From Image-Based Modeling to the Modeling of Imaging with the Virtual Population

Esra Neufeld, Bryn Lloyd, and Niels Kuster, in Simulation and Synthesis in Medical Imaging, Proceedings of the First International Workshop, SASHIMI 2016, Held in Conjunction with MICCAI 2016, Athens, Greece, October 21, 2016, Volume 9968 of the series Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pp. 45–54, online October, 2016

Image data has been used to create the Virtual Population models, a suite of highly detailed anatomical models (male/female, neonates/children/adults/elderly, average build/obese), which have been found to be useful for a wide range of computational life sciences applications. The models are at the core of the Sim4Life simulation platform. Different image modalities provide a wealth of information to enable model functionalization by facilitation of parameterization and animation of the anatomy, consideration of tissue inhomogeneity, imposition of realistic boundary conditions, and integration of dynamic physiological models. Closing the circle, these functionalized anatomical models have also been used to generate virtual image data, particularly by simulation of MRI scanning. Thus, image data can be produced under controlled conditions and with known base-anatomy for different pulse sequences. Virtual imaging has been used to study various imaging artefacts.

The scientific and technical impact of the publication can be summarized as: 

  • A variety of image modalities have been used to functionalize static anatomical models to provide, e.g., inhomogeneous tissue property distributions (e.g., CT-based acoustic skull properties, DTI-based electrical anisotropy of neural tissue), model dynamics such as 4D breathing motion, and realistic boundary conditions (e.g., for flow simulations)
  • Examples of image-based functionalization of models are manifold, ranging from model parameterization, stature morphing and realistic posing to the integration of physiological models (e.g., neuromorphology and electrophysiology for brain stimulation modeling)
  • Virtual anatomical models can be used with information about tissue properties and coupled multi-scale modeling of the in vivo electromagnetic fields and induced spin-dynamics generated by MRI coils to produce virtual MRI scans
  • Virtual image data can be produced under controlled conditions and with known base-anatomies for a variety of pulse sequences and can be used, e.g., to study image artifacts


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