza virus dynamics.

Email: [lastName]

Main interests

I'm generally excited about the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases. From this setting, I love thinking about evolutionary accessibility, levels of selection, and robustness in evolution and in ecological-evolutionary dynamics. I also have a growing interest in model complexity, e.g., when to drop scales, discretize/use continuous approximations, include/exclude networks, finite/infinite populations, etc.


I've had meaningful encounters with:

  • Nonlinear dynamical systems
  • Adaptive dynamics
  • Methods in bioinformatics (ML and Bayesian phylogenetic analysis, codon models)
  • Agent-based modeling and genetic algorithms
  • (working on this one) Fitting nonlinear stochastic dynamics

I'm proficient in C, C++, Matlab, and (barely) R.

What I hope to get out of the CSSS

I'd really like to learn more about financial models, artificial intelligence, and neat quantitative methods. I'd also really like to strengthen my foundations in network theory, dynamical systems, stochastic models, and statistics.

Possible projects

One fun problem is how heterogeneity in hosts' immune responses might mediate competition among pathogens. What kinds of behaviors result when some hosts view different pathogens as identical? Bonus points: This problem happens to be biologically grounded!

I'd also be happy to work on a project exploring AI, public goods games, or parasitism gone bad (cooperation).

Other interests

Board games, card games, hiking, art