K. (Kateřina) Staňková


I am an associate professor and Delft Technology Fellow.  I have a doctorate from the Delft Institute of Applied Mathematics in Stackelberg game theory and postdoctoral experience from the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation in system identification and Delft Center for Systems and Control in game-theory based optimal control. Before joining TPM, I was assistant and associate professor at Maastricht University, where I set up and led its Dynamic Game Theory team.


I am a game theoretician who focuses on both theory of differential and evolutionary games and applying this theory to solve real-world problems. In recent years, I have been focusing mostly on game-theory based treatments of metastatic cancers, which are more effective and less toxic than standard of care.  Stackelberg evolutionary game theory that I develop may be equally influential for other domains, such as pest control, traffic control or for maintaining biological resources (e.g. fisheries).

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To really make  a difference in healthcare, I collaborate with physicians, oncologists, cancer biologists and data scientists, within the Netherlands and abroad.  This collaboration has led to the concept of evolutionary therapies of metastatic cancers, i.e. therapies that anticipate and steer treatment-induced resistance in cancer cells. These treatments show a great promise in clinical trials. For this work, I received the 2020 NWO Stairway to Impact award (https://bit.ly/3HF6BtQ).

   I lead a number of national and international projects, such as European Training Network “EvoGamesPlus” - Evolutionary Game Theory and Population Dynamics: From Theory to Applications (www.evogamesplus.eu) and NWO KLEIN2 project “Understanding cancer through game theory and dynamical systems theory”. For more information about my research, visit my website www.stankova.net/.

While I currently do not teach, in the past I designed and coordinated many courses, both mathematical ones (dynamic game theory, calculus, chaos & fractals, statistics, numerical mathematics) and more applied ones (evolution, selected topics of biomathematics, systems biology). I have supervised BSc and MSc students and PhD candidates in both theoretical and applied research. I was also a member of the Board of Examiners of for MSc programs “Systems Biology” and “Bio-Based Materials” at Maastricht University.

  • Staňková, K., Brown, J.S., Dalton, W. and Gatenby, R. A., 2019. Optimizing cancer treatment using game theory. JAMA Oncology, 5(1), pp. 96-103. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.3395
  • Staňková, K., 2019. Resistance games. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 3, pp. 336–337. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-018-0785-y
  • You, L., Brown, J.S., Thuijsman, F., Cunningham, J.J., Gatenby, R.A., Zhang, J. and Staňková, K., 2017. Spatial vs. non-spatial eco-evolutionary dynamics in a tumor growth model. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 435, pp. 78-97. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtbi.2017.08.022
  • Cunningham, J.J., Brown, J.S., Gatenby, R.A. and Staňková, K., 2018. Optimal Control to Develop Therapeutic Strategies for Metastatic Castrate Resistant Prostate Cancer. Journal of Theoretical Biology 459, pp. 67-78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtbi.2018.09.022
  • Cunningham, J.J., Thuijsman, F., Peeters, R., Viossat, Y., Brown, J.S. and Staňková, K., 2020. Optimal control to reach eco-evolutionary stability in metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer. PLOS One, 15(12), p. e0243386. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0243386
  • Pressley, M., Salvioli, M., Lewis, D. B., Richards, C. L., Brown, J. S., and Staňková, K. 2021. Evolutionary Dynamics of Treatment-Induced Resistance in Cancer Informs Understanding of Rapid Evolution in Natural Systems. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 9, pp. 1-22. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2021.681121
  • Dujon, A.M., Aktipis, A., Alix-Panabières, C., Amend, S.R., Boddy, A.M., Brown, J.S., Capp, J.P., DeGregori, J., Ewald, P., Gatenby, R., Gerlinger, M., Giraudeau, M., Hamede, R.K., Hansen, E., Kareva, I., Maley, C.C., Marusyk, A., McGranahan, N., Metzger, M.J., Nedelcu, A.M., Noble, R., Nunney, L., Pienta, K.J., Polyak, K., Pujol, P., Read, A.F., Roche, B., Sebens, S., Solary, E., Staňková, K., Ewald, H.S., Thomas, F., and Ujvari, B., 2021. Identifying key questions in the ecology and evolution of cancer. Evolutionary Applications, 14, pp. 877– 892. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eva.13190
  • Salvioli, M., Dubbeldam, J., Staňková, K., Brown, J.S., 2021. Fisheries management as a Stackelberg Evolutionary Game: Finding an evolutionarily enlightened strategy. PLOS One, 16(1), p. e0245255. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0245255
  • (EU ETN) EvoGamesPlus – Evolutionary Game Theory and Population Dynamics: From Theory and Applications www.evogamesplus.eu
  • (NWO KLEIN2)“Understanding Cancer through game theory and dynamical systems theory” https://bit.ly/3kVnMh2
  • In editorial board of journals “Dynamic Games and Applications” and “Medical Oncology”
  • In “Tafel voor Wiskunde”, a body advising NWO in the mathematical domain

Media coverage of my research appeared in:

  • Fortune Magazine,
  • E&T Magazine,
  • MedIndia,
  • ECancer,
  • The Medical News,
  • Science Daily,
  • Newswise,
  • MedicalXpress,
  • EurekAlert!

as reported by Altmetrics.com (Altmetric – Optimizing Cancer Treatment Using Game Theory).

Interviews on my research were broadcast by:

Interviews by national and international magazines/newspapers:

Kateřina Staňková

Associate professor

Engineering Systems and Services


Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

Sabrina Bisschop

Research interests
Game theory, bio-inspired mathematical modelling
Mathematical oncology
Mathematical biology
Evolutionary cancer treatment