Kathleen Wilkie

I'm an assistant professor at Ryerson University in the Department of Mathematics. Broadly, my research uses mathematics to help understand biological phenomena. My current focus is the systemic response of a host to cancer. Specifically, I study cancer immunology, the dynamics of heterogeneous cell populations in cancer progression, and the role of the tumour microenvironment in intercellular communication and tumour development. I use a systems biology approach that integrates experimental data with mathematical models to create predictive tools for hypothesis testing.

My History

My post-doctoral training was in an interdisciplinary cancer lab, the Center of Cancer Systems Biology, in Boston, MA. While there, I was also a Research Instructor at Tufts University School of Medicine. My research studied cancer-immune interactions leading to tumour dormancy, and cancer cachexia, the irreversible loss of muscle and adipose tissue due to cancer progression.

I earned my Doctorate in Oct. 2010 studying Cerebrospinal Fluid Pulsations and Aging Effects in Mathematical Models of Hydrocephalus in the Applied Mathematics department at the University of Waterloo (UW). Together with my collaborator and advisor, we developed several mathematical models to investigate mechanical effects of CSF pulsations on the brain, as well as the effect of aging on brain tissue mechanical properties. We used these mathematical tools to test several medical hypotheses for the development of hydrocephalus.

In 2005, I completed my Masters in Mathematics at UW, researching information theoretic methods to locally register regions of interest in images with specific applications to medical imaging. In the summer of 2002, I attended the Atlantic Association for Research in the Mathematical Sciences (AARMS) summer school, held at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland. And in 2003, I completed an honours co-operative Bachelor of Mathematics degree also at UW in Applied Math with Electrical Engineering Electives.