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Research at St Andrews

Mark Andrew Joseph Chaplain

Person

Mark Andrew Joseph Chaplain
Postal address:
School of Mathematics and
Statistics
North Haugh
St Andrews
United Kingdom

Email: majc@st-andrews.ac.uk

Web address: http://www.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/~majc/

Direct phone: +44 (0)1334 463799

Research overview

Cancer is one of the major causes of death in the world, particularly the developed world, with around 11 million people diagnosed and around 9 million people dying each year. The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that current trends show the number rising to 11.5 million in 2030. There are few individuals who have not been touched either directly or indirectly by cancer. While treatment for cancer is continually improving, alternative approaches can offer even greater insight into the complexity of the disease and its treatment. Biomedical scientists and clinicians are recognising the need to integrate data across a range of spatial and temporal scales (from genes through cells to tissues) in order to fully understand cancer. 

My main area of research is in what may be called "mathematical oncology" i.e. formulating and analysing  mathematical models of cancer growth and treatment. I have been involved in developing a variety of novel mathematical models for all the main phases of solid tumour growth, namely: avascular solid tumour growth, the immune response to cancer, tumour-induced angiogenesis, vascular tumour growth, invasion and metastasis. 

The main modelling techniques involved are the use and analysis of nonlinear partial and ordinary differential equations, the use of hybrid continuum-discrete models and the development of multiscale models and techniques. 

Much of my current work is focussed on what may be described as a "systems approach" to modelling cancer growth through the development of quantitative and predictive mathematical models. Over the past 5 years or so, I have also helped develop models of chemotherapy treatment of cancer, focussing on cell-cycle dependent drugs, and also radiotherapy treatment. One of the new areas of research I have started recently is in modelling intracellular signalling pathways (gene regulation networks) using partial differential equation models. 

The long-term goal is to build a "virtual cancer" made up of different but connected mathematical models at the different biological scales (from genes to tissue to organ). The development of quantitative, predictive models (based on sound biological evidence and underpinned and parameterised by biological data) has the potential to have a positive impact on patients suffering from diseases such as cancer through improved clinical treatment.

Further details of my current research can be found at the Mathematical Biology Research Group web page.

 

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