The vision of the University of Sheffield’s Insigneo EPSRC MultiSim programme is the development of a modelling framework focused on the human musculoskeletal system but designed as a generic platform to address other engineering challenges that involve multi-scale modelling, unobservable states and variables, and uncertainty. This programme aims to create a new generation of predictive models capable of handling complex multi-scale and multiphysics problems, characterised by uncertain and incomplete information. This will secure the considerable breadth of our vision. The depth of the vision will be achieved by applying such radically new approaches to modelling the musculoskeletal system by integrating all interactions across space-time from the cellular scale up to the whole organism scale,
individualised to each patient.
The project focuses on the establishment of a currently non-existent but essential computational platform for the management of musculoskeletal disorders.
The two central themes of this Frontier Engineering multiscale programme are
- The development of a novel multi-scale model of the musculoskeletal system that describes the mechanobiological processes from the whole body (neuromuscular control and body dynamics) down to the cellular level (bone remodelling and mechanosensing);
- The creation of a multi-scale model from a partially identified input obtained by fusing a generic atlas of the anatomy, physiology, biology, and biomechanics for each individual.
This framework will be integrated in an efficient hypermodelling approach, numerically optimised at each scale level. It is this integrative and holistic approach that makes this project truly transformative. The impact from MultiSim will be far reaching, with benefits not only for bioengineering, but for medicine, for engineering generally, and so for society as a whole.
MultiSim’s Pathway to Impact has two distinct, complementary strands: the first concerns the application of the software framework directly to the human musculoskeletal system, the second concerns its application to other fields of medicine, and then to other branches of engineering – those demonstrating the greatest suitability and appetite for the new capabilities.
For the first strand, the five principal beneficiaries will be; industry, clinicians, scientific and engineering communities, patients and public.