EPSRC Centre for Multiscale Soft Tissue Mechanics - with application to heart & cancer

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Mathematics & Statistics

Abstract

In the diagnosis and treatment of disease, clinicians base their decisions on understanding of the many factors that contribute to medical conditions, together with the particular circumstances of each patient. This is a "modelling" process, in which the patient's data are matched with an existing conceptual framework to guide selection of a treatment strategy based on experience. Now, after a long gestation, the world of in silico medicine is bringing sophisticated mathematics and computer simulation to this fundamental aspect of healthcare, adding to - and perhaps ultimately replacing - less structured approaches to disease representation.

The in silico specialisation is now maturing into a separate engineering discipline, and is establishing sophisticated mathematical frameworks, both to describe the structures and interactions of the human body itself, and to solve the complex equations that represent the evolution of any particular biological process. So far the discipline has established excellent applications, but it has been slower to succeed in the more complex area of soft tissue behaviour, particularly across wide ranges of length scales (subcellular to organ).

This EPSRC SoftMech initiative proposes to accelerate the development of multiscale soft-tissue modelling by constructing a generic mathematical multiscale framework. This will be a truly innovative step, as it will provide a common language with which all relevant materials, interactions and evolutions can be portrayed, and it will be designed from a standardised viewpoint to integrate with the totality of the work of the in silico community as a whole. In particular, it will integrate with the EPSRC MultiSim multiscale musculoskeletal simulation framework being developed by SoftMech partner Insigneo, and it will be validated in the two highest-mortality clinical areas of cardiac disease and cancer.

The mathematics we will develop will have a vocabulary that is both rich and extensible, meaning that we will equip it for the majority of the known representations required but design it with an open architecture allowing others to contribute additional formulations as the need arises. It will already include novel constructions developed during the SoftMech project itself, and we will provide many detailed examples of usage drawn from our twin validation domains. The project will be seriously collaborative as we establish a strong network of interested parties across the UK. The key elements of the planned scientific advances relate to the feedback loop of the structural adaptations that cells make in response to mechanical and chemical stimuli. A major challenge is the current lack of models that operate across multiple length scales, and it is here that we will focus our developmental activities. Over recent years we have developed mathematical descriptions of the relevant mechanical properties of soft tissues (arteries, myocardium, cancer cells), and we have access to new experimental and statistical techniques (such as atomic force microscopy, MRI, DT-MRI and model selection), meaning that the resulting tools will bring much-need facilities and will be applicable across problems, including wound healing and cancer cell proliferation.

The many detailed outputs of the work include, most importantly, the new mathematical framework, which will immediately enable all researchers to participate in fresh modelling activities. Beyond this our new methods of representation will simplify and extend the range of targets that can be modelled and, significantly, we will be devoting major effort to developing complex usage examples across cancer and cardiac domains. The tools will be ready for incorporation in commercial products, and our industrial partners plan extensions to their current systems.

The practical results of improved modelling will be a better understanding of how our bodies work, leading to new therapies for cancer and cardiac disease.

Planned Impact

Computers are increasingly being used to help doctors diagnose and treat disease, and new software is being developed to allow individual, patient-specific therapies. For this approach to be successful, two key issues need to be addressed. These are fundamental mathematical modelling to understand the biomechanical changes that occur in soft tissue in disease, and the development of techniques to deal with uncertainty in clinical measurements. SofTMech will carry out programmes of research by world-leading UK experts to give answers to these problems and, by developing detailed models of remodelling in the heart following a myocardial infarction (MI) and metastasis of breast carcinoma, provide computational examples that will enable healthcare technologists to translate the research into software to be used in clinical practice.

Heart disease is the leading killer in the world, responsible for about 30% of all deaths each year. Cancer is the second deadliest disease, and the World Health Organization projects that without immediate action, the global number of deaths from cancer will increase by nearly 80% by 2030. Together, these pose severe economic and medical challenges for the UK health care system. Consequently, SofTMech's research will have a major socioeconomic healthcare impact on the quality of life and health in the UK, and beyond, and enhance the UK's global competitiveness by addressing the most important healthcare problems. It is therefore of direct benefit to everyone in terms of improved quality of life and more efficient and cost-effective patient-specific treatment.

Our research will generate a range of new mathematical models for studying these diseases. Developing predictive quantitative models of healing processes after a heart attack and of the biomechanics of cancer invasion will facilitate translational medical research to enhance diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. By developing test- and data-based modelling, we will examine how cellular changes affect stress and strain distributions within organs, what drives functional responses within cells, and which parameters are strongly associated with adverse remodelling leading to heart failure or cancer metastasis. This fundamental research will significantly advance our understanding of disease pathogenesis, diagnosis and responses to therapy, and hence move clinical research forward. This will be of direct benefit to patients and healthcare providers. For example, we will focus on developing in-depth myocardium mechanics models, linked to important subcellular organelle remodelling, that will increase our understanding of the mechanical status of a heart with a MI and help us suggest treatments to prevent progression of this disease to terminal heart failure. As a further example, we will explain how cancer cells become softer and thus better able to spread through surrounding tissue, to provide new targets for interventional therapies.

International engineering-software companies that provide computer code to describe the behaviour of advanced materials, such as our partners Simulia (Abaqus) and Ansys, and their customers in advanced technologies worldwide will benefit from advanced mathematical models that predict the behaviour of soft materials that SofTMech will develop, by incorporating these models into their widely used commercial software packages. Major medical imaging companies including Siemens, another of our partners, will benefit from using our models to better interpret signals from e.g. magnetic resonance and ultrasound scanning devices, which will further benefit patients and their doctors.

The Centre will raise awareness of our research to new and existing groups by networking activities, increase knowledge transfer by involving new clinical/industrial partners through training events, and influence the effectiveness of public services and policy by engagement with the Turing Gateway.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title SofTMech Cartoon 01 
Description Image created from the proceedings of the SofTMech Launch Event 2016-04-21 
Type Of Art Image 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Used on the SofTMech website for outreach purposes. 
URL http://www.softmech.org/media/media_464690_en.png
 
Title SofTMech Cartoon 02 
Description Image created from the proceedings of the SofTMech Launch Event 2016-04-21. 
Type Of Art Image 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Used on the SofTMech website for outreach purposes. 
URL http://www.softmech.org/media/media_464689_en.png
 
Title SofTMech Cartoon 03 
Description Image created from the proceedings of the SofTMech Launch Event 2016-04-21. 
Type Of Art Image 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Used on the SofTMech website for outreach purposes. 
URL http://www.softmech.org/media/media_464691_en.png
 
Title SofTMech Cartoons 04 to 10 
Description Images created from the proceedings of the SofTMech Dialogue on Heart Failure 2016-04-22. 
Type Of Art Image 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Used on the SofTMech website for outreach purposes. 
URL http://www.softmech.org/events/2016-04-22dialogueonheartfailure
 
Title Video clip from the Third Workshop on Soft Tissue Modelling in Glasgow 2017-07-07 
Description This is a short film produced during the proceedings of the Third Workshop on Soft Tissue Modelling held in Glasgow on 2017-07-07. It contains typical moments of research presentations, interviews with selected participants, free discussions during poster sessions. The clip conveys the excitement that participants feel about engaging in with the research field, comments on the significance and impact of research results, comments of future directions and aspirations. The level of presentation is non-technical. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact Helped promote other technical and outreach events organised by the SofTMech centre. Video available upon request. 
 
Title YouTube 
Description Our events are recorded and published in youtube: https://youtu.be/Ydo4G5VmSOo https://youtu.be/mH8CgNYvRw8 We also have updated animations of our modelling posted on YouTube since 2015 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcUNUmbCJSI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qko55MsoX8k https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAX8xnykZJM 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact This is hard to assess. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcUNUmbCJSI
 
Description Work Package WP1 - Mechanical Model of the Whole Cell

We have developed a homogenization method based on volume averaging over each composite material domain of a cell, towards characterization of the overall mechanical response of a whole cell. This is a multiscale model that embodies the properties of the individual cell constituents. Within this framework we have successfully derived a formulation for spherical composites consisting of a soft neo-Hookean material within a spherical shell composed of randomly distributed fibres representing the F-actin cortex. A material subroutine for a fibre-reinforced Holzapfel-Ogden model has been programmed into FEAP. To understand the data from the associated AFM indentation experiments, we have also simulated a variety of simple contact problems in FEAP, with different shapes of the indenters and materials of the samples tested.

Within the experimental programme, we have recently developed an AFM-micro-rheology technique for measuring viscoelastic properties of cells and complex materials. Optimization and validation of the technique has been completed. Experimental validation and mathematical modelling have been linked closely from the onset of the project, and mathematical equations have been established to derive the elasticity of cells on hydrogel substrates through point nanoindentation using AFM.

Work Package WP2 - Mechanobiological Models of Cell-Cell and Cell-ECM interactions

We have developed a computational code which is being used as the basis to simulate the force-based, individual-based model of cell-cell, cell-matrix and cell-blood-vessel interactions.
The model has now been implemented to model the growth of cancer cells around a central blood vessel - the "tumour cord" or "tumour cuff". In this scenario, tumour cells grow around a central blood vessel with those cells further away from the blood vessel experiencing lower nutrient levels. This work (published) was the first to adopt an individual-based model to examine the growth of tumour cords and was able to estimate the distance from the blood vessel that cancer cells first became necrotic.
The new code has also been extended to include individual fibres in 3-dimensions and thus enable the explicit modelling of cell-matrix interactions. This will be used for the basis of a model of cancer invasion of the ECM as well as for the first simluations of myocardial infarction. Additionally, we have extended the code to solve numerically PDEs in 3D and thus provide the computational solution to external chemical fields, such as oxygen. This has been done in such a way as to be compatible and integrable with the sofware being developed in WP6 by Professor McDougall and the initial modelling of perfusion already carried out.




Work Package WP3 - Upscaling from Cells to Tissue

We have constructed and solved a new (discrete) individual-based model for a line of interconnected cells, particularly applied to cariomyocytes forming a long cardiac fibre in the wall of the heart. In this new formulation each individual cell is treated as a hyperelastic continuum with distinct mechanical properties, coupled together across finite contact surfaces. We have shown how different assumptions about viscous damping (from either within the cell itself or the surrounding matrix) translate into macroscale tissue viscoelasticity. Furthermore, subject to assumptions about the smoothness of cell properties between adjacent cells, we have rationally upscaled this individual-based model using discrete-to-continuum asymptotics to form new continuum PDE models for the (nonlinear) tissue deformation. These models have been compared to existing macroscopic models for tissue viscoelasticity. The next phase of this project will extend these ideas to produce novel continuum PDEs for soft tissues in two and three spatial dimensions, which rationally encode properties of constituent cells from the microscale.

We have extended the Generalized Structure Tensor (GST) approach to models based on the mixed invariant I8, which captures the coupling between fibres, and derived general expressions for the dispersed version of the invariant I8, stress and elasticity tensors. We have demonstrated that accounting for fibre dispersion in the I8 term can lead to significantly different material response (depending on the extent of fibre dispersion) compared with standard I8 term, and may also reduce material symmetry. We have applied the proposed formulation to the hyperelastic Holzapfel-Ogden (HO) model for myocardium and obtained a modified HO model in which fibre dispersion is consistently accounted for in every term of the strain-energy function.


Work Package WP4 - Parameter Inference and Model Selection

We have systematically compared different emulation paradigms, both on simulated and real MRI data: (1) emulating the individual outputs separately (circumferential strains at different positions and volume) versus emulating the loss function, and (2) Gaussian processes versus generalised additive models for nonlinear regression. The results are currently being written up as a paper and will provide important guidelines for practical applications of statistical emulation to data generated under WP5.

We have developed a method for estimating material parameters in the pulmonary blood circulation model of mice from blood pressure time series in various parts of the blood vessel network, using methods based on nonlinear optimisation and Markov chain Monte Carlo. We have applied statistical model selection based on asymptotic information criteria, taking the correlation structure of the residuals into account, and found that a linear model of the blood vessel wall is preferred over its more complex nonlinear counterpart.


Work Package WP5 - Multiscale Heart Modelling and Myocardial Infarction
A novel immersed boundary/_nite element (IB/FE) uid-structure interaction (FSI) computational framework has been developed. Alternative computational FSI approach using Arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian (ALE) has also been developed for flows in a hyperelastic vessel, empowered with energy budget and stability analysis. An agent-based model for LV has been developed, to take into account of environment (disease) cues induced fibroblasts migration and fibre adaptation post-MI in a LV model. The Holzapel-Ogden model is modified to take account of the density growth and fibre dispersion distribution. In addition, we have developed the bi-/mono-domain models of electrical excitation and the equations of mechanical contractility in cells, tissues and organ. We also applied a cellular model for active contraction in healthy and failing myocytes, and assessed how this would affect the LV performance.

Work Package WP6 Multiscale Solid Tumour Modelling

At the core of WP6 is the development of a new numerical Perfusion-Tissue-Interactions platform (numPTI) comprising a novel lattice-free adaptive flow model of angiogenesis coupled to a cellular-scale tissue model, as discussed in WP2. In addition, the model needs to be capable of allowing tumour fragments (metastases) to infiltrate the feeder capillary network and be tracked as they flow from a primary tumour to secondary metastatic sites.
Our most recent advances include the development of a new in silico contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) model that can produce numerical ultrasound images from particle trajectories - this will prove useful for tracking tumour fragments as they flow through capillary beds and could serve as a useful biomarker for disease. This assumes Newtonian fluid characteristics at present, with flow-weighted probabilities used to determine the choice of downstream vessel when a node is reached. The non-Newtonian assumption will be relaxed in future work.
In addition, meetings with colleagues working on WP2 (Prof Chaplain and Dr Macnamara) have allowed us to link the angiogenesis and tumour growth codes via a common driver and new real-time graphical routines have been developed - GCU coding has been used for expediting the latter. This coupling will allow the growing tumour mass to restrict capillary growth and compress existing vessels under appropriate mechanical conditions. In addition, explicit cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions will allow us to model intravasation of the tumour mass into certain destabilised capillaries, leading to tumour fragmentation and metastatic spread.


Work Package WP7 - Outreach and User Engagement
SofTMech has significant commercial interest in research areas out with the original scope of SofTMech. i.e. this commercial interest has led to more than £600K of new funding from GSK and led to the development of early stage relationships with new external collaborators i.e. Vascutek Ltd and NHS research Scotland. In addition, the centre is successfully developing links with new academic groups both within the UK and Internationally i.e. Glasgow Computational Engineering Centre and MIT Mechanobiological Lab. We have further identified that expertise to bridge the link between Clinicians and Biologists would help accelerate the translation of our research into real world healthcare applications.
An indicator of our increasing profile is that, to date, 354 people have subscribed to our mailing list this is a significant increase on the 147 we previously reported.
Exploitation Route We shall publish all our findings in top international journals, make them open access, and present them at major international conferences and in our own soft tissue workshops, which will be held annually.

We shall enhance the uptake of our findings through our Dialogue events with clinicians and industries, and through industrial PhD studentships co-funded with industries, and through PDRA research funded by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

We shall organize and participate in public engagement events to make people aware of our findings. All of our activities will be highlighted in our e-news, uploaded to our website, and circulated to our members.
Sectors Education,Healthcare

 
Description The aim of the centre is to enhance the quality of life and health in the UK, and beyond, and enhance the UK's global competiveness by addressing the most important healthcare problems Heart disease, the leading killer in the world, and cancer the second deadliest disease. Our research will generate a range of new mathematical models for studying these diseases. This fundamental research will significantly advance our understanding of disease pathogenesis, diagnosis and responses to therapy, and hence move clinical research forward. The Centre started on 1st April 2016 and research is at an early stage of investigation. The delivery of planned Health/Wellbeing and Socio-Economic impacts, are dependent on the progress of our research, and are not anticipated till later stages of the research programme. To date our activities to facilitate impact delivery, which are detailed under engagement, have focused on • Influencing professional practice by raising awareness of our activities to Professional practioners and seeking their views on some of the challenges associated with the research programme • Influencing public behaviour by raising awareness of soft tissue mechanics to School children and the general public. Working with Industry to understand the challenges they face and to determine how our research can help address these challenges. To date we have developed a strong relationship with Glaxosmithkline (GSK) and are developing links with a world leader in the design and manufacture of vascular and cardiovascular products and an ISO 13485 Medical Device Development company. In addition we have established good contacts within NHS Research Scotland and are exploring ideas to engage with them. SofTMech has been awarded two Impact Acceleration Awards, (i) IAA project "Tracking biomarkers of heart attacks using a fast statistical emulator based on heart modelling and in vivo MRI", The planned Socio-economic impacts include the aim of producing a useful computational toolkit for clinical research. and (ii) IAA award to support work on mathematical modelling of cardiac amyloid. This project has the potential to deliver significant Economic Impacts through developing predictive models which will enable Pharmaceutical companies to evaluate clinical trials, (testing of novel drugs), at an earlier stage in the product life cycle. SofTMech has established a new collaboration with the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline on cardiac modelling. This has led to the GSK funding of >£600k to support a three-year PDRA and a co-funded two industrial PhD studentship to be based in SofTMech. Profs. Berry and Luo were also invited to give talks for the "International seminar" series at the GlaxoSmithKline's Headquarter in Stevenage on 20th Feb, 2017. The planned impacts from this are Healthcare and Socio-Economic.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Education,Healthcare
 
Description 8 Sept 2017, Professor Nicholas Hill attended EPSRC Review of KE in the Mathematical Sciences - Community Consultation Workshop, London
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact Improvement of Knowledge Exchange in Mathematical sciences will facilitate collaborations between Mathematics and Industry. This will then impact on Healthcare and biotechnology products and also impact on clinical services.
 
Description Graz Summar School
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact tba
 
Description Training Day for Phd students and RAs organised by Professor Dirk Husmeier
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Consolidation of Essential Background knowledge: To initiate successful interdisciplinary research projects, it is helpful for everyone to have sufficient background knowledge of the essential methodological concepts relevant to SoftMech, so as to be able to effectively collaborate and work as a research team.
 
Description EPSRC First Grant Scheme
Amount £124,991 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P024270/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 03/2019
 
Description EPSRC IAA project Mathematical modelling of cardiac amyloidosis and related interstitial cardiac pathologies, co funded by GSK,
Amount £25,146 (GBP)
Organisation University of Glasgow 
Department University of Glasgow Impact Acceleration Award
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2017 
End 06/2018
 
Description EU2020
Amount € 5,600,000 (EUR)
Funding ID Prof. Colin Berry (http://www.euroshock-study.eu/) 
Organisation European Union 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2018 
End 12/2022
 
Description Industrial Funding (Consultancy)
Amount £53,986 (GBP)
Organisation GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 
Sector Private
Country Global
Start 05/2017 
End 04/2019
 
Description Industrial Studentship
Amount £75,480 (GBP)
Organisation GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 
Sector Private
Country Global
Start 10/2017 
End 09/2021
 
Description Industrial Studentship
Amount £75,480 (GBP)
Organisation GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 
Sector Private
Country Global
Start 10/2017 
End 09/2021
 
Description Institute Group Award
Amount £0 (GBP)
Funding ID A24450 
Organisation Cancer Research UK 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2017 
End 05/2022
 
Description Know Exchange Associate Fund
Amount £490,000 (GBP)
Funding ID KE associate 
Organisation University of Glasgow 
Department University of Glasgow Impact Acceleration Award
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2018 
End 03/2020
 
Description LKAS studentship
Amount £80,000 (GBP)
Organisation Glasgow Life 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2018 
End 09/2022
 
Description LKAS studentship 2 (Drug eluting stent and coronary artery disease)
Amount £80,000 (GBP)
Organisation Glasgow Life 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2018 
End 09/2020
 
Description Tracking biomarkers of heart attacks using a fast statistical emulator based on heart modelling and in vivo MRI
Amount £46,379 (GBP)
Organisation University of Glasgow 
Department University of Glasgow Impact Acceleration Award
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 03/2017
 
Title Computational models and methodology 
Description We developed finite element immersed boundary methods and used these to develop new models for mitral valve, left ventricle and various coupled systems. 
Type Of Material Model of mechanisms or symptoms - human 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Our publications are cited by a number of other research groups, and we are invited to give talks at conferences/workshops 
URL http://www.glasgowheart.org/
 
Title Immersed boundary method with finite element extension, with application to heart mechanics 
Description Built on immersed boundary method with finite element extension, fluid-structure interaction of personalized human heart modeling approach is developed, and implemented in IBAMR framework. The computational framework IBAMR is freely available to anyone through https://github.com/IBAMR/IBAMR. Heart models are shared within the centre, but not to the public. 
Type Of Material Model of mechanisms or symptoms - human 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact By employing this approach, we studied the heart function between healthy volunteers and patients with acute myocardial infarction. 
URL https://github.com/IBAMR/IBAMR
 
Title Numerical code for simulation of electrophysiological excitation in cardiac tissues and whole hearts. 
Description This is a finite-element code capable of solving the bidomain and the monodomain equations that model the electricalphisiological excitation and propagation in 1, 2 and 3D geometries including whole heart realistic geometries. Various models for the transmembrane ionic current can be incorporated. Code ownership: Dr Hao Gao (Glasgow), Dr Radostin Simitev (Glasgow); Mr Peter Mortensen (Glasgow). 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact None yet. 
 
Title Open Source software, https://github.com/IBAMR/IBAMR 
Description This open source software can be used by any research groups who are interested in modelling fluid-structure interaction and soft tissues 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact We contributed to the develpment of this open source. 
URL https://github.com/IBAMR/IBAMR
 
Description GSK (as a new collaborator) 
Organisation GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
Country Global 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution GSK Have funded a Research Associate and 50% funded a PhD student with 50% funded by the University of Glasgow
Collaborator Contribution At present this collaboration involves links to the School of Mathematics & Statistics and the Institute of Cardiology and Imaging at the University of Glasgow
Impact To early at this stage
Start Year 2016
 
Description GSK Partnership 
Organisation GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
Country Global 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution GSK - postdoctoral and PhD Studentship to advance and exploit computational heart modelling for therapy development in patients after acute myocardial infarction
Collaborator Contribution GSK - postdoctoral and PhD Studentship, each for 3 years
Impact None as yet - posts to start in 2017
Start Year 2017
 
Description Industrial Engagement - Neurvana Medical 
Organisation Neurvana Medical
PI Contribution Clinically driven problem with regards predicting force that a stent needs to apply to vessel wall to mechanical treat vasospasm. Current mechanical treatment methods involve balloon angioplastly that generates higher outward forces than is necessary. The company wanted a mathematical model to support rationale of their new treatment with stents that have lower outward forces (reducing risk of damage to artery). Developed a constrained mixture model of the arterial wall to reflect its mechanics before/after vasospasm and to predict additional pressure (above blood pressure) needed to damage vascular smooth muscles to resolve vasospasm. Results consistent with (recent) clinical observations.
Collaborator Contribution Industrial company funded Dr Watton's Softmech PhD student, Giulia Pederzani, to attend an international clinical conference to present findings of research.
Impact Clinical paper (submitted). Two presentations (oral) at international clinical conferences (ABC-WIN, Val d'sere, Jan 2018; iNEW, Zurich Feb 2018). Multidisciplinary (Clinical research, Industrial company des, mathematics)
Start Year 2017
 
Description Industrial Engagement Vascular Flow Technologies 
Organisation Vascular Flow Technologies
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution SofTMech organised an industry Dialogue which was held in November 2017. Vascular Flow Technologies expressed an interest but were unable to attend. A follow up conversation took place in February 2018, to explore opportunities for collaboration. Development of this relationship is ongoing.
Collaborator Contribution Vascular Flow Technologies have confirmed their intention to be considered as an industrial partner on the Centre for Doctoral Training that SofTMech is developing. The support would take the form of work placements and short research projects in line with our R&D project pipeline. Development of this relationship is ongoing.
Impact No outputs to date. This collaboration is at an early stage of development. Vascular Flow Technologies have confirmed their intention to be considered as an industrial partner on the Centre for Doctoral Training that SofTMech is developing
Start Year 2017
 
Description Industrial Engagement Vascutek 
Organisation Vascutek Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution SofTMech organised an industry Dialogue which was held in November 2017. As a follow up activity members of the SofTMech team met with members of Vascutek, in January 2018, The aim of the meeting to better understand Vascutek's industrial challenges and to have more in depth discussion on areas of research expertise within the SofTMech team. A follow up conversation took place, in February 2018, to identify specific research projects of mutual interest and to explore opportunities for collaboration. Development of this relationship is ongoing.
Collaborator Contribution Vascutek identified specific research topics/challenges which they are interested to work on in collaboration with SofTMech. Vascutek have confirmed their strong support, both cash and in kind, for a Centre for Doctoral Training, CDT, that SofTMech is developing. The CDT deadline is March 2018 and decisions will be made in December 2018. Ongoing discussion to identify project that could start in advance of the CDT.
Impact No outputs to date. This collaboration is at an early stage of development. Projects have been identified and Vascutek have confirmed cash and in kind support for a CDT that SofTMech are developing. The SofTMech centre is multidisciplinary and discussion, with Vascutek, has involved academics from Mathematics, Statistics and Engineering. To date no formal agreements have been signed or agreed.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Reserach Centre, University Hospital, University of Bordeaux. 
Organisation Bordeaux University Hospital (CHU Bordeaux)
Country France 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution We discuss techniques and experiments and share data.
Collaborator Contribution So far, they advise on protocols and experimental design.
Impact None yet.
Start Year 2016
 
Title Glasgow Cine Strain estimation from cine images--deformation tracking 
Description Since 2012, Dr. Hao Gao, together with Prof. Colin Berry and Prof. Xiaoyu Luo, have been designing a novel method for tracking myocardial deformation using cardiac magnetic resonance cine imaging. Pixel-wise strain for myocardial deformation was estimated by incorporating both local and global myocardial features from cine images based on an in-house intensity-based b-spline deformable registration method. The algorithms were published in 2014 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24922458). Later, Dr. Gao developed an user-friendly interface for using in clinic, which are currently evaluated by our clinical collaborators for the accuracy and reliability. Results on healthy volunteers are reported in https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5150576/. Following studies on patients with myocardial infarction are under analysis. Currently the package is shared within the group. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Deformation-tracking could potentially obviate the need for bespoke strain sequences, reducing scanning time and is more reproducible than feature-tracking. 
 
Description A Dialogue on Cancer 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This workshop was the second in a series of focussed meetings, co-funded by the EPSRC Network 'Predictive mOdelling for hEalthcare through MathS (POEMS)' and Centre for Multiscale Soft Tissue Mechanics (SoftMech). The focus of the workshop will be to bring together multidisciplinary groups (e.g. clinicians, biologists and modellers) and initiate dialogues and collaborations across disciplines, on challenges in relation to the mechanical and physical aspects of cancer.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://softmech.org/news/headline_499405_en.html
 
Description Cardiovascular Research Day - Public Engagement, 14 March 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Patients, carers and/or patient groups
Results and Impact Public engagement day in our hospital
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Dialogue on Heart Failures 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 22nd April 16 brought together clinicians and modellers and created a focus to identify some of the crucial challenges in heart failure and disease over the next 20 years.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.softmech.org/events/2016-04-22dialogueonheartfailure/
 
Description European Researchers Night 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact On September 30th SofTMech participated in the European Researcher Night outreach event at the Glasgow Science Centre. With attendance from over ten thousand visitors it was an excellent opportunity to present SofTMech to the public.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.softmech.org/news/headline_497928_en.html
 
Description Glasgow SofTMech / Liverpool Centre for Mathematics in Healthcare joint sandpit meeting Glasgow 2018-04-04 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Outreach and user engagement meeting between the Glasgow SofTMech / Liverpool Centre for Mathematics in Healthcare EPSRC centres to be held in Glasgow on 4/5 April 2018.The aim is to share methodology and results of mutual interest and to explore avenues for collaboration. Organised by Radostin Simitev and the SofTMech Outreach Committee.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Industry Dialogue 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Industrial engagement: SofTMech organised an Industry Dialogue, 24th November 2017. The aim was to invite a small group, (~50) and to create the opportunity for quality/in depth discussion on topics of mutual interest.Key outcomes: include strengthening of links with industrial collaborators GSK Pharmaceuticals who and development of links with new collaborators i.e. NHS Research Scotland, Vascutek Ltd and Vascular Flow Technologies. Follow up meetings have occurred with Vascutek and Vascular Flow Technologies which has led to the identification of research projects and commitment, from both Companies, to support the development of a SofTMech CDT. NHS Research Scotland have indicated their support for the planned SofTMech CDT and their willingness to promote and support SofTMech. The event helped strengthen the links to GSK by exploring new avenues of interest.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Minisymposium on Integrative Modelling of Soft-Tissue Mechanobiology, 5th International Conference on Computational & Mathematical Biomedical Engineering (CMBE17), Pittsburgh, April 10-12, 2017 organised by Dr Paul Watton 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Minisymposium to showcase work and to encourage collaboration
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Minisymposium on Integrative Modelling of Soft-Tissue Mechanobiology, 7th International Conference in Vietnam on the Development of Biomedical Engineering, International University-Vietnam National University, HCMC, Vietnam, 27-29 June 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact tba
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description PubPhD talk "Can cells be evil?" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact "Pub PhD" talk "Can cells be evil?"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description STEM for Britain 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact SofTMech PhD student Louise Mason presented a poster at the prestigious STEM for Britain event held in UK Parliament. Louise was awarded the gold medal for Engineering for her poster entitled `Investigating the viscoelastic properties of complex materials and cells to study cancer migration'. This event was attended by MPs and policy makers from UK Parliament, which sparked questions and discussion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.setforbritain.org.uk/
 
Description SofTMech December Seminars Series Glasgow 2017-Dec 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact SofTMech organised a Seminar Series in Dec 2017 with two high profile external speakers as follows (1) Prof. Nir Gov "Modelling Collective Cell Migration: Clusters and Monolayers"; (2) Dr. Yanlan Mao "Getting in Shape: in vivo and in silico studies of tissue mechanics in growth control". SofTMech Members and affiliates from the School of Mathematics and Statstics U Glasgow as well as and CMALS attended.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description SofTMech at European Researchers Night Glasgow 2017-09-29 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 29th September 2017 SofTMech CIs and PGR students participated with poster displays and a stall in the European Researchers Night Glasgow.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.softmech.org/news/headline_555906_en.html
 
Description SofTMech website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Set up a SofTMech website. The website is a main vehicle for dissemination of results, news, events information, and general outreach activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
URL http://www.softmech.org
 
Description SoftMech & Multisim Tissue Mechanics Workshop (3 days), University of Sheffield, UK, June 18-20, 2018: Organiser Dr Paul Watton 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact To showcase new developments and encourage collaboration
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://insigneo.org/event/insigneo-showcase-2018/
 
Description The British Applied Mathematics Colloquium (BAMC), 26th-29th March 2018 at the School of Maths and Statistics, University of St Andrews, organised by Professor Mark Chaplain. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The BAMC is the UK's annual multidisciplinary applied mathematics meeting. The meeting has a history going back to 1959, founded by Sir James Lighthill as the British Theoretical Mechanics Colloquium. The meeting has since broadened to cover all aspects of modern applied mathematics. The event includes 18 mini-symposia. SofTMech CIs are leading the following mini-symposia: Title: Multiscale Soft Tissue Modelling: Upscaling from Cell to Tissue; Organisers: Dr P Stewart (Glasgow), Professor R Ogden (Glasgow), Professor S McDougall (Heriot-Watt) & Dr P Watton (Sheffield). Title:Multiscale Soft Tissue Modelling: Circulation and Fluid-Structure Interaction; Organisers: Prof X Luo (Glasgow) & Prof N Hill (Glasgow); Title:Multiscale Soft Tissue Modelling: Cardiac Electrophysiology and Active Contraction; Organiser: Dr R Simitev (Glasgow); Title: Multiscale Soft Tissue Modelling: Parameter Inference;Organisers: Prof D Husmeier (Glasgow) & Dr H Gao (Glasgow),
,
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity Pre-2006,2006,2007,2008,
URL http://www.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/~bamc2018/
 
Description Third Workshop on Soft Tissue Modelling Glasgow 2017-07-07/09 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Third Soft Tissue Modelling Workshop in Glasgow provided a research forum for modelling specialists and medical experts to discuss and exchange ideas on state-of-the-art developments and challenges in the field of soft tissue modelling, with particular applications to tissues in the cardiovascular system and tissues affected by cancer.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.softmech.org/events/thirdworkshoponsofttissuemodelling/