Computational Life Sciences



Mesh and stress distribution in a simulation of mechanical pelvic loading

Mesh and stress distribution in a simulation of mechanical pelvic loading.




Mechanical Solvers for BioMechanics


There are numerous applications of engineering mechanics to biological and medical systems, including biomaterials, prosthetics and implants, sport, rehabilitation and gait analysis. Developing these applications requires realistic simulation models based on an accurate reproduction of the anatomy and a perfect correlation of the different structures in any region of the human body. However, a high fidelity geometrical model with integrated components will be useless for any numerical analysis without applying realistic material parameters, such as distributed bone density, (nonlinear) tendon elasticity, and muscle contractility.

IT’IS has already developed a range of numerical tools to address complex computational biomechanics problems. Future research will focus on developing additional solutions and tools to handle computationally demanding simulations, to precisely measure material parameters, and to extend the morphing/posing capabilities of our anatomical models.

Selected Past Achievements

  • Development of a small strain linear elasticity model, usually applied to hard tissues (e.g., bones) under short loading; initial models of large strain non-linear elasticity, usually applied to soft tissues (e.g., tendons, connective tissue or muscles); and explicit solvers to address contact problems, such as implant-vasculature interaction.
  • Conducted several pilot research projects, including a clinically validated study of human pelvic deformations under oscillatory loading to mimic human gait.
  • Application of novel solvers to model tissue and tumor development and growth.
  • Development of a novel method based on computational biomechanics to pose or morph whole body anatomical models (involving rigid bodies (bones), actively deforming regions (growing/shrinking muscle or fat mass), and passively following other elastic tissues/organs). Our high performance computing enhanced solvers are robust enough to handle the over 100 million cells required for these simulations.

Next Challenges

  • To build an extensive and consistent material database, addressing different tissue types and providing parameters for several popular material models
  • To address strongly coupled fluid-solid interaction problems, including heart valve leaflets and whole brain shocks
  • To extend the posing/morphing functionality by precomputing common scenarios, such as joint movements, by reducing computations to regions of interest while other regions are treated as nearly static, or by decomposing large posture changes into an approximate transformation and computing the difference to the exact deformation.