Modelathon 2020: Optimisation of interventions for osteoarthritic patients with multi-scale modelling

Monday, 13th, 10:00 to Thursday 16th, 13:00 January 2020

The Diamond, University of Sheffield

Read how this event went.

Day 1 Symposium:

Experimental and computational approaches to optimise the treatment of osteoarthritis


Day 2-4 Challenges:

Optimisation of interventions for osteoarthritic patients with multi-scale modelling


Our four-day EPSRC funded Modelathon* event brings together the very best of theory and practice in the area of multi-scale modelling. After 4 successful events, and in response to last year’s positive feedback we will once again have an additional day that takes the format of a symposium on day-one. This year our symposium will focus on the role of multi-scale modelling for new treatments of osteoarthritic joints.

This will be followed by a three-day multi-scale modelling competition. Our symposium may be attended as a standalone event or as a pre-session for our modelling competition. All  respondents from  last year’s feedback survey said they would recommend this event to their friends! 

* The Modelathon is brought to you by EPSRC’s funded projects: MultiSim and  OATech+Network

Testimonials from last year’s attendees 

Industrial participation

Our multi-scale modelling competition on days 2-4 is supported by leading companies** such as AnsysDassault Systemes, Synopsys, and Materialise who will provide hands-on support by sending an expert for the duration of the event to ensure participants utilise their company’s software to its full potential in a competitive environment. Our event is powered by Google Cloud.

Day 1 Symposium

Day 1
Symposium: Experimental and computational approaches to optimise the treatment of osteoarthritis

Speaker Profiles

Prof Claudia Mazzà, Director of MultiSim

Claudia is a Professor of Biomechanics, in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, at The University of Sheffield and Interim Executive Director of Insigneo, Institute of in silico medicine. Her research focuses on the biomechanics of human movement and on the definition of experimental and modelling techniques for the clinical assessment of an individual’s locomotor and postural abilities.

Prof Cathy Holt, Principal Investigator of the OATech+ network

Cathy is a Professor of Biomechanics and Orthopaedic Engineering, in the Health, Technology and the Digital World research theme, Cardiff School of Engineering, Cardiff University. Her main research interests are in 3D motion analysis, biomechanics and orthopaedic engineering. She has an international reputation for her research in the area of analysis and classification of joint function and novel applications of motion capture.

Prof Richie Gill, President of BORS

Richie is Chair of Healthcare Engineering at the University of Bath. His research interests include: orthopaedic engineering; hip and knee joint function, disease and treatment; implant function; evaluation modelling of biological systems; healthcare engineering.

Dr Xinshan (Shannon) Li, Work Package Leader in MultiISim

Shannon is a Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, at The University of Sheffield and a member of Insigneo, Institute of in silico medicine. Her main research interest is in continuum modelling of the musculoskeletal system. She has extensive experience in creating computer models of bones and skeletal muscles based on medical images. These models are used in a wide range of applications from investigating children’s bone mechanics, to predicting the risk of fracture in elderly, and obstetrics and gynaecology.

Prof Andrew Pitsillides, Co-Investigator of the OAtech+ network

Andrew is Professor of Skeletal Dynamics at The Royal Veterinary College. His research explores skeletal mechanobiology across diverse biological settings; from the role of embryo movement in the emergence of skeletal form, to how bones and joints respond to functional/ traumatic load in growth, adulthood and ageing.

Workshop organisers

Dr Claudia Mazzà, Director of MultiSim, Insigneo Institute, University of Sheffield.
Dr Enrico Dall’Ara, Department of Oncology & Metabolism, Insigneo Institute, University of Sheffield

Our symposium on day-one explores how multidisciplinary groups (clinicians, engineers and modellers) can combine experimental and computational research methods in a cost and time effective way to help in the study, evaluation and developments of new treatments for osteoarthritic joints.

Through expert keynotes, a round-table discussion, and three-minute-researcher presentations we will explore cutting-edge research on how new potential treatments are being tested, evaluated and optimised by using a combination of experimental and multi-scale computational, models and methods.

We hope that this event kick starts dialogues and collaborations across disciplines on the use of multi-scale modelling in research. To help us coordinate our round-table discussion, on registration, please let us know of any topics you would like covered.

The discussion will be about the evaluation and development of new treatments for osteoarthritic joints by combining computational modelling and experimental methods.

Days 2-4 Modelathon competition

A three-day multi-scale modelling competition.

The competition is based on the concept of a hackathon where different teams work on a challenging problem to ‘hack’ computer code. This event, however, uses ‘modelling’ rather than ‘hacking’! As a MultiSim Modelathon participant you will be joining the brightest PhD and post-doctoral researchers in the field of multi-scale modelling and biomechanical engineering from around the world. Participants will be grouped into teams to try and solve a complex multi-scale modelling problem. These teams will compete against one another in front of industry and academic experts to find a solution to the assigned problem.

This is an ideal opportunity to:

  • gain practical experience of working with professionals in a multi-scale research modelling team that is likely to include clinicians and modellers;
  • enhance your computer simulation skills by using technical software on challenges based on the subject of multi-scale biomechanics in front of industry and academic experts;
  • have access to state-of-the-art techniques and software (including Abaqus, Ansys, Simpleware, Mimics, Matlab and OpenSim) as your team works through this  multi-scale challenge;
  • network and make friends in your research area;
  • win Amazon gift vouchers of £100 as a member of the winning team!

Experience working in a team of  multi-scale professionals

By utilising computer simulations, participants will compete to find quicker and more effective methods of addressing musculoskeletal diseases. Teams will have access to state-of-the-art techniques and software to help them overcome the multi-scale problems. This innovative event not only creates lifelong academic connections but also gives participants the opportunity to tackle modern engineering issues head-on.

This year’s topic

This year the challenges will be based around producing a subject specific model of an osteoarthritic joint and to study the effects of potential treatments. The starting point for these challenges is medical images and gait data of a human subject. Participants will gain a deeper insight into building musculoskeletal models, finite element and medical devices models from personalised clinical data.


Register at the University of Sheffield’s online store by 20 December 2019. Places are limited to 40 participants.

Package 1: Symposium Only

Day 1 Only (13 January)

Cost: Free of Charge

This rate is for internal and external delegates. Lectures and seminars on Day 1 only.

4-Day Packages: The Modelathon

On registration, to help us set up teams,  you will be asked to:

–  summarise your academic background and expertise (up to 300 words);

–  explain what you can bring to the Modelathon (up to 300 words).

You are also expected to give a three-minute presentation about your research on Day 1.

Your presentation slides must be emailed to by 10 January 2019

Package 2: 4 Days – Non-Residential

4 Days (Internal applicants only) Cost: £40. Does not include breakfast and overnight accommodation.

Package 3: 4 Days – Residential

4 Days Cost: £180.00. Includes accommodation and all meals.

European Society of Biomechanics (ESB) Packages:

Members of the ESB receive a 20% discount. Your ESB membership should be in good standing and you will need to provide your ESB membership ID number.

Package 4: ESB 4 Days – Non-Residential

4 Days (Internal applicants only) Cost: £32. Does not include breakfast and overnight accommodation. With 20% ESB Discount.

Package 5: ESB 4 Days – Residential

4 Days Cost: £144.00. Includes accommodation and all meals. With 20% ESB Discount.

**  May be subject to variation

MultiSim and OATECH+

The MultiSim project is an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded programme awarded to the University of Sheffield to develop a multi-scale modelling framework of the human musculoskeletal system. MultiSim aims to generate computer simulations that help diagnosis and provide patient-specific treatment recommendations. In addition, to saving time and money, the new computer tools will provide a more reliable diagnosis of the disease, a better treatment, and a detailed prognosis and monitoring of the treatment. The final goal of such a programme is to improve a patient’s quality of life. As a part of the MultiSim programme each year we hold a competition called the Modelathon our last event was held in September 2017 at the University of Sheffield.
Aims to improve outcomes for those affected by osteoarthritis, research is vital. Although a lot of research is going on to understand more about the condition, many questions remain unanswered. The Osteoarthritis Technology Plus Network was set up to bring researchers together to try to answer these questions. This approach encourages doctors, medical engineers, biologists, physiotherapists etc. to work together to increase the current understanding of osteoarthritis, and to offer patients better treatment options. For this work to be successful, patients need to be involved. Important aims of the Network are to:
  • involve patients in research;
  • engage with stakeholders including the public, patients, employers, industry and clinicians to communicate the findings;
  • monitor the impact of this work, and look at how to improve impact.