The MIDA model: one of the the most detailed image-based anatomical head models available for computational life sciences


Surface view of the MIDA model.


Surface view of the MIDA model.



MIDA Model: 
Ultra-High Resolution Head & Neck Model

The MIDA model is a multimodal imaging-based detailed anatomical computer model of the human head and neck. The model offers detailed representation of eyes, ears, and deep brain structures, as well as several distinct muscles, bones and skull layers, arteries and veins, cranial nerves, and salivary glands. Organs and tissues of the MIDA model are represented by three-dimensional, highly detailed computer-aided design (CAD) objects in standardized CAD data format. The individual CAD objects allow meshing at arbitrary resolutions without loss of small features. The MIDA model can be used in all software capable of importing and manipulating CAD data.

The spatial resolution of the MIDA model is 500 μm isotropic. To enhance the visibility of specific tissues, the raw images were acquired using different magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques:

  • structural T1- and T2-weighted sequences
  • a specific T2-weighted sequence with high nerve contrast optimized to enhance the structures of the ear and eye
  • magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) to image the vasculature
  • diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to obtain information on tissue anisotropy and fiber orientation

The MIDA model can be used for computational modeling studies involving correct representations of the human anatomy, e.g., for electromagnetic, thermal, acoustic, mechanical, and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. Of particular interest are computational simulations of medical devices in, on, or near the head, such as applicators for transcranial alternating current stimulation (TACs). The MIDA model is also proposed as a tool to investigate safety and efficacy of neurostimulation, e.g., deep brain stimulation (DBS) devices or cochlear implants, in combination with newly developed functional modeling capabilities, based on both a low frequency electromagnetic solver and neuronal activation simulation tools.

Important note: The MIDA model is available in voxel (.mat, .raw, .nii) and surface (.stl) format. The raw MR and DT image data are not distributed. Please refer to the table below for a list of all the structures included in the MIDA model.



Version History

Version Specifications Download
MIDA V1.0 This model version includes a total of 116 structures (i.e., the 115 structures listed in Table 1 of Iacono et al. (2015) and the background).
The unprecedented number of high-resolution structures places it among the most detailed image-based anatomical head models available for computational life sciences. Additionally, it's suitability for simulations involving different numerical methods and discretization approaches makes it the go-to model for many applications. 
DOI: 10.13099/ViP-MIDA-V1.0

License Agreement


Requests & Inquiries

This model is free of charge for everyone (except for handling fees). To obtain the MIDA Model, please click on the DOI number above. Please address all inquiries to the US Food and Drug Administration or to the Virtual Population Group.



The models were developed in cooperation with the Division of Physics, Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, US Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD, USA (FDA); the Integrated Systems Laboratory, Departement of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Switzerland; the Institute for Biomedical Engineering, University of Zurich and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Switzerland; the Computational Imaging Research Lab, Department of Biomedical Imaging and Image-guided Therapy, Medical University of Vienna, Austria; the Athinoula A. Martinos Center For Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA, USA; and the Center for Morphometric Analysis, Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA, USA. Financial support was provided by U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Critical Path Initiative.


Reference for citation

MIDA: A Multimodal Imaging-Based Detailed Anatomical Model of the Human Head and Neck

Maria Ida Iacono, Esra Neufeld, Esther Akinnagbe, Kelsey Bower, Johanna Wolf, Ioannis Oikonomidis, Deepika Sharma, Bryn Lloyd, Bertram Wilm, Michael Wyss, Klaas Pruessmann, Andras Jakab, Nikos Makris, Ethan Cohen, Niels Kuster, Wolfgang Kainz, and Leonardo M. Angelone, in PLoS ONE 10(4): e0124126. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0124126, April 2015


Additional References

A computational model for bipolar deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus

Maria Ida Iacono, Esra Neufeld, Bonmassar Giorgio, Esther Akinnagbe, Andras Jakab, Ethan Cohen, Niels Kuster, Wolfgang Kainz and Leonardo Angelone, in IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, pp. 6258-61, 2014

Simulation platform for coupled modeling of EM-induced neuronal dynamics and functionalized anatomical models

Neufeld Esra, Ioannis Oikonomidis, Maria Ida Iacono, Esther Akinnagbe, Leonardo Angelone, Wolfgang Kainz and Niels Kuster, in 7th International IEEE EMBS Neural Engineering Conference, 2015