Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces - Department of Biomaterials
The Department of Biomaterials focuses on interdisciplinary research in the field of biological and biomimetic materials. The emphasis is on understanding how the mechanical or other physical properties are governed by structure and composition and how they adopt to environmental conditions.
PhD project Game Theory of Cancer Dormancy and Bone Metastasis at MPI of Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam
IMPRS Multiscale Biosystems graduate school
Mathematics, (bio)engineering or (bio)physics
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.
What we offer:
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 will be expected.