PhD Position Improving Treatment of Metastatic Cancers

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: Temporary
Deadline: 16 Oct 2020

Within a Dutch National Foundation (NWO) project „Improving treatment of metastatic cancers through game theory and dynamical systems theory“, carried out between the Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering (DKE) at Maastricht University and the Delft Institute of Applied Mathematics (DIAM) at the Delft University of Technology, we are looking for a suitable candidate for a fully funded 4-year PhD position. This PhD candidate, hosted at the Delft Institute of Applied Mathematics, will, in collaboration with other members of our team, apply Stackelberg Evolutionary Game (SEG) theory, to design the so-called evolutionary therapies for specific metastatic cancers. Such therapies should replace the current standard of care in metastatic cancers where the maximum tolerable dose of treatment or treatment combination is applied until cancer progression, which innevitably leads to the evolution of resistence in cancer cells. The research will be carried out under supervision of Dr. Johan Dubbeldam (DIAM) and Dr. Katerina Stankova (DKE), and in the collaboration with the „Center of excellence for evolutionary therapy“ within the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, US, where new clinical trials on this type of therapy are being carried out. Therefore, visits to this center and workshops including researchers from there will be part of this project as well.

Tasks and responsibilities

The PhD candidate should:

  • Validate model parameters in game-theoretical models describing interaction of different types of cancer cells, with mice/patient data as an input
  • Analyze transient dynamics of the models and its stability properties
  • Find treatment protocols for these models using Stackelberg game theory and optimal control theory
  • Develop Model Predictive Control algorithms to be able to adjust the treatment protocols in real time, based on the difference between the model predictions and real measurements

This all will be done in collaboration with the supervisors and a postdoctoral candidate (at DKE), who will work on development of general SEG theory of cancer treatment.

Research at Delft Institute of Applied Mathematics (DIAM) is conducted in six research groups: Analysis, Applied Probability, Mathematical Physics, Numerical Analysis, Optimisation, and Statistics. Our research on the construction and analysis of mathematical models related to science and engineering is both fundamental and applied in nature and is often inspired by technical and societal challenges. We have, for instance, tackled complex mathematical problems to develop a model for predicting the flow of ash pollution after a volcano eruption. To come up with innovative solutions we maintain intensive contact with other TU Delft departments, technological institutes and research departments.

Besides research, education is an important cornerstone of our department. We teach the Applied Mathematics BSc and MSc programmes, as well as mathematics courses within other programmes at TU Delft, and national programmes such as “MasterMath”. Together with KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden) and the Technical University of Berlin (Germany) we have also initiated the international joint Master’s programme COSSE (Computer Simulations for Science and Engineering).

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