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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

Work­ing field:

Math­em­at­ics, (bio)engin­eer­ing or (bio)phys­ics

Require­ments:

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.

How to ap­ply:

IMPRS Multiscale Biosys­tems gradu­ate school
https://imprs.mpikg.mpg.de/research/projects-2020/prj2k20-16