PhD position: Game Theory of Cancer Dormancy and Bone Metastasis
Stellenangebot vom 5. Dezember 2019
PI: Amaia Cipitria
In collaboration with: Angelo Valleriani
Project description: Cancer cells disseminate from the primary tumor and home to secondary organs where they can survive dormant for years, before becoming proliferative and leading to metastasis (1). We aim to model interactions between disseminated cancer cells and the bone microenvironment as a spatial evolutionary game (2). The model will (i) analyze the stable scenarios, where various bone cell populations co-exist with cancer cells, including realistic geometric constraints, such as the bone structure, and comparisons with experimental data, and thereby (ii) describe the path from an initial population of latent cancer cells to irreversible overt metastasis. First, a model of physiological bone remodeling will recapitulate the stable population balance between different kind of bone cells. Second, a model of pathological bone metastasis will capture the loss of stability in the formation-resorption process, when cancer cells are introduced as a new strategy, leading to bone destruction. Last, the nature of the cancer cells could be variable, from dormant, to slowly cycling to highly proliferative, in order to model the transition from cancer dormancy to bone metastasis. A special emphasis is laid on interdisciplinary research and close collaboration with scientists working with experimental cancer models (Fig. 1) will be expected.
Required background: MSc in applied mathematics, (bio)engineering or (bio)physics with good programming skills, attitude towards understanding theoretical and mathematical modeling and strong interest in the biology of cancer and bone metastasis.
References and papers to read before the interview:
1. Aguirre-Ghiso, J. A. (2007). Models, mechanisms and clinical evidence for cancer dormancy.
Nature Reviews Cancer, 7(11), 834–846.
2. Ryser, M. D., & Murgas, K. A. (2017). Bone remodeling as a spatial evolutionary game.
Journal of Theoretical Biology, 418, 16–26.