Academia or Industry – A PhD student in between

Academia or industry – many students are facing this question at the end of their studies.

My name is Matthias Andres and I am a PhD student of the Technomathematics group at the TU Kaiserslautern.

During my studies and several internships I got in touch with applied mathematics in industry projects. When finishing my Master’s program in 2016 I was torn between staying at university, where I could pursue my studies in my favorite subject mathematics, or starting a career in industry, where I could have a direct impact on the solution of real-world problems.

Gladly I never had to choose sides when I started my PhD studies as a member of the project ”ProMT”: Prognostic model based online MR-Thermometry for minimally invasive thermoablation to treat liver tumors. This project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and aims at developing a simulation tool of the Laser Interstitial Thermo Therapy (LITT), which is a method for cancer treatment.

Our team consists of members from universities and the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics (ITWM), medical practicioners and industrial partners and it’s very interesting to work with professionals from different disciplines on this common project.

bioheat_frame300sThe simulation is based on the coupling of the so-called bio-heat equation and an approximation of the radiative transfer equation. My role is to identify unknown parameters of our model using PDE-constrained optimization, based on measurements from magnetic resonance imaging.

I enjoy to see how advanced mathematical models can have a direct impact on real-world problems, and I am glad to have the chance to contribute to the improvement of this cancer therapy.

If you would like to know more about our project: Join our Minisymposium at the 20th European Conference on Mathematics for Industry in Budapest on June 18th, 2018, and visit cancer-treatment-via-laser-induced-thermotherapy/.