BioEngineering Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Study of Cancer Growth and Treatment

MentorHermann Frieboes
Research Lab/LocationInterdisciplinary Oncology Laboratory, Lutz 416 and CTR 210
Description of ResearchIn order to study cancer as a physical system, it is necessary to apply engineering and physical sciences approaches tightly integrated with experimental data and clinical observations.  The aim is to predict tumor growth from the molecular and cellular scale events, with the ultimate goal to help analyze tumor behavior for specific patients.  The work begins with model development that describes tumor behavior in the language of mathematics and physics.  Model parameter values are calibrated from experimental data.  The experiments include culturing tumor cells in the laboratory, analysis of histopathology of tumor biopsy specimens, and measurements and observations from previous work in the literature.  The effects of varying the model parameters are then studied to predict the tumor behavior and to design optimal therapy.  This process is iterative, with the findings used to refine the underlying model as well as to guide the experiments. This bioengineering work provides interdisciplinary exposure to the latest research and technologies in the exciting fields of cancer biology, scientific computing, data visualization, mathematical biology, and physical oncology.  Ongoing studies can be divided into the following scientific areas:
i.    Study of tumor progression as a function of molecular- and cell-scale events;
ii.    Advancement of mathematical modeling and computational simulation to characterize tumor growth;
iii.    Modeling and simulation of cancer nanotherapy;
iv.    Integration of modeling and experimentation to characterize cancer treatment response.

Computer simulation of a growing brain tumor.  Vessels (with blood, red; without blood, blue) grow around the tumor in response to hypoxia by cells deep in the tumor interior. From Frieboes et al., NeuroImage (2007).
Minimum Student QualificationsDesire to learn about cancer from an engineering and physical sciences perspective
Pay StatusUnpaid
Timeline & Hours per WeekHours are fully negotiable
Deadline of ProjectNo scheduled deadline
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