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Image-Based Modelling of Neurostimulation for Electroceuticals Design and Optimization

Semester and Master's Work at the IT'IS Foundation - Image-Based Modelling of Neurostimulation for Electroceuticals Design and Optimization

 

 

Vagus Nerve Stimulation MIDA Intravascular 2 001

Bioelectronic medicine includes treatment modalities for the recovery or modification of specific organ functionalities with therapeutical intent through activation, inhibition or modulation of the electrical activity of specific axonal fibers within nerves. Functional neurostimulation of nerves in the context of bioelectric medicine can be achieved with electric fields delivered by electroceuticals or neuroprostetic devices.

The design of neuroprostetic devices, as well as the definition of protocols for stimulation or inhibition of specific fibers in a specific patient, is a complex undertaking, complicated by the large inter-subject variability of nerve morphologies. The characteristics of nerves, e.g., internal structures and the number and composition of fascicles (fiber diameter, presence or absence of myelination, etc.) impact the therapeutic efficacy and efficiency of medical protocols based on neurostimulation devices.

Computational modelling of nerves and electroceuticals that combines electromagnetic (EM) and neuronal simulation with electrophysiological models of axons and nerves within high-resolution anatomical human models, permits intelligent design of devices and the individuation of the best stimulating parameters. Anatomically accurate models of nerves – derived from histology and medical imaging cross sections – that feature realistic morphology, fascicles, and axonal distribution are valuable tools for correct formulation of personalized stimulation settings.

The aim of this project is the development of a computational platform and a pipeline to automatically create computational realistic models of nerves, starting from images of nerve cross sections and statistical nerve properties. The pipeline includes automatic image segmentation, tissue identification, axonal counting, and morphology reconstruction in 3D, and the reconstructed anatomical models wll be used to functionalize anatomical human computational models in which nerve trajectories have been identified. Depending on the interest and ability of the student the neuro-functionalized anatomical bodies will be used to perform neurostimulation investigations for design and optimization of electroceuticals, evaluate safety, and investigate mechanisms of action. Depending on the results, the resulting framework will be integrated in the commercial computational life sciences simulation platform Sim4Life.

The student should have good C++ or Python skills. The project will give the student the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with these exciting techniques.

The workplace will be at the IT’IS Foundation in Zurich. The workflow will include:

  • a literature search for theory and methods
  • code development and optimization
  • development of a series of nerve models for verification & validation purposes.

The extent of the project will be defined and finalized according to the interests and knowledge of the student. Please contact cassara@itis.swiss for more information and further details.

Supervisors:  

Dr. Antonino M. Cassara

Type of Work:

Computational life sciences

Professor:

Niels Kuster

Please send applications to Mimi Sun at hr@z43.swiss