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Virtual physiological human

Virtual Physiological Human (VPH) is a large project bringing together computational scientists from a wide range of backgrounds, with the ultimate aim of generating a simulation of the physiological processes that take place in a human being. VPH is truly multiscale, and is just as likely to incorporate the expertise of engineers studying structural stresses and strains in blood vessels and fluid flow of blood along them, as it is biologists. The MAPPER project, for example, brings a high degree of visualisation to data at different scales in VPH: MAPPER – Multiscale Applications on European E-infrastructures – is a framework allowing scientists to seamlessly integrate simulations of natural phenomena, where different factors are important at different scales. “It’s important that scientists should be able to zoom in and out of datasets in a coherent way,” says Alfons Hoekstra, Director of MAPPER. “There are some important questions that can be explored through scientific visualisation.”

Peter Coveney, Director at the UCL Centre for Computational Science also works on VPH, but places even more emphasis on the importance of integrating real time data with the models being worked on by MAPPER and other teams working on VPH:  “Big data is precisely ‘where it’s at’ for the medical domain. It’s feasible to generate vast quantities of data, especially from gene sequencing – which can now be done very quickly – potentially a few minutes for an entire human genome. We’re faced with the challenge and opportunity of marshalling it. Virtual Physiological Human is concerned, like many projects, with accessing patient data and using data mining and analytics techniques, but also in the business of modelling and simulation, which is used quite extensively in the physical sciences and engineering, but far less common in medicine and biology. Merging these together – e.g. a CT scan and simulation – will allow truly personalised medicine where a surgeon can be armed with the best information to make the right decision.”

You can see the video here: