Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Applied Mathematical and Computational Sciences
The kidneys are organs that play several important roles in the body, including the removal of waste and the regulation of blood pressure. When the kidneys stop functioning correctly, the human body begins to shut down. Because many diseases affect the kidneys, it is important for doctors to be able to evaluate kidney function. We can think of the kidney as a “black box” -- doctors can measure inputs and outputs through blood and urine tests, but rarely know exactly what occurs inside the kidney. Mathematical models that help doctors use those measured inputs and outputs to make predictions are an important method of evaluating kidney function. This thesis focuses on the ways multiple myeloma, a type of plasma cell cancer, affects kidney function. In some patients with multiple myeloma, proteins produced by myeloma cells cause inflammation in the kidney, which causes loss of kidney function and greatly decreases life expectancy. In these chapters, we discuss kidney physiology and describe the process of inflammation caused by myeloma. We introduce the mathematical background for our model, present and analyze a model for kidney function in healthy patients, and then present our model for kidney function in patients with multiple myeloma. Finally, we discuss using the results of patient blood and urine tests as a way to improve our model's prediction potential. The long-term goal of the work in this thesis is to create a tool that physicians can use to more accurately predict the course of disease for multiple myeloma patients with kidney involvement.
Copyright 2016 Julia Catherine Walk