An Evolutionary and Ecological Investigation of Cancer
thesisposted on 01.07.2016, 00:00 by Mark C. Lloyd
I propose to investigate how Darwinian dynamics, as defined as the simultaneous evolution of populations and strategies on a continuous adaptive landscape, applies to cancer [Vincent 2005]. I am interested in investigating how and why intratumoral spatial heterogeneity of cancer cell populations, although sometimes initiated by random mutations, must be governed by identifiable Darwinian dynamics [Santos 2006, Gillies 2012]. My central hypothesis is that the physical morphology of cancer cells, which can be observed and quantified, provides deep insight into adaptations governed by variations in selection forces within local microenvironments. Furthermore, I submit that an evaluation of the evolution of cancer’s intratumoral heterogeneity is not chaotic or unpredictable, but can be understood by identifying regional variations in selection forces and adaptive strategies [Lloyd 2014].