This second issue of Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A, devoted to ‘The virtual physiological human’, highlights the challenges involved in organ-level modelling of biological systems.
Organ modelling requires the linking of representations of structure and function (e.g. geometry effects on blood flow at heart valves; Votta et al. 2008) across multiple spatio-temporal scales (e.g. from mitochondrial ion channel openings to whole organ function; Plank et al. 2008). This is based on multi-physics approaches (e.g. to model pulmonary ventilation–perfusion matching and gas exchange; Burrowes et al. 2008), as well as the application of a wide range of computational tools and strategies (such as cellular automata and agent-based models: Evans et al. (2008); particle dynamics simulation of blood clot formation: Filipovic et al. (2008); or finite-element representations of tissue mechanical properties: Lloyd et al. 2008).
A common thread of all papers is that they acknowledge the fundamental need for ‘dry’ models to be firmly based on, and validated against, ‘wet’ experimental data (Cristofolini et al. 2008). Another shared theme is the resolve to increasingly allow patient-specific modelling, with the aim of aiding, in the long run, the development of a truly personalized approach to medicine (Doorly et al. 2008).
Biological behaviour modelled in this issue ranges from normally functioning musculoskeletal (Cristofolini et al. 2008), gastrointestinal (Liao et al. 2008), respiratory (Burrowes et al. 2008; Doorly et al. 2008), cardiac (Campbell et al. 2008; Plank et al. 2008) and vascular systems (Filipovic et al. 2008), to the simulation of disease development, such as in cancer (Lloyd et al. 2008), and the design of therapeutic interventions, such as optimized stent–vessel interactions (Evans et al. 2008), or the prediction of clinical outcomes (Votta et al. 2008).
The editors hope that both the breadth and the depth of communications in this double-issue focused theme of Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A (Clapworthy et al. 2008) will serve as a valuable source of information and catalyse further research and development, helping to build a framework for computational biomedicine.
Compiled on behalf of the Virtual Physiological Human Network of Excellence. The Editors are indebted to Mrs Katherine Fletcher of the European normaCOR project for handling the integration of this issue.
One contribution of 11 to a Theme Issue ‘The virtual physiological human: building a framework for computational biomedicine II’.
- © 2008 The Royal Society