Joint CeNS Colloquium with SFB1032
Title: How collective cell dynamics reshape the evolution of therapy resistance
Host: Prof. Erwin Frey, Prof. Joachim Rädler
Many pathogenic cellular populations, such as microbial biofilms or solid tumours, can be described in a framework of actively proliferating granular matter. However, little is known about how the ensuing mechanical interactions between individual cells reshape critical evolutionary outcomes on the population level, such as the emergence of resistance against antibiotic or anti-cancer therapy.
In my presentation, I will show how growth-induced collective effects inherently redefine the game of evolution in compact cellular populations. As a result of long-ranging correlations in cell motion, resistant lineages can evade natural selection and persist despite the fitness cost associated with most resistance mutations. I will then combine results from genetically tailored 2D and 3D microbial evolution experiments with insights from agent-based simulations of tumor growth to uncover how these emergent phenomena can drive multistep evolution towards resistance. Finally, I will explore how this bottom-up approach to evolving active granular matter can be combined with reinforcement learning for the artificial discovery of novel evolution-based therapy strategies.
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