Thursday, December 3, 2009

Abstract accepted for ACLA 2010

Congratulations to Dolores Steinman, whose abstract "Translating the realities of the body: from medical image to tangible understanding", has been accepted for the Figurative Imaginings in Art, Science, and Politics seminar at the American Comparative Literature Association’s 2010 Annual Meeting (New Orleans, 1-4 April 2010).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Postdoctoral Fellowship Available: Hemodynamics of vascular aging (CLOSED: see comment)

Stemming from our involvement in the NIH's ARIC and VALIDATE studies, we have begun investigating the relationship between carotid artery flow dynamics and vascular aging. The focus will be on three-dimensional (CFD) and/or one-dimensional (wave propagation) analyses as they relate to systemic cardiovascular risk factors and image-derived vascular pathology. We are seeking a talented postdoctoral fellow to help lead this project. Qualifications include:
  • MD, or PhD in Biomedical Engineering, Physiology or related area
  • Broad understanding of vascular physiology and hemodynamics
  • Ability to communicate with clinicians and epidemiologists.
  • Some experience with medical image analysis, time-series analysis, and multivariate statistics
  • Background and experience in 3D and/or 1D vascular modelling preferred.
  • Ability to travel to U.S. for meetings with ARIC and VALIDATE collaborators.
To apply, please email me a cover letter outlining your qualifications and interest for this position; a detailed curriculum vitae; and the names and contact information of at least three references. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Abstract accepted for SLSAeu Conference: Textures

Congratulations to Dolores Steinman, whose abstract "Virtual medical representations: Integrant part of the body’s texture", has been accepted for presentation at the 6th European Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts (Riga, 15-20 June 2010).

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Aneurysms, simulations, and Rolling Stones

In a recent counterpoint to an opinion piece in the American Journal of Neuroradiology on imaging follow-up after coiling of intracranial aneurysms, intenventional neuroradiologist Jean Raymond speaks the words that every simulation jockey in our field dreads (or should dread) to hear:

"Good methodology and hard work may provide some answers to our questions, but contrary to what the Rolling Stones’ song says, time is a false friend in most research enterprises, particularly if it is retrospective (often badly planned and conducted in our young field) or when expediency is favored over accuracy, as exemplified by an expanding literature on computer simulations projecting speculations over the lifetime of individuals, to the detriment of prudent assembling of clinical evidence."

Ouch. It's unfortunate that Dr. Raymond paints with such a broad brush, but I can't say I completely disagree with his sentiments. There's good simulation work in the field of aneurysm research, but a bandwagon's a bandwagon, and it's to our detriment that some, er, less-than-good work gets published, for it only feeds clinical suspicion of all of our efforts. On the other hand, "you can't always get what you want; but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need."

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Language barriers in translational research

Further to my earlier post about us biomedical engineers tending to focus on the tip of the iceberg when it comes to investigating biomechanically-based cardiovascular risk factors, a recent editorial in Nature Medicine, on the challenges of translating research into practice ("In the Land of the Monolingual"), suggests that this iceberg is also a Tower of Babel (how's that for mixing metaphors!).

On the bright side, the editorial highlights the efforts of Toronto's MaRS Centre to break down the language barriers separating ivory and business towers. It is also an encouraging echo of our own small efforts to break down the verbal and visual language barriers separating bench and bedside.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Paper accepted for Super Human symposium

Congratulations to Dolores Steinman, whose paper entitled "New visual paradigms in medical representations of the body" has been accepted for presentation at the Super Human: Revolution of the Species symposium (Melbourne, 23-24 November), and eventual publication in Second Nature. Immediately after Super Human, we will also be attending the Leonardo/ISAST-sponsored Re:live Conference on the Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Somewhere over the rainbow

Among the many things I learned at the Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Visualization in Science & Education -- an amazing experience, by the way, and highly recommended -- was how poorly regarded we scientists and engineers are when it comes to the use of colour in our visualizations. I can't say I disagree, since in our biofluids community, for example, one can, given an anonymized figure, often guess which software was used to produce it, in large part because users tend to stick to the default colour scheme, which is typically some variation on the execrable rainbow map.

Upon my return from the GRC, I happened upon a Facebook posting by the nice folks at Tecplot (the software we use for most of our visualizations, and also highly recommended), pointing to an enlightening IBM report entitled "Why should engineers and scientists be worried about color" (from where the above image is taken). With great enthusiasm I passed it along to some of the GRC attendees with whom I had discussed my longstanding, albeit naive, interest on this topic. Only later did I realize that the report was actually from the mid-90s, and that those to whom I'd sent it were well aware of it. (I blame it on my jetlag. :-)

Anyway, one of these individuals, Robert Simmon from NASA (check out his work at the Earth Observatory), provided me with the following useful links for helping to design more suitable colour mappings.

If you come across others, please feel free to add a comment to this post.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Abstract accepted for SLSA Conference: Decodings

Congratulations to Dolores Steinman, whose abstract "Medical imaging in the 21st century: Encoding reality, decoding the unseen", has been accepted for presentation at the 2009 Annual Conference of the Society for Literature, Sciences and the Arts (Atlanta, 5-8 November).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Paper accepted by Br J Radiol

Because we rarely witness the natural process of aneurysm formation, elucidation of the role of biomechanical factors must often rely on the imagined restoration of the parent artery from which the aneurysm arose. In "An objective approach to digital removal of saccular aneurysms: Technique and applications" we propose an automated technique, based on our Vascular Modeling ToolKit, which attempts to take much of the guesswork -- and hence the potential for bias -- out of this process.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

HaeModel book

Out recently is the first book in Springer's Modeling, Simulation and Applications series, "Cardiovascular Mathematics: Modeling and simulation of the circulatory system", to which Luca Antiga, Joaquim Peiro and I contributed the chapter "From Image Data to Computational Domains".  Arising from the EU Project HaeModel, this book is particularly recommended to graduate students and researchers in bioengineering, applied mathematics and medicine who are seeking a mathematically-rigorous foundation to cardiovascular modeling.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A couple of academic satires

Taking a day off after the ASME Summer Bioengineering Conference, I started, and then promptly finished, "Portuguese Irregular Verbs",  an affectionate satire of academics, tracking the exploits of Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld and his colleagues, Professor Dr Detlev Amadeus Unterholzer and Professor Dr Dr Florianus Prinzel, denizens of the fictional -- in case there was any doubt -- Institute of Romance Philology in Regensburg.  Many thanks to Frau Dr Marilyn Riederer, for sending this book to Frau Dr Dr Dolores Steinman; and to Frau Dr Dr Steinman for encouraging me to read it (and also for encouraging me to take a day off).

While I'm at it, I also recommend "Bellwether", a not-inaccurate satire of life at a research institute, which I read several years ago while working at, well, a research institute.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

ISMRM Flow & Motion Workshop

Abstract submission deadline for the ISMRM Cardiovascular Flow, Function & Tissue Mechanics Workshop in Sintra, Portugal, is less than a month away. As one of the organizers, I have it on good authority that abstracts will be reviewed, and authors notified, within less than a week from the July 17 deadline :-)

In addition to two days focused on the state-of-the-art in MRI-derived flow and motion measurements, one day will be devoted to image-based modelling. Ross Ethier, Luca Antiga and I will review the basics, while Juan Cebral, Frank Gijsen and Charley Taylor will present the state-of-the-art in applications.

This is a unique opportunity for clinicians, imagers, and modellers to get together and discuss the promises and pitfalls of deriving functional information from various combinations of imaging and modelling.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Three graces

It was our pleasure to have Anna DumitriuKatja Mayer, and Gordana Novakovic visit our lab, to tell us about the work they are doing at the interface of art and science, as a preview of their presentations at the Subtle Technologies Festival.

Anna told us about some of the work going on at her Institute of Unnecessary Research, notably her efforts to communicate with soil bacteria around the world. Katja provided some history and perspectives on the visualization of networks -- a word, she tells us, that has its origins in the Renaissance studies of blood vessels.  Gordana talked about her Fugue, an installation that serves as an inspiration for multisensory explorations of complex scientific data.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

From biomedical engineering theory to clinical practice

As biomedical engineers, we are often engaged, explicitly or implicitly, in the search for better markers of risk for the diseases or treatments that motivate our research.  A recent scientific statement from the AHA, "Criteria for Evaluation of Novel Markers of Cardiovascular Risk", serves as an informative and important reminder that our efforts are usually just the tip of the iceberg.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Subtle Technologies Festival

It should also go without saying -- but won't , obviously -- that Dolores and I are looking forward to participating in Toronto's annual Subtle Technologies Festival in a couple of weeks.  This is a great happening at the interface of art and science, and if that kind of thing interests you, we encourage you to attend.

Gordon Conference on Visualization

Dolores and I are looking forward to participating in the Gordon Conference on Visualization in Science and Education, being held at Magdalen College, Oxford from July 26-31.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Paper published in J Biomech Eng

Over the years many parameters have been proposed to quantify "disturbed flow".  In "Correlations among hemodynamic wall parameters at the normal carotid bifurcation", we show that some of these may be considered essentially redundant, at least in the context of stratifying carotid bifurcations according to their nominal exposure to disturbed flow.

Paper published in Biorheology

For apparent turbulence in blood, it is usually assumed that eddies cascade down to dissipative length scales on the order of tens of microns.  In "Rethinking turbulence in blood", Luca Antiga and I suggest that this cascade may be interrupted by the presence of red blood cells (RBC) at physiological concentrations, and show how this might give rise to strong viscous shear stresses between cells -- stresses that may be on the order of the "fictional" Reynolds stresses normally invoked to rationalize the behaviour of RBC in turbulent flows.