Irina Kareva, PhD

Irina Kareva, PhD

Newman-Lakka Institute for Personalized Cancer Care

Floating Hospital for Children

Tufts Medical Center

75 Kneeland St.

Boston, MA, 02111


2012-2013     Postdoctoral fellow at Center of Cancer Systems Biology, St. Elizabeth's Medical Center,
                           Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, 02135.

2009-2011     Ph.D. Applied Mathematics in Life and Social Sciences (AMLSS), Arizona State University

                           Title: Niche Construction, Sustainability and Evolutionary Ecology of Cancer
                           Advisor: Carlos Castillo-Chavez        Co-advisor: John Nagy

2003-2008     B.S. Mathematics / B.A. Music  

                           University of Maryland/College Park

2004-2005     Universität Wien, Vienna, Austria (study abroad)

Research summary

Systemic diseases, such as cancer, require thorough understanding not only of the properties that malignant cells have acquired through mutations but also the effects of the activity of these cells on the dynamic microenvironment of the host’s tissue. From this perspective, one can think of tumor cells as being hosted by tumor endothelial cells within the larger “ecosystem” of the human body (Kareva 2012, Transl Onc). And just like in other ecosystems, the survival of tumor cells depends both on the state of the entire ecosystem and on the state of their immediate host. The focus of my research lies in applying the insights obtained from extensive studies of other ecosystems to the new information continuously being reported in the field of cancer biology, in order to structure and advance the theoretical understanding of cancer as an evolving ecological system.


Kareva, I. (2014) "Competition driven cancer immunoediting", arXiv preprint.

Kareva, I. (2014) "Immune Evasion through Competitive Inhibition: the Shielding Effect of non-Stem Cancer Cells", Journal of Theoretical Biology, pii: S0022-5193(14)00496-2.
doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2014.08.035. [Epub ahead of print]

Kareva I., Morin B. and C. Castillo-Chavez (2014). "Resource consumption, sustainability and cancer", Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, [Epub ahead of print].

Kareva I. and G. Karev (2014). "Replicator equations and models of biological populations and communities ", Mathematical Modeling of Natural Phenomena, 9(3): 68-95.

Kareva I., Wilkie K. and P. Hahnfeldt (2014). "The Power of the Tumor Microenvironment: a Systemic Approach for a Systemic Disease". Mathematical Oncology 2013. Eds. A. d'Onofrio and A. Gandolfi. ISBN 978-1-4939-0457-0, to appear October, 2014.

Kareva I. and P. Hahnfeldt (2013). The Emerging "Hallmarks" of Metabolic Reprogramming and Immune Evasion: Distinct or Linked? Cancer Research, 73(9): 2737-42.

Kareva I., Berezovskaya F. and G. Karev (2013). Mixed Strategies and Natural Selection in Resource Allocation, Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering, 10(5/6): 1561-1586.

Kareva I. Biological Stoichiometry in Tumor Microenvironments (2013). PloS ONE, 8(1):e51844. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051844. Epub 2013 Jan 22.

Kareva I., Morin B. and G. Karev (2013). Preventing the tragedy of the commons through punishment of over-consumers and encouragement of under-consumers. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology,  75(4): 565-88.

Kareva I., Berezovskaya F. and C. Castillo-Chavez (2012). Niche construction and sustainability in resource-dependent competition models. Mathematical Biosciences, 240(2): 114-123.

Kareva, I. (2011) Prisoner's dilemma in cancer metabolism. PloS One, 6(12):e28576.

Kareva, I. (2011) "What can ecology teach us about cancer?" Translational Oncology, 4(5), 266-270.

Redon C.,  Dickey J., Nakamura A.,  Kareva I., Naf D., Nowsheen S., Kryston T., Bonner W., Georgakilas A. and O. Sedelnikova (2010). Tumors induce complex  DNA damage in distant proliferative tissues in vivo. PNAS, 107(42),17992-17997.

Kareva I., Berezovskaya F., and C. Castillo-Chavez (2009). Myeloid cells in tumour–immune interactions. Journal of Biological Dynamics, 4(4), 315-327.

Colon-Rentas O., Kareva I., Reitsman P., Toutain G., and S. Crook (2007) A Mathematical Model of the Heart of Drosophila melanogaster. MTBI Technical Reports, Arizona State University.

Ogurtsov A., Kareva I., Spiridonov T., and A. Kondrashov (2003) PostOWEN: Computational approach to the analysis of genomic alignments. Fourth International Conference on Bioinformatics, Atlanta, Nov. 13-16, 2003.

In preparation/under review:

Kareva I., Beheshti, A., L. Hlatky and P. Hahnfeldt. "Cancer Immunoediting: A Process Driven by Metabolic Competition."

Kareva I., Waxman, D. and G. Klement. "Metronomic chemotherapy: an attractive alternative to maximum tolerated dose therapy.  Prevention of therapeutic resistance and improved anti-tumor immunity".

Professional Development Workshops, Internships and Conferences


9th European Conference on Mathematical and Theoretical Biology (ECMTB2014), June 15-19, 2014, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Talk: "Normal wound healing and tumor angiogenesis as a game of competitive inhibition".


NCI-ICBP Junior Investigators Meeting, November 13-15, Bethesda, MD.

National Cancer Institute's Integrative Cancer Biology Program - Annual Principal Investigators Meeting, May 6-8, Rockville, MD

Modelling Biological Evolution 2013: Recent Progress, Current Challenges and Future Directions, May 1-3, Leicester, UK


Systems Biology of Tumor Metronomics: Timing and Dose Level Dynamics, July 17-20, 2012, Boston, MA

Society of Mathematical Biology Annual Meeting, July 25-28, 2012, Knoxville, TN. Invited speaker at the Cancer Immunology Minisymposium.
Title: "Competition driven cancer immunoediting".

Chaste cell-based modeling workshop, January 4-6, Oxford, UK


The 3rd International Conference on Mathematical Modeling and Analysis of Populations of Biological Systems (ICMAIII), San Antonio, Texas, October 7-9, 2011.

MBI Workshop for Young Researchers in Mathematical Biology, Columbus, Ohio, August 29-September 1, 2011.

International Conference for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ICIAM 2011), Vancouver, Canada, July 14-16, 2011 (Talk: “Prisoner’s Dilemma in Cancer Metabolism”)

European Conference on Mathematical and Theoretical Biology, June 28-July 3, 2011

NIMBioS Investigative Workshop: Mathematical Models and Body Weight Regulation, July 12-15, 2011

ICIAM 2011, July 18-22, 2011

Rotation in the Maley Lab at Hellen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCSF. January-April 2011.


Biocomplexity XI. The Evolution of Cooperation: Paradoxes of Collectivity and Individuality. Bloomington, Indiana, December 3-5, 2010

The Helsinki Summer School on Mathematical Ecology and Evolution, August 22nd-29th, 2010

Joint CAMBAM-MBI Summer School on “Networks in Biological Networks”, Montreal, Canada, May 17th-28th, 2010

Summer internship in the Moult Lab at the Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research (IBBR) at the University of Maryland, College Park. Worked on understanding mixed distributions that underlie data on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in different diseases.

Winter course on “Delay Equations and Structured Population Models”, Basque Center for Applied Mathematics, Derio, Spain, January 2010


Summer school “Dynamical Systems and Their Applications”. Utrecht, Netherlands, 17-28th August 2009

Summer school “Mathematical Modeling, Non-linear Dynamics, Stochastic and Complex Systems”. Lyngby, Denmark, 8-15th August, 2009


Summer internship at the Laboratory of Integrative and Medical Biophysics, National Center for Child Health and Human Development, NIH. Analyzed images of human retina using ImageJ software. PI: Dr. R. Bonner


Laboratory assistant, Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology, National Cancer Institute, NIH. Prepared slides for immunocytochemistry; cell culture, Western blotting, data collection and statistical analysis.
PI: Dr. W. Bonner


Summer internship at the Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute (MTBI), ASU. Projects involved cancer-immune system modeling,     and neural modeling. Director: Dr. C. Castillo-Chavez


Summer internship at National Center for Bioinformatics, NIH. Performed genome comparisons using online databases and Owen software. PI: Dr. A. Kondrashov

Teaching experience:

Spring     2010           Teaching Assistant for Introduction to Probability (aml294), ASU
Fall          2008           Teaching Assistant for Inorganic Chemistry Lab (chem132), UMD


Professional Affiliations

American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), since 2012

Society of Mathematical Biology (SMB), since 2009

Translations (comments, corrected typos, suggestions for better phrasing are very welcome).

Molchanov, A.M. "Possible Roles of Oscillatory Processes in Evolution"

Molchanov, A.M. "Thermodynamics and Evolution"

Molchanov, A.M. "Time and Evolution"

Molchanov, A.M. "Models in Ecology"

Molchanov, A.M. "Extreme Regimes"

Russian (native), English (fluent), French (communication level), German (communication level)

Academic CV in pdf format

Last updated 6/9/2014