In 2017, IT’IS was first awarded US National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding to develop o2S2PARC – an online platform that allows collaborative development and sharing, model coupling and cloud-based execution of computational models, simulations, data visualization and analysis, and the presentation of results – as part of the SPARC Data and Resource Center (DRC) of the NIH Common Fund’s “Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions” SPARC program. The goal of the program is to identify neural targets and accelerate the development of therapeutic devices that modulate electrical activity in the vagus and other nerves to help treat diseases and conditions such as hypertension and gastrointestinal disorders by precisely adjusting organ function.
o2S2PARC, short for Open platform for Online Simulations for Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions, is the SPARC DRC’s computational platform that enables users to create predictive, multiscale, multi-physics models ranging from modulation sources that act on the peripheral nervous system to the resulting modulation of organ functional response.
A lot was achieved during year 6 of o2S2PARC: the adoption rate has rapidly risen to over 700 users (within months of the public announcement), a parameterized modeling framework has been established that forms the basis for meta-modeling (uncertainty propagation, optimization, surrogate modeling, etc.), integration with the SPARC Portal and data has been boosted, the stability and scalability of the platform has been further increased to handle the ever-growing number of users and hosted projects, and the team continues to work on long-term sustainability. Sophisticated applications by SPARC and 3rd parties have been established and published, such as an online tool for personalized spinal cord stimulation treatment planning (e.g., to restore locomotion or to control bladder function), a tool to help researchers optimize their non-invasive temporal interference deep brain stimulation, and an application for unbiased validation of the performance of a device for measurement of specific absorption rate in support of an emerging new standard. These efforts will be further pursued in year 7, with the main focus being on demonstrating the use of o2S2PARC to generate regulatory evidence for the safety and efficacy of bioelectronic implants, introducing databases and functionality to explore inter-subject and inter-species variability, adding functionality to facilitate the use of o2S2PARC for collaborative computational modeling, and considerably strengthening the application programming interface to increase the value of o2S2PARC for advanced users and developers.
We look forward to another fun, albeit intense, year working with the other DRC Cores on this exciting project.
Check out the SPARC Portal for access to digital resources that can be shared, cited, visualized, computed, and used for virtual experimentation!