Concepts of Causality
in Biology and Medicine

Summer term 2007


Contact: Korbinian Strimmer, IMISE, University of Leipzig
Nihat Ay, MPI MiS, Leipzig

To register please send email to or to
Time: Wednesday, 16:15-17:45 (first meeting Tuesday 17 April 2007)
Place: MPI MiS, Inselstr. 22, seminar room A02 ("Leon Lichtenstein")
"Schein": Requires full attendance and the presentation of a talk



In this seminar we discuss some of the statistical and mathematical foundations of causality and causal modeling, with applications in biology and medicine. Causality is an important topic not only in all fields of complex systems studies (such as systems biology or econometrics/-physics) but also in medicine (e.g. clinical studies).

The seminar is intended for advanced students/researchers in mathematics, statistics, physics, and computer science. It requires some a priori knowledge of statistics and probability theory.


Reading List and Topics:

Please follow the links below to obtain a pdf copy of the paper (requires the appropriate licenses). The papers may also be obtained directly from the organizers, or from the internal IMISE paper archive.

Download reading list as text file.

  1. Overview and Introduction:
  2. Graphical Models:
  3. Potential Outcomes Theory:
  4. Miscellaneous:


The first meeting will take place on 17 April 2007 (assignment of talks). The following Tuesday (24 April) there is a causality workshop at MPI MiS that participants of the seminar are invited to attend. The introductory talks then start 8 May 2007 (as May 1 is public holiday).


Further Reading:

As background to the above papers we suggesting reading the following books:

  1. Pearl, J. 2000. Causality. Cambridge University Press.
  2. Rubin, D. 2007. Matched sampling for causal effects. Cambridge University Press.
  3. Shipley, B. 2002. Cause and correlation in biology. Cambridge University Press.
  4. Spirtes, P., C. Glymour, and R. Scheines. 2001. Causation, Prediction, and Search. 2nd edition. MIT Press.
  5. Cox, D.R., and N. Wermuth. 1996. Multivariate Dependencies. Chapman & Hall

Last modified:
April 16, 2007