Computational Systems Biology
Osteoarthritis is a common condition causing the breakdown of cartilage, affecting around 10% of the population aged 60 or older. However, despite its prevalence, no effective treatments currently exist. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) can differentiate to specific cell types and allow for the development of personalised treatment methods. However, the mechanisms underlying differentiation from iPSCs to chondrocytes are not yet completely understood, causing a lower yield of chondrocytes than desired in currently applied differentiation protocols.
One way to improve the chondrocyte yield is by using computational models. Such models can give insight into complex interactions and mechanisms underlying iPS cell differentiation. Moreover, parameter changes in the model can easily be made, allowing for a systematic analysis of different experimental conditions.
Our goal is to construct in-silico models for the differentiation of iPSCs to chondrocytes. These models will generally consist of ordinary differential equations (ODEs), which can be analysed using simulations or bifurcation analysis. In this project, we will construct models incorporating different stages of iPSC differentiation as well as cell-cell interactions. From these models, we aim to find key factors governing the differentiation of iPS cells to chondrocytes that can be validated in wet-lab experiments, ultimately improving the yield of chondrocytes in iPSC differentiation.
If you are interested in doing a bachelor’s assignment or master’s assignment related to this project, feel free to contact me.