In vitro and in-silico tumor induced vascular development

Announcement date: Aug. 04, 2011

DESCRIPTION: The healthy and pathogenic development of vascular networks is essential to processes such as embryo development, wound healing and cancer. The project for this PhD thesis is to identify the role of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors, VEGFs, that regulate blood and lymphatic vessel development and homeostasis. The thesis is at the interface of fundamental biological research and computational studies of cell biological and structural aspects of spatio-temporal tissue organization and development of vascular networks. We will investigate the mechanisms responsible for vessel formation by VEGF family ligands using endothelial cell culture spheroids grown on micropatterned substrates. Microscopy and related imaging techniques will be used to perform a spatio-temporal analysis of vessel formation. This will be complemented by in silico multiscale modeling of angiogenic and vasculogenic processes. The computational models will take into account the role of the different VEGF isoforms by modeling their tissue distribution, receptor specificity, and the signaling pathways made active in target cells. The computer algorithms developed during this project will allow to model vessel formation and to predict how growth factors, their receptors and the extracellular matrix determine the structure of developing vascular networks. The combination of biological experiments with in silico studies will stimulate new experimental investigations and generate detailed information on vessel patterning verifiable experimentally. The in silico and in vitro models will be applied to various therapeutic treatments and their effects on blood vessel regularization and structuring. The student will be working at the Chair of Computational Science at ETH Zürich for the in silico modeling and at the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI) for the cell culture work.
PREREQUISITES: University degree in any of the following disciplines: Physics, Computational and Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, Mechanical/Civil Engineering, Applied Mechanics.  PhD studies at ETHZ are conducted in English.
DEADLINE FOR RECEIPT OF APPLICATIONS: November 1, 2011, or until position filled
DURATION OF APPOINTMENT: 3 years (+an eventual fourth year).
FELLOWSHIP: Stipend of up to CHF 60,000 per year pending on qualifications.
APPLYING: Please e-mail to including:
  • Curriculum Vitae (including contact information of two references)
  • Grades of all University Classes
  • A one page statement of your background and research interests
  • GRE and TOEFL Scores (if available)
CONTACT: Prof. Petros Koumoutsakos
Chair of Computational Science
Universitätstrasse 6, ETH Zurich
CH-8092, Switzerland