5th Soft Tissue Workshop 1-3rd June 2021

5th St. Andrews SofTMech Soft Tissue Modelling workshop: On-line

One of the greatest challenges for mechanical modelling is to extend its success to fields outside traditional engineering, in particular to physiology, biomedical sciences, and medicine. This Fifth workshop continued the 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.

The 5th St. Andrews Soft Tissue workshop took place on Tuesday 1st June to Thursday 3rd June. It was supported by ICMs. There were 100 registered delegates. The three day workshop programme covered the themes of Cardiac Modelling, Multiscale Modelling, Respiration and Circulation, Cancer and Mechanobiology. There were 6 plenary talks and 28 talks. A poster session by virtue of being held in sococo, allowed delegates to interact with the poster delegates in their poster rooms.  In addition the plenary speakers had rooms in sococo which gave delegates the opportunity to ask them questions. 

About our Plenary Speakers

The abstracts of their talks can be viewed via the link on the right

Prof Alexander Panfilov (University of Ghent)

Alexander Panfilov is a Professor at the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Ghent University, Belgium and Professor at the  Department of Cardiology, Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands. Main  research interests are theoretical studies of wave propagation in an excitable media. Such waves are a wide spread phenomenon in biology: action potentials in nerve and in muscular tissue are crucial for normal functioning of most of biological spices. Abnormal regimes of wave propagation (spiral waves) can cause serious problems and diseases, such, for example, as ventricular fibrillation, which is the dominant immediate cause of death in the industrialised world. Currently he  is working on a wide range of problems including studies of effects of heterogeneity of the human heart on the onset and dynamics of cardiac arrhythmias, application of methods of Riemannian geometry to cardiac modelling, early afterdeloparizations as a mechanism of cardiac arrhythmias, effect to stem cell therapies on cardiac arrhythmias, effect  of fibrosis on normal and abnormal wave propagation in the heart, electromechanical modelling of the heart using continuous and discrete models, effects of tissue remodelling and fat on atrial fibrillation, role of Cx43 hemichannels on cardiac arrhythmias.

Further info can be found at http://www.researcherid.com/rid/G-8459-2016

Alexander gave the opening plenary talk on the 1st June at 9.30am

"Mechano-electric feedback and  initiation of cardiac arrhythmias"

Prof Raffaella Ocone (Heriot-Watt University)

Raffaella Ocone obtained her first degree in Chemical Engineering from the Università di Napoli, Italy and her MA and PhD in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University, USA. She holds the Chair of Chemical Engineering in the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University (HWU) since 1999. She is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), and the Royal Society of Chemistry. In 2007 she was appointed Cavaliere of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity by the President of the Italian Republic. In The Queen’s 2019 New Year Honours she was appointed Officer of the British Empire (OBE) for services to engineering. Raffaella was named as one of the top 100 Most Influential Women in the Engineering Sector in 2019 in the list produced by board appointments firm Inclusive Boards in partnership with the Financial Times.

At HWU, Raffaella is the Head of the Multiphase Multiscale Engineering Modelling (MMEM) research group. She has worked in a number of international Institutions such as the Università di Napoli (Italy); Claude Bérnard Université, Lyon (France); Louisiana State University (USA); Princeton University (USA). She was the first “Caroline Herschel Visiting Professor” in Engineering at RUHR Universität, Bochum, Germany (July-November 2017) and the recipient of a Visiting Research Fellowship from the Institute for Advanced Studies, Università di Bologna, Italy (March-April 2018). Raffaella’s main area of research is in the field of modelling complex (multi-phase) reactive systems with emphasis to the development of responsible technologies in the energy arena. She has taken the lead in the teaching of engineering ethics, a field where she has contributed invited lectures and publications. Currently she is the EPSRC Established Career Fellow in Particle Technology.

Raffaella  presented her talk on day 1 (1st June at 14.00)

"From Applications to Fundamentals –the power of multiscale modelling"


Prof Dirk Drasdo (INRIA)

Dirk Drasdo is “Directeur de Recherche” (DR1, full prof-equiv. pos.) at INRIA (currently research center Saclay-Ile de France) and currently associated member of the Leibniz Research Center IfADo, Dortmund, Germany. Before he was holding a faculty position at the Mathematics Dept. and the Center for Syst. Biol. at Univ. of Warwick, UK, and research associate positions at the Max-Planck-Institutes for Mathematics in the Sciences in Leipzig, and Colloid and Interface Science in Golm, as well as at the Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics and Epidemiology at Leipzig University; he has a habilitation in Computer Science (Univ. of Leipzig), a PhD in Physics (MPI for Biophys. Chemistry), and master degree in Physics from the RWTH Aachen. He has been and is PI in several EU as well as national German or French projects in systems medicine.

His main research topic is modeling of multi-cellular tissue organization. He and his group established several types of single-cell-based models of growing tissues in various applications related to systems biology, medicine or biotechnology. In these models, cells are mimicked as individual agents, parameterized by measurable biophysical and biokinetic parameters. This made it possible to establish a process chain parameterizing single-cell-based tissue models out of image data. Within modeling guided experimental strategies several model predictions were subsequently validated. His current research interests include further intracellular and intercellular signaling, flow and transport for construction of a digital liver twin at subcellular resolution in time and space.

Dirk's talk at the workshop was on day 2 (2nd June at 14.00): 

"Quantitative single-cell-based modeling reveals predictable response of growing tumor spheroids on external mechanical stress, and how this informs a virtual liver twin"


Dr. Bindi Brook (University of Nottingham)

I am an Associate Professor in the School of Mathematical Sciences, and Director of the Centre for Mathematical Medicine and Biology at the University of Nottingham. I have focussed much of my research effort in recent years on understanding asthma processes and progression from a mechanistic point of view. Not only does asthma presents a fascinating biomechanical challenge, it is a highly prevalent disease associated with a significant burden to the NHS. In close collaboration with experimental biologists and clinicians my team has developed a number of sophisticated spatio-temporal multiscale models with the aim of quantifying the roles and interactions of the airway smooth muscle cells (ASMCs) with extra-cellular matrix (ECM), tissues and chemical mediators that are involved in asthma, and the subsequent acute and chronic biomechanical response of asthmatic airways in vivo. These have necessitated a number of different modelling approaches from discrete and stochastic models to continuum deterministic models relying on principles from biophysics, mechanobiology and biomechanics. My early work included fluid-structure interactions in the vasculature, and aerosol distribution in the tracheobronchial tree. Recently I have also been involved in developing models of antimicrobial resistance, inflammatory response in arthritis, and chemokine-mediated leukocyte migration.

Bindi's  presentation at the workshop was on  day 2 at 9.30 and was entitled:

"Structure, function and growth in asthmatic airways"


Prof Liesbet Geris, (KU Leuven)

Liesbet Geris is Professor in Biomechanics and Computational Tissue Engineering at the university of Liège and KU Leuven in Belgium.  Her research focusses on the multi-scale and multi-physics modeling of biological processes. Together with her team and their clinical and industrial collaborators, she uses these models to investigate the etiology of non-healing fractures, to design in silico potential cell-based treatment strategies and to optimize manufacturing processes of these tissue engineering constructs. Liesbet is scientific coordinator of the Prometheus platform for Skeletal Tissue Engineering (50+ researchers). She has edited several books on computational modeling and tissue engineering. She has received 2 prestigious ERC grants (starting in 2011 and consolidator in 2017) to finance her research and has received a number of young investigator and research awards from the in silico and regenerative medicine communities. She is a former member and chair of the Young Academy of Belgium (Flanders) and member of the strategic alliance committee of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Society. She is the current executive director of the Virtual Physiological Human Institute and in that capacity she advocates the use of in silico modeling in healthcare through liaising with the clinical community, the European Commission and Parliament, regulatory agencies (EMA, FDA) and various other stakeholders. Besides her research work, she is often invited to give public lectures on the challenges of interdisciplinarity in research, women in academia and digital healthcare.

The title of Liesbet's presentation on day 3 (9.30, 3rd June) at the workshop was:

"Connecting Mechanics and Biology in a multiscale model of osteoarthritis"


Prof. Alexander Movchan (University of Liverpool)

Prof. Alexander Movchan holds the Chair of Applied Mathematics at the University of Liverpool, and his research expertise is in partial differential equations, asymptotic analysis, mathematical models of solids, modelling of fracture,  waves in structured media, and dynamics of solid-fluid systems. Prof Movchan is the founding director of the Liverpool Research Centre for Mathematics and Modelling, and he served as the Head of Applied Mathematics at the University of Liverpool during 2001-2008, and the Head of Department of Mathematical Sciences in 2011-2015. Prof Movchan holds Docteur Honoris Causa from Aix-Marseille Université, France. He is a EUROMECH Fellow, IMA Fellow and served in the past on the IMA Council, IMA Research Committee, and UK IUTAM Committee. Prof Movchan published more than 250 research articles, five research monographs, and an advanced textbook in Partial Differential Equations and Asymptotic Analysis, with applications in Elasticity, Metamaterials and Dynamics of Structured Elastic Systems. His work has attracted more than 8000 citations, h-index 47.

Alexander presented the final plenary talk of  the meeting on day 3 (12.20, 3rd June): 

 "Eigenvalue problems in the dynamics of fluid-solid biological systems"







First published: 4 May 2021

<< Events