I3A - Instituto de Investigación en Ingeniería de Aragón

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AMBApplied Mechanics and Bioengineering
http://amb.unizar.es

The Applied Mechanics and Bioengineering Group (AMB) is one of the research groups of the Biomedical Engineering Division of the Aragón Institute of Engineering Research (I3A). In addition to the research activity, AMB is involved in teaching undergraduate courses in the School of Engineering and Architecture (Escuela de Ingeniería y Arquitectura, EINA) at the University of Zaragoza. AMB also coordinates the Master Program in Applied Mechanics and actively participates in the inter-university Master and Doctoral Programs in Biomedical Engineering. AMB is also deeply involved in promoting collaborations and coordinated projects with other research groups at national and international level. Research conducted at AMB is focused on the Mechanics of Deformable Solids and Advanced Numerical Methods, mainly on the characterization and simulation of complex materials and processes, with particular emphasis in biological tissue and biomaterials. However, our research also deals with the development of the necessary numerical techniques for the approximate solution of the resulting models (finite elements, boundary element methods, and meshless methods among others).

Research Lines

Biomedical Engineering

Experimental characterization of materials

The principal aim of this line is the experimental study of the mechanical and microstructural behaviour of materials focusing on biomaterials and biological tissue. The analysis of the...

The principal aim of this line is the experimental study of the mechanical and microstructural behaviour of materials focusing on biomaterials and biological tissue. The analysis of the composition, morphology, microstructure and macroscopic behaviour allow to develop advance constitutive law able to reproduce the main physical features of the materials and afterward will be used in the rest of research lines of the group. The principal experimental tests and analysis are uniaxial, biaxial, compressive, shear stress, indentation, inflation, tomography, histology, in order to capture phenomena such as elastic, viscoelastic, fatigue or softening behaviours. Histological and microstructural tests permit to extract important information to model and simulate the response of the tissue at microstructural or cellular level.

Modeling of human eye

The purpose of this research issue is the numerical modelling of the different structures that compose the human ocular globe to help surgical planning (LASIK, intraocular lens implantation, etc)...

The purpose of this research issue is the numerical modelling of the different structures that compose the human ocular globe to help surgical planning (LASIK, intraocular lens implantation, etc) or non-surgical therapies (corneal cross-linking, etc.). The correct empirical characterization of the tissues (cornea, sclera, etc.) makes the outcomes valid. In our group we perform uniaxial and biaxial testing for this task. After the numerical simulation, the deformed configuration of the model can be analyzed with an optical method to know the degree of refractive correction achieved.
We also study the crystalline lens and its loss of accommodative capability with aging (presbyopia), as well as the damage caused in the optic nerve by glaucoma.

Heart electrophisiology

AMB has ample experience on in-silico simulation of cardiac electrophysiology from the cell up to the electrocardiographic signal. Modeling capabilities and interest involve:

    ...

AMB has ample experience on in-silico simulation of cardiac electrophysiology from the cell up to the electrocardiographic signal. Modeling capabilities and interest involve:

  1. Development of simulation codes for modeling the electric activity of the heart based on the mono-domain model of electrophysiology. These codes have been developed for multi-cpu platforms based on MPI (Message Passing Interface), and for GPUs (Graphic Processing Units) architectures (developed in C++/CUDA).
  2. Development of mathematical models of action potential for human cardiomyocytes
  3. Development of population models of action potential by accounting for the statistical variability on model parameters. These models allow for a more systematic study of the effect of pro- and anti-arrhythmic drugs on the action potential, as well as the study of pathologies like Heart Failure.
Simulation of the cardiovascular system

Concerning the cardiovascular research line, the AMB group has a wide experience in the development of constitutive laws for vascular tissue. Currently our research lines are focused on simulating...

Concerning the cardiovascular research line, the AMB group has a wide experience in the development of constitutive laws for vascular tissue. Currently our research lines are focused on simulating multiphysics and multiscale phenomena. We have developed advanced constitutive laws to reproduce inelastic effects on soft tissue that incorporates microstructural information, which determine the macroscopic performance of the tissue. The experimental tests performed in our tissue characterization laboratory allow fitting and validating the developed models. Interactions of the tissue with biomaterials or medical devices have been also studied. We have important collaboration with clinical partners in hospitals to apply our research in problems with special clinical interest.

Simulation of skeletal muscle

This research line involves the modelling of the muscle tissue by means of the finite element method. Both passive behaviour, that is, response under external loads and active behaviour,...

This research line involves the modelling of the muscle tissue by means of the finite element method. Both passive behaviour, that is, response under external loads and active behaviour, reproducing the generated force of the muscle fibers contraction, are simulated. These models incorporate the elastic and viscoelastic response of the tissue as well as degeneration of properties due to damage, fiber breakage or muscle fatigue in order to study its behaviour under different treatments, prosthesis implantation, etc.

Numerical simulation

AMB group possesses a strong background on the development of numerical techniques for the simulation of solid and fluid mechanics problems. In particular, this expertise includes:

  1. ...

AMB group possesses a strong background on the development of numerical techniques for the simulation of solid and fluid mechanics problems. In particular, this expertise includes:

  1. Development of meshless techniques. AMB group is one of the pioneering groups in the development of meshless techniques such as the Natural Element Method (NEM) or high-order MaxEnt techniques.
  2. Multiscale modelling and simulation: AMB has developed state of the art numerical techniques for the simulation of multiscale and multiphysics problems such as modelling CNTs suspensions, and many others.
  3. Development of techniques for real-time simulation. In close collaboration with other lines in the group, the development of efficient techniques for real-time simulation in the context of virtual surgery is other of the various lines of research of our group.
  4. Development of numerical techniques for the simulation on handheld devices, deployed platforms such as smartphones and tablets. We also study the possible implications on the field of augmented reality, augmented learning, etc. We are able to embed a complex simulation in an ebook, for instance.

Key Projects

InForMed

An integrated pilot line for micro-fabricated medical devices: The goal of the InForMed project is to establish an integrated pilot line for medical devices.

The pilot line includes micro-...

An integrated pilot line for micro-fabricated medical devices: The goal of the InForMed project is to establish an integrated pilot line for medical devices.

The pilot line includes micro-fabrication, assembly and even the fabrication of smart catheters. The heart of this chain is the microfabrication and assembly facility of Philips Innovation Services, which will be qualified for small/medium-scale production of medical devices. The pilot facility will be open to other users for pilot production and product validation. The pilot line will be integrated in a complete innovation value chain from technology concept to high-volume production and system qualification.

IP = Luis Fernández

CuraBone

Predictive models and simulations in bone regeneration: a multiscale patient-specific approach: Bone injuries represent a high cost for the European health system, requiring corrective surgery to...

Predictive models and simulations in bone regeneration: a multiscale patient-specific approach: Bone injuries represent a high cost for the European health system, requiring corrective surgery to fix the bones. Traditionally, their treatment relies on classical orthopaedic techniques but, nowadays, it is possible to design and fabricate custom-made implants. Thanks to the current advance in image-based technologies, the reconstruction of models that are exact copies of patient specific bones is possible. Thus, this methodology is appropriate for preoperative surgical planning, but currently lacks of a predictive capacity. It presents a low impact for quantitatively determine the effectiveness of different treatments on bone regeneration and, consequently, the patient recovery. CURABONE aims to bridge this gap, integrating and extending numerical simulation technologies based on image analysis to achieve a predictive methodology, to optimize patient-specific treatment of bone injuries and rehabilitation therapies.

IP = José Manuel García Aznar (ERC Grantee)

Biomedical Engineering

LOCMOTIC - Localización del origen de arrítmias cardiacas mediante modelado y tecnologías de la información y comunicaciones

To develop a software platform that allows for the simulation of the electric activity fo the heart and the recording of this activity by menas of a intracavital electrodes (EGM-DAI). This...

To develop a software platform that allows for the simulation of the electric activity fo the heart and the recording of this activity by menas of a intracavital electrodes (EGM-DAI). This platform is based on tridimensional models of the heart that include, a great deal of electrophysiological detail of the organ, i.e., cell heterogeneity and the the anatomical structure of the ventricle and atria.

Development of a computational tool for the study of fluid-solid interactions problems in a cardiovascular framework. Application to the design of a new prototype of antithrombotic filter for vena cava

This research project has a double objective. Firstly, from a purely formal point of view, a computational tool for modelling of fluid-structure interaction problems focused on cardiovascular...

This research project has a double objective. Firstly, from a purely formal point of view, a computational tool for modelling of fluid-structure interaction problems focused on cardiovascular applications will be developed. The results from this numerical tool will be validated with experimental measures obtained in laboratory using Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) and holography. Secondly, the applicability and validity of the numerical system will be evaluated by applying the tool to improve of the mechanical design of a new prototype of antithrombotic filter for vena cava.

Biomechanical behavior of abdominal wall. Patient-specific surgery treatment and prosthesis for abdominal wall

The main objective of this project is to develop, design and manufacture a new polypropylene prosthesis concept and to take this innovative end product specific for the repair of large abdominal...

The main objective of this project is to develop, design and manufacture a new polypropylene prosthesis concept and to take this innovative end product specific for the repair of large abdominal wall defects to the final validation stage by experimental in vitro studies and in vivo implants.
This requires developing a prior complete biomechanical model of the abdominal cavity  that allows us to understand and to simulate the coupling of the reticular prosthetic components with the biomechanics of the tissues of the abdominal to study the response in the short term, once the mesh implanted in surgery, and long term once the wound healed and depending on the mechanical properties of tissue formed.

Virtual Physiological Human Whole Heart: improvement in patient-oriented treatment of cardiac arrhythmias
  • To develop an improved methodology for the multiscale simulation of the Heart from ion channels to the surface signal (ECG).
  • To develop an...
  • To develop an improved methodology for the multiscale simulation of the Heart from ion channels to the surface signal (ECG).
  • To develop an improved parallel efficient computational tool for multi-CPU oriented to the full 3D simulation of the heart atria assembly including internal structures.
  • To develop a GPU based efficient computational code for 3D ventricle and atria (whole heart) simulations validating the results with previously validated codes.
  • To simulate the electrophysiological behavior of the human atria and ventricle under pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments on arrhythmia development. Different cases of study will be established by the different groups of the consortium.
Project reference: TIN2012-37546-C03-03

Industrial Technologies

Real-time simulation of forming processes by Proper Generalized Decomposition (PGD) methods
Decision taking in industrial contexts faces very often the problem of the cost associated with the nowadays very accurate, but very time consuming, simulation process. This project deals with...
Decision taking in industrial contexts faces very often the problem of the cost associated with the nowadays very accurate, but very time consuming, simulation process. This project deals with the real-time simulation of forming processes.

Project reference:  CICYT-DPI2011-27778-C01/02

Key Technologies

Biomedical Engineering

Electrophysiology simulation codes

The technology developed by this research line corresponds to the electrophysiology simulation codes for multi-core, mpi-based, platforms (freeware), as well as the codes for GPU platforms (under...

The technology developed by this research line corresponds to the electrophysiology simulation codes for multi-core, mpi-based, platforms (freeware), as well as the codes for GPU platforms (under development, the code is not free to use except under research collaborations). The simulation code for multi-core platforms is already being used by different groups in Spain and Europe.

Services

Biomedical Engineering

Mechanical characterization of materials, biomaterials and biological tissues

The I3A is able to perform experimental tests to asses the mechanical properties of different materials, focusing on biomaterials and biological tissues. The main experiments include uniaxial,...

The I3A is able to perform experimental tests to asses the mechanical properties of different materials, focusing on biomaterials and biological tissues. The main experiments include uniaxial, biaxial, compressive, shear stress, indentation and inflation states in order to capture phenomena such as elastic, viscoelastic, fatigue or softening behaviours of materials. In addition some other techniques allow to extract microstructural information, such as histology or micro-computational tomography.

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