Irina Kareva · Theoretical biologist
As a theoretical biologist, Irina Kareva believes we can find more accurate answers if we learn how to ask the right questions. She uses mathematical modeling to test biological hypotheses. The primary focus of her research lies in looking at cancer as an evolving ecosystem, where heterogeneous populations of cells compete and cooperate with each
other, fight off predators (the immune system), migrate (metastases), all within the ecosystem of the human body. By shifting perspectives, Irina changes how we think about treating cancer: just like in other ecosystems, the best way to extinguish species is to destroy their habitat. As a research scientist in simulation and modeling at our company, based in Billerica, USA, she searches for ways to target the environment of the tumor cells without killing the host. Formulating and testing hypotheses about therapeutic interventions using mathematical models can allow designing more targeted treatment strategies at a lower cost, both for patients and for drug developers. Her book Understanding Cancer from a Systems Biology Point of View is just out by Elsevier.