Numerical approaches for prediction of cancer therapeutic efficacy

Interdisciplinary Areas: Engineering and Healthcare/Medicine/Biology

Project Description

Patients diagnosed with breast cancer receive treatments based on a range of different criteria such as the stage of the disease or the hormone receptor status. However, these treatment strategies do not work for all patients, and clinicians are left with limited data sets to guide treatment plans. A patient’s cancer cells would ideally be expanded in vitro using protocols akin to those used for the selection of antibiotics for the treatment of bacterial infections. Unfortunately, traditional cell culture techniques tend to preferentially select for cancer cell populations that are more adept at surviving in 2-D tissue culture conditions, leading to a loss of predictive capacity for the system. Furthermore, 2-D monolayer cultures are unable to capture the complex, distinct 3-D arrangements that the cancer cells develop with adjacent cells and with the extracellular matrix (ECM) within a tumor. Both factors drastically alter the cancer cell response to a drug. This collaborative project uses a combination of experimental and numerical approaches to unravel mass transfer processes and cell responses in engineered 3D microenvironments that mimic key aspects of the tumor in order to develop tools to guide therapeutic decisions and improve patient outcomes. 

Start Date

April 15, 2019

Postdoc Qualifications

Planning and executing projects in collaboration with the PI and collaborators

Develop the experimental design for the project to include wet lab work as well as numerical approximations

Perform data analysis using tools available in the lab as well as the development of new tools as necessary

Prepare manuscripts and contribute preliminary data for grant proposals

Supervise graduate students and undergraduate students in conducting sample preparation, experimental design, and data analysis 


Arezoo Ardekani,, Mechanical Engineering

Luis Solorio,, Biomedical Engineering 
1. Lin, R., & Chang, H. (2008). Recent advances in three‐dimensional multicellular spheroid culture for biomedical research. Biotechnology Journal, 3(9‐10), 1285.

2. Curcio, Salerno, Barbieri, De Bartolo, Drioli, & Bader. (2007). Mass transfer and metabolic reactions in hepatocyte spheroids cultured in rotating wall gas-permeable membrane system. Biomaterials, 28(36), 5487-5497.
3. Jordahl, Solorio, Sun, Ramcharan, Teeple, Haley, Lee, Eyster, Luker, Krebsbach, & Lahann. (2018). 3D Jet Writing: Functional microtissues based on tesellated scaffold architectures. Advanced Materials, 30, 1707196-1707205.
4. Shinde, Libring, Alpsoy, Abdullah, Schaber, Solorio, Wendt. (2018). Autocrine fibronectin inhibits breast cancer metastasis. Molecular Cancer Research