Laboratory for Systems Medicine

Determining Best Therapeutic Combinations

Dr. Helen Moore


(352) 273-9552

Faculty Department/Division
Laboratory for Systems Medicine

This project is primarily:
Literature Review

Research Project Description:
Which combinations of therapies will be most efficacious for patients? This question can be challenging to answer during typical drug development. However, mechanistic mathematical modeling can provide insights into this question, and these insights can then be experimentally tested and validated.

Two common methods for developing mechanistic mathematical model diagrams are 1) from literature knowledge, and 2) inputting single-cell RNA-seq data into online databases that can provide a cell signaling pathway model diagram. Once we have a model diagram, we write down equations and use data or information from the literature or experts to parametrize it. Then we can run simulations to determine which pathways are most important, and can possibly control the disease. This informs the choice of therapies to combine to achieve the best patient outcomes.

Students working on this project will collaborate with one of several established teams or help form a new one by helping to identify a collaborator with appropriate data and disease knowledge. The goal will be for the student to create a model diagram for a disease, to collaboratively determine equations for the diagram, and to get parameter values for the model equations. Writing down the equations can generally be done based on mathematics that is recommended for medical school admission (college calculus). Regardless of the method used to create a model diagram, the student will learn about and become highly-knowledgeable in the disease studied. Additionally, students with some coding experience can put a model into code themselves and run simulations to determine the most influential pathways for a given disease.

Does this project have an international component or travel?