The conference will cover all fields embedded in the realm of computational bioengineering. We are very pleased that distinguished colleagues have volunteered to organize mini-symposia on selected topics.

  • MS01: Multi-scale mechanics and mechanobiology of arteries

    Stéphane Avril & Claire Morin (Mines Saint-Etienne, France)

    Despite the tremendous progress of vascular mechanobiology, there is a still pressing need to decipher how the mechanical microenvironment (including the role of interstitial fluid) interacts dynamically with cellular function and vice versa how cellular response and cellular active behaviour modify the vascular microstructure, and in turn interact with the mechanics of the vessel at all scales. Multiscale and multiphysics computational models from the scale of molecular events to the organ level are useful tools to address the complexity and the multifactorial nature of these effects and they provide a unique opportunity to better understand and tackle cardiovascular disorders. Besides, recent progress in microscopy imaging and in data-driven modelling offer new perspectives for multi-scale modelling of arteries. This mini-symposium aims to present and discuss the latest research efforts in cardiovascular modelling through the scales, covering biology, microscopy imaging techniques (multiphoton microscopy, optical coherence tomography…), data- and knowledge-driven and biomechanical computational modelling.

  • MS02: Effect of biophysical stresses on blood and vascular cells

    Abdul Barakat (École Polytechnique, France)
    Christian Wagner (Saarland University, Germany)

    In the vasculature, circulating blood cells and the cells of the vascular wall are constantly subjected to a complex and highly dynamic array of biophysical stimuli. These stimuli include fluid dynamic shear stresses, tensile and compressive stresses, and contact-derived stresses as a result of cellular physical interactions with other cells and/or with solid surfaces. The stresses are sensed by various structures in the cells, leading to modulation of cellular structure and function. This mini-symposium aims to present state-of-the-art research in the modeling of the biophysical stresses to which cells in blood vessels are subjected and the physical and biological ramifications of these stresses. Presentations focusing on experimental data whose interpretation stands to benefit from modeling efforts also fall within the scope of the mini-symposium.


  • MS03: Modeling bone’s response to mechanical signals

    Peter Augat (Paracelsus Medical University, Austria)
    Sandra Shefelbine (Northeastern University, USA)

    Bone tissue continuously reacts to the mechanical environment. During growth, bone formation follows the functional demands of the musculoskeletal system. Hypo- or hyperactivity leads to adaptation of bone geometry and bone density. Finally, bone repair is strongly affected by the mechanical environment around the fracture. Due to the complexity of the bone´s responses to mechanical signals, this topic has traditionally been addressed by computational models. This symposium will provide an overview of the state of the art of computational modeling of bone during the different scenarios. The symposium will also elaborate on future research questions and potential clinical application of computational modelling of bone`s response to mechanical signals.



  • MS04: Computational biomechanics in orthopedics

    Dieter H. Pahr & Andreas G. Reisinger (TU Wien & Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences, Austria)

    Computer models found their way into pre-clinical and clinical orthopedics. In combination with increasingly precise techniques like computer tomography and motion capturing, which provide structural and geometrical information, they are powerful tools to analyze mechanical relationships in the human body. It is possible to quantify loads, displacements, stresses and strains on the patient level with high accuracy in an oftentimes completely noninvasive manner. Clinical orthopedic questions like the prediction of bone fracture loads, drug efficiency in osteoporosis, anchorage of bone screws and many more, can be tackled. Computational methods are therefore increasingly well received in the clinical field as there is a clear benefit for the patient.

    This mini-symposium brings together surgeons from the clinics with engineers, physicists as well as material scientists whose common goal is the improvement of orthopedic healthcare by the predictive power of computational models. The topics will range from pre-clinical development of methods to clinical applications of numerical models with direct benefit for the patient. Special emphasis is laid on the validation of computational models by real world experiments in the lab.

  • MS05: Reproductive soft tissue biomechanics

    Elisabete Silva (LAETA, INEGI, Porto, Portugal)
    Dulce Oliveira (LAETA, INEGI, Porto, Portugal)
    Renato Natal (LAETA, INEGI, University of Porto, Portugal)

    Women’s health research has greatly expanded in scope from a primary focus on reproductive health to a multifaceted and multidisciplinary research, though woman-specific clinical areas, such as obstetrics and urogynaecology still lead the majority of the resources, including public health concerns.

    Female pelvic floor dysfunction (PFDs) often result from weakening or damage of the soft tissue support structures, including pelvic floor muscles (PFM) or connective tissue. These dysfunctions, namely the urinary incontinence (UI) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP), are related to the weakness or direct injuries of the PFM associated with different risk factors – aging, hormonal changes or vaginal delivery.

    Pregnancy and Vaginal delivery are the most relevant risk factors for PFD and some women show clinical or imaging proof of disrupted support to the pelvic organs namely due to injury or stretching to the pelvic floor structures. Also, number of vaginal deliveries has an impact on the later occurrence of PFDs. Despite intensive clinical research efforts, improving rehabilitation, reducing complications, reducing surgeries and complications arising after is slow. Consequently, the development of innovative tools to increase the biomechanical knowledge associated with these conditions may be crucial for effective and viable therapeutic procedures.

    Computational Biomechanics is one of the most common approaches to model the biomechanical behaviour of the soft tissues, namely the numerical simulation applied to living organs. For modelling purposes, it is crucial to consider multidisciplinary research that may combine image processing and analysis, optimization algorithms, geometric modelling, constitutive material laws and experimental methodologies. For high-level Computational Biomechanics-based tasks are successful, new approaches have to be continually developed and improved, and expert users must evaluate their outputs.

    The main goal of the proposed symposium is to attract scientists from a variety of scientific areas, across a broader field of topics and from more diverse geographical locations. Participants in this symposium should present and discuss their proposed methods in the corresponding fields bringing state of the art and future developments and evaluation in biomechanics of soft tissues.

    This symposium should be an excellent opportunity to refine their ideas for future work and establish possible cooperation. The session’s topics are related to computational biomechanics of the soft tissues, including:

    • Numerical methods applied to soft tissues (FE and Meshless methods);
    • Modelling of biological soft tissues;
    • Image processing and analysis applied to soft tissues;
    • Experimental testing and constitutive models for soft tissue structures;
    • Multi-scale modelling of soft tissues.
  • MS06: Computational approaches to cardiovascular medicine

    Francesco Moscato (Medical University of Vienna, Austria)
    Gernot Plank (Medical University of Graz, Austria)

    In this mini-symposium, few presentation will illustrate the use of simulations for cardiovascular medicine. The range of topics addressed will cover the electrophysiology of cardiac contraction, cardiac-vagal stimulation and its chronotropic control, computational fluid dynamics for cardiac valve treatment optimization.

  • MS07: Computational methods for tissue engineering

    André Castro (Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal)
    Rui Ruben (IPLeiria, Portugal)
    Pasquale Vena (Politecnico Milano)
    Sara Checa (Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany)

    Tissue engineering is a multidisciplinary field with a significant potential in the treatment of various pathologies, from the musculoskeletal to the cardiovascular system.

    Multiscale computational analyses are a powerful tool to investigate cellular behaviour within tissue engineering scaffolds and their consequences for tissue regeneration. In fact, biological response to scaffold’s implantation is a dynamic process leading to tissue adaptation and healing, being associated with cell response to several external stimuli.

    This mini-symposium is intended to be a platform for discussion on these topics. Multi-scale problems with clinical impact will be discussed and future research questions will be introduced and shared among all participants.

    Scientific contributions are welcome in related areas of research including, but not limited to:

    • Tissue engineering scaffold design;
    • Multidisciplinary optimisation methods;
    • Modelling scaffold material behaviour;
    • Mechanobiology of scaffolds;
    • Predictive models for tissue regeneration within scaffolds;
    • Patient specific approaches to scaffold design;
    • New computational methods for scaffold design, including machine learning and other artificial intelligence-based techniques.
  • MS08: Biomechanical modelling by coupling mechanics, biology and chemistry

    Michele Marino (University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy)
    Alessio Gizzi (Campus Biomedico of Rome, Italy)
    Giuseppe Vairo (University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy)

    Theoretical and computational models can significantly contribute to understanding the human body in health and disease. In silico methods allow testing under controlled conditions and resolutions that are otherwise impossible in the laboratory. Nevertheless, the role of computational methods in biology and medicine research, as well as in computer-guided therapy and surgery, is still limited. To strengthen their role, modeling approaches should tailor the different mechanisms active in a living system: cells communicate through molecular pathways; the biological activity of several molecular species alter tissue microstructure, biochemistry, and biophysics; the alteration of these properties reflects in biomechanical effects for instance by changing tissue stiffness, strength, heterogeneity, and anisotropy. Hence, transport and biological pathways are instrumental in the maintenance of mechanical tissue functionalities or in the onset and progression of diseases. Vice-versa, mechanical and biochemical stimuli alter cell response and affect molecular pathways in a closed-loop feedback system. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop, implement, verify, and validate models defined by accounting for different and coupled physics to properly describe chemo-mechanical and/or mechano-biological effects. Several issues arise, starting from the identification of the dominant mechanisms to be modeled, through parameter identification and uncertainties quantifications, up to the need to include mechanisms occurring at very different times and physical scales (from gene networks through collective cell behaviors to tissue response). In this context, data-driven strategies have recently shown promising results. Moreover, for the preclinical and clinical application of these models, numerical issues have to be treated with advanced computational technologies.

    This mini-symposium aims to facilitate an interdisciplinary debate on the present and the future of in silico approaches in medicine and biology. This session will allow the exchange of ideas on novel theoretical formulations and efficient numerical methods for studying multiphysics and multiscale processes from subcellular mechanisms to whole-organ functions.

    The topics to be discussed in the mini-symposium include:

    • modelling approaches in mechanics, biology, and mechanobiology;
    • modelling approaches for chemo-mechanical effects;
    • advanced computational techniques for multifield problems;
    • verification, validation, and uncertainty analyses;
    • gene network models, agent-based models, and continuum models;
    • enabling technologies for tissue engineering;
    • mechanistic and data-driven approaches;
    • in silico approaches for replacement, refinement, and reduction of animals in research;
    • in silico clinical trials.
  • MS09: Collective mechanics of cellular scale processes

    Sebastian Fürthauer (TU Wien, Austria) 

    The diversity of form and function that characterizes life, depends on the coordinated behavior of biological cells. Cells themselves are active mechanical entities that use chemical fuel to do work on their environment and on each other. This in turn depends on a complex interplay between the polymer filaments of the cytoskeleton and the molecular motors that crosslink these filaments, and which self-organize in to organelles such as the cell cortex, the mitotic spindle or cilia. The goal of this mini-symposium is to bring together experts on deciphering the collective mechanics of cellular scale processes using numerical and analytical methods and to stimulate the discourse at this exciting scientific frontier.

  • MS10: Multiscale assessment of bone remodeling and adaptation using novel experimental and computational methods

    Peter Pivonka (Queensland University of Technology, Australia)
    Rita Hardiman (The University of Melbourne, Australia)
    David Thomas (The University of Melbourne, Australia)
    David Cooper (University of Saskatchewan, Canada)

    Bone tissue is well-known for its self repair and the ability to adapt structurally to mechanical demands. This occurs through the biological processes of bone remodeling and modeling. The remodeling process regulates mineral homeostasis and bone-matrix damage repair. Remodeling is executed by so-called basic multicellular units (BMUs) consisting of osteoclasts, osteoblasts and osteocytes. The remodeling process follows a well-defined sequence of bone resorption, reversal and bone formation including mineralization (the incorporation of minerals in the collagen matrix of newly formed bone). Osteoporosis and many other bone pathologies have been linked with a disruption of the bone remodeling process at various scales. Osteoporotic bone loss and changes in bone quality ultimately lead to bone fractures which constitute a large burden to our society given the increase of the aging population.

    The objective of this minisymposium (MS) is to bring together experts in bone- biology, imaging and computational modeling in order to share our latest findings on various aspects of bone tissue behavior ranging from BMU organization, bone material properties, ex vivo and in vivo imaging of bone at different scales. Furthermore, this MS aims to promote collaboration among the participants.

    This minisymposium is dedicated to Prof John Clement (1948-2018, Chair in Forensic Odontology, University of Melbourne). Over his career spanning more than 40 years, John had practical hands-on experience of forensic identifications that often required inferring life history events from analysis of skeletal remains. Establishment of age-at-death always being a challenging task and this led to the establishment of the Melbourne Femur Research Collection (MFRC) in 1989. John proved to be a gifted researcher, teacher and mentor. He frequently published in high-impact international scientific journals. The MFRC continuously attracts the attention of many researchers in fields ranging from medical science, engineering to anthropology around the world. John brought many of us together creating a common focus to better understand bone tissue at different scales.

  • MS12: Additive manufacturing in the hospital setting: challenges, obstacles, and outlook

    Emir Benca & Francesco Moscato (Medical University of Vienna, Austria)

    While additive manufacturing has proven to significantly improve and facilitate medical – especially surgical – treatment, it still only part of the standardized patient treatment in hospitals in exceptional cases. In order for additive manufacturing to be established in the hospital setting and to be able to develop its promising potential in patient care, technical standards, legal frameworks and ethical guidelines must be defined. Thus, there is a need for highly multidisciplinary teams that work closely together to research the clinical needs, technical feasibility and benefits of this technology for the patient and for the healthcare system in general.

    This mini-symposium aims to bring together engineers and physicians working in a hospital setting with the common goal to establish the additive manufacturing technology in clinical routine. The topics will range from radiological imaging, image segmentation to clinical implementation its efficiency and efficacy.

  • MS14: Inverse modeling and uncertainty quantification in biomechanics

    Ankush Aggarwal (University of Glasgow, UK)
    John C Brigham (University of Pittsburgh, USA)

    With the development of detailed biomechanical models, estimating the associated parameters has become a major challenge. This is especially true with in-vivo datasets, where standard lab-based techniques are not feasible. Inverse models, wherein the parameters are calculated by solving an optimization problem, have become increasingly popular. These can be formulated in multiple ways. Moreover, the data available, especially from clinics, can have significant noise and, therefore, includes a significant uncertainty. Quantifying this uncertainty remains a challenge, especially given the high dimensionality of the datasets and complexity of the models.

    This exciting mini-symposium will bring together researchers who focus on the development of inverse models and techniques to quantify uncertainty in tissue biomechanics, as well as their application towards specific problems. Research on new techniques for image registration and in-vivo strain calculation are also encouraged, together with statistical techniques for designing optimal experiments and selecting models.

    Topics of interest include:

    • Computational inverse model development for tissue biomechanics with application to in-vitro and in-vivo datasets
    • Image-based characterization of tissue biomechanical properties
    • Computational techniques for uncertainty quantification in biomechanics
    • Application of statistical techniques for designing experiments and selecting models
    • Image registration and processing techniques to derive tissue deformation and strain measures
  • MS15: Integrating machine learning and multiscale modeling - advances, challenges and future possibilities

    Tijana Geroski & Nenad Filipović (University of Kragujevac, Serbia & Bioengineering Research and Development Center (BioIRC), Serbia)

    The advancements of machine learning have created an opportunity for integrating multimodality, multifidelity data and revealing connections between intertwined phenomena. Although machine learning has been successfully applied in the automation of the process of analysis of data, shortening the time for making decision, as well as ensuring high accuracy and repeatability of results, it disregards fundamental physical rules, which might lead to ill-posed issues or non-physical solutions. Multiscale modeling on the other hand, has shown to be an effective technique for integrating multiscale, multiphysics data and uncovering mechanisms that underlie the genesis of function. However, multiscale modeling alone frequently fails to efficiently mix huge datasets from many sources and resolution levels. This mini-symposium investigates how machine learning and multiscale modeling may naturally complement one another to provide strong prediction models that incorporate the underlying physics to manage ill-posed issues and explore vast design areas. Topics may include the application of AI in different fields, with the emphasis of how machine learning and multiscale modeling mutually complement one another, interact at the parameter level by restricting parameter spaces, identifying parameter values, exploiting underlying physics, constraining design spaces, and discovering system dynamics.

  • MS16: Molecular biomechanics

    Dinesh R. Katti & Kalpana S. Katti (North Dakota State University, USA)

    This symposium attempts to bring together researchers engaged in the field of mechanics of biomolecules through advanced computations and experimentation. Through advent of massively parallel supercomputers, efficient codes and sensitive characterization equipment, computational and experimental studies in recent years have enabled new insights into molecular mechanics that have significance to human health. Research works on the role of molecular mechanics on the function and health of biological tissues will be covered in this symposium. This symposium will provide a forum for a unique group of researchers to come together in pursuit of important problems of health pertaining to diseases, including cancer, neurological, musculoskeletal, and cardiovascular, among others. Abstracts are sought in areas described below but not limited to the following:

    • Molecular modeling of biomolecular phenomena in the context of health.
    • Biomolecular-engineered materials interface mechanics probed through molecular modeling (ab initio, DFT, MD, etc.) and/or advanced spectroscopic techniques (RAMAN, IR, etc.)
    • Novel experimental techniques to probe molecular mechanics such as AFM, nanomechanical instrumentation, in situ electron microscopy, etc.
    • Multiscale modeling of biomolecular to cellular and tissue mechanics.
    • Multiscale characterization of biomolecular to cellular and tissue mechanics.
    • Novel imaging techniques for evaluation of biomolecule, cellular, and tissue mechanics.
  • MS17: Multi-scale modelling of biomechanical systems and their simulation using neural networks

    Alf Gerisch (TU Darmstadt, Germany)
    Raimondo Penta (University of Glasgow, UK)

    There is a continued interest in the use of continuum mechanics and computational modelling for addressing multi-scale and multi-physics problems in biological and biomedical contexts.

    The understanding and the design of the mechanical behaviour of composites is increasingly relevant in a large variety of scenarios of practical significance, ranging from poroelastic composites, biophysical applications (such as bone, tendons, tumours, and organs), and metamaterials.

    Multi-scale homogenisation techniques allow to encode the geometrical and physical properties at the finest scales in order to inform the governing equations at coarser scales to eventually determine the effective behaviour of the system under consideration.

    The simulation of the resulting multi-scale models is still challenging and efficient numerical techniques are required. Recently, techniques from deep learning and physics-informed neural networks have been adapted to the multi-scale context and promise to provide computational gains at various stages of the simulation chain.

    This mini-symposium aims to foster the exchange between these two research strains for their mutual benefit and understanding and thus focusses on one hand on multi-scale modelling of systems of biomechanical interest, by including aspects of computational mechanics and (hierarchical) composite materials, as well as on the other hand novel techniques using neural networks for the simulation of such multi-scale systems.

  • MS18: Mechanical characterization of biological and bio-inspired materials

    Ange-Therese Akono (Northwestern University, USA)

    This mini-symposium aims to describe recent advances in the mechanical characterization of biological and bio-inspired materials. Some examples of biological materials are compact bone, trabecular bone, dentin, antler, and bamboo. We also welcome studies on bio-inspired or biomimetic materials, whether hard or soft. Studies at multiple length scales, such as macroscopic, microscopic and molecular, are welcomed. Especially encouraged are contributions that seek to:

    • Develop novel experimental testing methods (characterization of risk of fracture, novel imaging techniques, micro-mechanisms of failure, etc.)
    • Understand the inelastic behavior and fracture resistance
    • Validate novel theoretical and computational models to assess and predict the mechanical behavior in hard and soft biological tissues and biomaterials (e.g. multi-scale fracture models, FEM methods, etc.)
    • Formulate coupled multi-physics approaches in biological tissues and biomaterials (e.g. coupled mechanical deformation, fluid diffusion in soft materials or piezoelectricity in hard tissues…etc.)
  • MS19: Computational cancer mechanobiology: from cell-based models to continuum models

    José Manuel García Aznar (University of Zaragoza, Spain)
    Eoin McEvoy (University of Galway, Ireland)
    María Angeles Pérez Ansón (University of Zaragoza, Spain)
    Bart Smeets (KU Leuven, Belgium)
    Paul Van Liedekerke (University of Ghent, Belgium)

    Multiscale cancer mechanics and mechanobiology represents a new frontier in cancer research, providing new insight on the mechanical role of the local microenvironment as a co-conspirator of tumor cells in disease onset and progression. Despite tremendous progress in the field of mechanobiology, there is a still an urgent need to understand how the evolving mechanical microenvironment influences cellular function, and how such this, in turn, impacts tissue mechanics at the tumor scale.

    This mini-symposium aims to present and discuss the latest research efforts in this area, modelling across different scales, and key challenges for next generation diagnostics and intervention. Topics in the session will span mechanobiology, biomechanics, in-vitro experiments, and data- and knowledge-driven computational modelling.

  • MS20: Multiscale modelling of flows and transport in tissues

    Eduard Rohan (University of West Bohemia, Czech Republic)
    Thibault Lemaire (UPEC, France)

    The biological activities of living tissues involve interstitial fluid movements such as in nutrients/waste management, paracrine communication, etc. This minisymposium is devoted to multiscale modelling of flows and related biochemical transport phenomena in tissues. Besides the fluid pressure gradient and flow advection, other coupled driving mechanisms including the fluid-structure interactions, diffusion, biochemical driven phenomena and electrokinetics are in the scope of this minisymposium. The delivery of oxygen and other species within the tissues and drainage of waste in the context of growth, or catabolic and metabolic processes, as well as the development of pathologies on long time scale are important topics included in this minisymposium. Moreover, diagnostics method of dynamics CT, or MRI perfusion tests, in vivo velocimetry, contrast fluid agents transport in hierarchical networks described by multiscale approaches are particular issues of interest.

    Analytical methods constituting the modelling framework, such as asymptotic homogenization, micromechanics, molecular dynamics and extended (generalized) continua based methods are thus right in the focus of this minisymposium. As an indispensable part of the complex computational approaches, numerical methods enabling for efficient computations (FEM, Lattice-Boltzmann methods, Euler-Lagrange Simulations, etc.) including AI approaches (deep learning, physics informed neural networks) are welcome.


  • MS22: Continuum biomechanics of active biological systems

    Tim Ricken (University of Stuttgart, Germany)
    Oliver Röhrle (University of Stuttgart, Germany)