2020 SPARC Ideas Lab

IT’IS and NIH will host five-day SPARC Ideas Lab in April 2020 on Predictive Modeling to Inform Development of Bioelectronic Medicine Therapies

Understanding and modeling how the peripheral nervous system controls organ function across a wide range of organ systems is key for the realization of the grand vision of bioelectric medicine and electroceutical implants – a topic which is at the core of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Common Fund's SPARC program (Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions) and an important research focus of the IT'IS Foundation. As part of the Data and Resource Center (DRC) of the SPARC program, IT'IS is developing the o2S2PARC platform – a unique, open, online-accessible platform that hosts all computational models developed by SPARC teams and allows the sharing, execution, and coupling of these models to facilitate in silico studies.

Every day, SPARC and non-SPARC researchers are generating vast amounts of useful neuroanatomical and neurophysiological data that help to shed light on the role of the autonomic nervous system in regulating organ function. However, a comprehensive effort and the tools to translate this data into interactive multiscale, multiphysics computational models, that would allow the prediction of how modulation of a given neural target will influence organ functional responses, is still missing.

There is an urgent need to advance, and potentially automate, the creation of functional neuro- and organ-physiological models that improve the precision of neuromodulation of nerve and organ activity. To address this challenge, IT’IS, with the help and funding from the NIH, is organizing the 2020 SPARC Ideas Lab from April 20 – 24, 2020 in Washington DC, USA. The concept of our Ideas Lab is simple: bring together diverse and multidisciplinary researchers for an intensive interactive workshop to think outside the box, stimulate and discuss new ideas, and form new collaborations. These new collaborations will be driven by innovative research projects that are jointly developed and aimed at building interoperable, extensible, and personalizable simulations to guide bioelectronic medicine development. We expect that this effort will enable in silico studies and new experiments for predicting the effects of autonomic neuromodulation on organ function, ultimately leading to novel, model-driven treatment strategies and more precise neuromodulation therapies.

The 2020 SPARC Ideas Lab will facilitate collaborations between experimentalists, physician-scientists, and communities of modelers from areas such as machine learning, dynamic systems theory, control theory, and design-of-experiment/ model-order-reduction/ surrogate-modeling. New collaborations and projects that will results from our workshop should not only lead to organ- or intervention-specific models, but also give rise to approaches that generally support the generation of computational models from experimental information, as well as the integration of heterogeneous computational models.

Interested in learning more about the 2020 SPARC Ideas Lab and the application process? Visit the 2020 SPARC Ideas Lab website for more information. The application deadline is January 31, 2020, 5pm ET.

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