MEL-PLEX PROJECT 3
Is a biological tissue an engine and a cell a computer chip? At first glance, no; but surprisingly, there are remarkable similarities. A cell reacts like a computer to a input signal and by a complex interconnection of biochemical units, with cycles and feedback loops, an output signal arises that can change the behaviour and development of a tissue. In cancer, the control unit is damaged and a misdirected output-signal lets the cells growing and spreading, like an engine that is out of control, is overheating and at the end is collapsing. In my research, I am investigating the related signalling networks and their impact on the bio-mechanical metastasis growth behaviour in a three dimensional virtual skin equivalent to understand why an insufficient treatment regimen leads to unwanted cancer recurrence. The difficult control of such transformed cells by medication can be simulated with the help of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Furthermore, each human being on our planet is different and also different types of signalling may be relevant for the individual cancer treatment. A crucial part is the integration of patient data into the model to determine the respective best treatment-mix with the biggest impact and the fewest side-effects. The MEL-PLEX consortium stands at the front of advanced medical research encompassing network medicine, systems biology and personalized pharmacology and I am happy to be a part of this.
Hometown: Magdeburg, Germany
Study course: Biosystems Engineering at University Magdeburg
Research stays: GenDx Utrecht (NL), BioMed X Heidelberg (Ger), University Heidelberg (Ger)
Why ARE you doing a PhD?
I appreciate the freedom in this time and the challenging task managing the complexity in cancer and the own capacities during the emotional rollercoaster PhD project. Let’s find the underlying gist and the hidden dynamics in melanoma.