Young scientist from Plön receives Kiel Life Science Postdoc Award

Michael Raatz honored for his research on population ecology models and their transfer to cancer research.

November 17, 2021

At its general meeting, the Kiel Life Science (KLS) research center honored its most successful young researchers of the past year with the KLS Postdoc Award. In addition to Lukas Pfeifer from the Institute of Pharmacy at CAU, Michael Raatz from the Department of Evolutionary Theory (Arne Traulsen) at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön was also honored, in the medical category.

Population ecology findings applied to cancer research

Lukas Pfeifer (left) and Michael Raatz (center), here with KLS speaker Prof. Thomas Bosch, were honored as the best young researchers in the life sciences focus at CAU.

In his doctoral thesis at the University of Potsdam, Michael Raatz focused on the question of how developments within and between populations can be described and calculated using theoretical models, for example when considering predator-prey interactions. He is currently further developing the knowledge gained at that time in the field of population ecology modeling and transferring it to cancer research: "Tumors are genetically and phenotypically diverse populations of cancer cells. By taking this heterogeneity into account, we can model how cells respond in different ways to immunotherapy or chemotherapy, and thus find reasons for possible setbacks in therapy, for example," says the evolutionary biologist.

Cycle of theoretical calculations and subsequent laboratory experiments

Raatz repeatedly compares the theoretical calculations with practical findings in the laboratories of the Max Planck Institute in Plön. Collaboration with those scientists whose research is based on experimental approaches plays a significant role in this process. "Close collaboration creates a cycle of calculations, experiments in the laboratory and the resulting findings, which in turn flow into new calculations and thus provide us with new insights," says Raatz.

He has now been recognized for his innovative approaches.
"Young scientists are our most important resource for the future. That's why we want to create the best possible conditions for our young scientists in the competition among international science locations. The funding awards and junior researcher programs of the KLS research focus are an important component in realizing such an attractive environment for talented young people at CAU," emphasizes Professor Thomas Bosch, spokesman of the KLS research focus.
The KLS Postdoc Award is endowed with 6000 €, which can be used for research purposes.

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