Special sessions

The special sessions are a traditional element of the CMBBE Symposium programme and focus on new emerging research areas and developments in the field. They offer a combination of invited and other contributions from the general abstract submission on selected topics. 
Biomechanical modelling of interphases
Chairs: Sophie Le Cann and Nicolas Bochud, Université Paris-Est Créteil Val de Marne (UPEC) Faculté des Sciences et Technologie, France

Biological interphases are highly specialized regions of the human body, which serve the challenging task of connecting dissimilar tissues that display a mismatch in mechanical properties over a submillimeter wide region. It is acknowledged that the mechanical environment of such biological interphases is complex and heterogeneous, in order to ensure an effective transfer of the mechanical stresses across the two surroundings tissues. This session will focus on modelling approaches to understand the biomechanical response of different biological interphases at various length scales, with particular emphasis on soft tissues adherences, soft-to-hard interphases, and dental interphases.


Cancer mechanobiology
Chairs: Valeria Panzetta, University of Naples Federico II, Italy
Sabato Fusco, University of Molise, Italy

Cancer mechanobiology represents a new frontier in cancer research. It is providing a large body of knowledge on the mechanical role of the local microenvironment as a co-conspirator of tumor cells in tumor onset and progression. In particular, it is now widely appreciated that, during tumor growth, morpho-physical features of both cells and their neighborhood ECM are altered and these alterations result into a departure from the homeostatic cell-ECM mechanical equilibrium towards a new status characterized by an increased stiffness of the cell microenvironment. The tissues affected by malignant tumors are characterized by ECM accumulation, that leads to a severe fibrotic response, known as desmoplasia, and consequent tumor stiffening. 
Furthermore, the degree of stiffened tumor mechanical microenvironment appears to be correlated with very important pathways associated with the cell malignant transformation.

Clinical applications of high resolution CT 
Chairs: Philippe Zysset, University of Bern, Switzerland
 Bert van Rietbergen, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands

High-resolution CT techniques that can resolve the trabecular structure in-vivo can reveal changes in bone morphology and strength due to aging, diseases and treatment. Although typically limited to peripheral sites (HR-pQCT) recent development on Cone Beam CT and Photon Counting CT also provide new options. In this session we aim at highlighting recent developments in this field of bone research.

Computational pulmonology: Recent advances & challenges
Chairs: Aline Bel-Brunon
LaMCoS, INSA-Lyon/CNRS, France
Martin Genet, MΞDISIM Team, Solid Mechanics Laboratory/École Polytechnique/Institut Polytechnique de Paris/CNRS & INRIA, France

Modern modeling and simulation tools can help strengthen and improve our understanding of lung biomechanics, especially structure-properties-function relationships in health & diseases, in an objective and quantitative manner, paving the way toward computer-aided decision making in medicine. But specific scientific challenges lie on this path, which are being addressed by a rather diverse community. The objective of this special session is to gather and structure this community, provide an overview of the current state of the art in the field, and pinpoint the main theoretical and practical bottlenecks faced by the community.

Digital twin of different scales and biological processes: the example of liver
Chairs: Dirk Drasdo, INRIA, France,
Lorenzo Sala, INRIA, France &
Irene Vignon- Clementel, INRIA, France

The goal of this special session is to combine different perspectives on the creation of a biological digital twin, in particular in the context of the liver.
The processes of interest involve biological tissue reorganization, disease progression, flow and transport dynamics at various scales: from the molecular and cellular scale to the whole organ and body level. The complexity of this organ calls for an interdisciplinary effort to design advanced computational models to analyze the different aspects with the aim of targeting specific biomedical applications. Modelling methods can cover physics-driven or data-driven mathematical models for molecular signalling, hemodynamics models, agent-based models for individual cells, and compartmental models for drug metabolization. Recent advances in parameter estimation and sensitivity analysis strategies are welcome towards the connection from clinical data to patient-specific digital twins.

Digital twins for personalised medicine
Chairs: Julie Choisne, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Digital twins can be used to model a patient’s physiological characteristics to deliver personalised medicine. It is an ambitious paradigm looking at the human in an end-to-end approach, across all scales, unifying the virtual physiological human and the daily health behaviour models and technologies.


Engineering innovation in women’s health

Chair: Kristin M. Myers, Columbia University, New York USA
Steven David Abramowitch, University of Pittsburgh USA

Engineers are vital to bringing innovative solutions to complex and challenging problems. For many societal and historical reasons, many of the problems related to Women’s health have gone largely ignored and are ripe for novel engineering solutions to improve the care of women. In this session, Engineering Innovation in Women’s Health, we will focus on the computational and image analysis techniques advancing our understanding of these problems and moving us toward viable solutions. It has only been recently that scientific research has begun to embrace the importance of sex-specific differences. While these efforts are leading to improvements in patient care for women, they are also resulting in broader impacts that extend to the development of technologies that can improve the lives of everyone. For example, in pregnancy and delivery, biomechanical signals, combined with hormonal signals, trigger tissue remodeling, contractility and rupture – all mechanics-based variables engineers can quantify and possibly exploit for diagnoses and therapy purposes (e.g., tissue engineering). The keynote lecture will feature Dr. Michael House, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, talking about Treatment for Cervical Insufficiency in Pregnancy: Therapeutic Insights Using Computational Mechanics and will feature invited speakers who are bringing engineering innovation to women’s health.

Exploring brain mechanics

Chairs: Silvia Budday, Paul Steinmann & Kristian Franze, Friedrich-Alexander Universitat, Germany

Despite decades of intense research, many fundamental processes in the brain remain not fully understood. Only recently, the important contribution of mechanical stimuli has been discovered. This session will cover novel experimental and modeling approaches that explore brain mechanics for a better understanding of brain function and dysfunction to eventually advance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders.

Head and neck biomechanics for computer assisted medical interventions

Chairs: Yohan Payan, CNRS & Univ. Grenoble Alpes, France
Georges Bettega, Annecy Genevois Hospital, France

Patient-specific 3D biomechanical models of human bone and soft tissues are nowadays used to assist medical interventions. In the case of cranio-maxillofacial treatments, thanks to the most recent medical imaging techniques, geometries of the skull, maxilla, tongue, pharynx, larynx, face and neck tissues can be reconstructed and used to design 3D biomechanical models. This session will focus on such models with particular emphasis on the way they can be useful to assist the surgeon, in a pre- or intra-operative way.

How biomechanical models can improve dental clinics?

Chairs : Aurélie Benoit, Université Paris Cité, France 
Ludger Keilig, University of Bonn, Germany

This session is dedicated to biomechanical investigations related to dental research and will focus on the transfer of fundamental research into clinical practice in different fields including restorative dentistry, dental implants and orthodontics. The session will encompass the following topics: hard and soft tissue mechanics; mechanical behaviors of dental materials, including alloys, polymers, composites and ceramics; computer methods on dental biomechanics; imaging and image processing for dental research and clinical practice.

Mechanistic multiphase modeling of soft tissues: in vitro/in vivo/in silico approaches toward clinical applications

Giuseppe Sciumè, University of Bordeaux, France
Stéphane Urcun, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

A mechanistic modeling approach which aims at predicting the behavior of a biological soft tissue must take into account its architecture, i.e. its hierarchical structure where different constituents (cells, extracellular matrix, interstitial fluid, blood, etc.) interact biologically and physically. The degree of complexity and the scales of the computational model will be determined both by the phenomena of interest and by the availability of experimental results. 

Within the realm of biophysical mechanistic approaches, multiphase models founded on porous media mechanics and on the theory of mixtures have emerged as powerful tools. They consider the hierarchical organization of living tissues and their behavior in physiological and pathological contexts (e.g. multiphase modeling in tissue ulceration mechanics, physical oncology, drug delivery, biomedical engineering, vertebral disc mechanics, meniscus, etc.).

The challenges and limitations associated with multiphase modeling approaches in biomechanics constitute the topic of this session. Considering the multidisciplinary context, this session also aims at facilitate the interaction between experimentalists, modelers and clinicians working on this research field.

Microscale observations and microscale modelling in cancer

Chairs: Qiyao Peng, Leiden University, The Netherlands;
Fred Vermolen, Hasselt University, Belgium

Cancers form a set of degenerative diseases that are caused by cell mutations and uncontrolled proliferation. Cancers affect lots of people worldwide. Often combinations of genetic compositions and lifestyle may enhance or inhibit the development of cancer. In order to mitigate or even cure cancer, practitioners choose appropriate therapies from a set of classical strategies. In order to improve and optimize therapy, quantitative knowledge is indispensable. This minisymposium links computer simulations to (clinical) observations.

Modelling and simulation of musculoskeletal mechanobiology

Chairs: Areti Papastavrou, The Technical University of Nuremberg, Germany
Peter Pivonka, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Physiological loading plays an essential role in the growth, development and maintenance of the human musculoskeletal system. This session is dedicated to both the different musculoskeletal tissues, such as bone, muscle, cartilage and tendon, and the loading scenarios across the different length scales, ranging from muscle forces to mechanobiological cell feedback. To explore the relationships, insights gained through various biomedical technologies such as medical imaging and motion capture techniques are beneficial and are integrated into mathematical modelling and simulation. 

Multi-scale mechanics and mechanobiology for tomorrow’s cardiovascular medicine

Chairs: Stephane Avril, MINES Saint-Étienne, France
Daniela Valdez-Jasso, University of California, USA
Nele Famaey, KU Leuven, Belgium

Despite the tremendous progress of mechanobiology, there is a still pressing need to decipher how the mechanical microenvironment interacts dynamically with cellular function in vivo or in tissue constructs, and how this interacts with the mechanics of the tissue at the scale of arteries. Multi-scale computational models from the scale of molecular events to the organ level are useful tools to address the complexity and the multifactorial nature of these effects and they provide a unique opportunity to better understand and tackle cardiovascular disorders. This mini-symposium aims to present and discuss the latest research efforts in cardiovascular modelling through the scales and the challenges for tomorrow’s medicine, covering biology, microscopy imaging techniques (multiphoton microscopy, optical coherence tomography…), data- and knowledge-driven and biomechanical computational modelling.

Multiscale mechanobiology

Chairs: J. Mora-Macias, University of Huelva, Spain
J.A. Sanz-Herrera, University of Seville, Spain

The hierarchical nature of tissues and organs demands a multiscale statement of mechanobiological problems. Indeed, mechanobiology of organs/tissues can be better understood from mechanics of cells, and their interactions, at fundamental scales. This minisymposium is dedicated to present and discuss mechanobiological examples of application, from soft to hard tissues, that are established at different spatial and temporal scales. This will be an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas and methods among researchers, to develop predictive and reliable multiscale models in mechanobiology.

Novel methods to advance diagnostic and treatment value of medical imaging for valvular disease and their intervention

Chairs: Pascal Leprince, Pitié Salpétrière Hospital France
Zahra K. Motamed, McMaster University, ON, Canada

The use of medical imaging has substantially increased over the past decade. The remarkable advances in medical imaging, have motivated the development of new tools that can augment the power of medical imaging to provide information beyond anatomy-based diagnosis for patients with valvular diseases. This session is about valvular diseases and their intervention and covers:

  • Advanced image processing for diagnosis, monitoring and prediction
  • Advanced signal processing for diagnosis, monitoring and prediction
  • Integration of medical imaging and computational modelling for intervention predictions
  • Personalization of treatment through image-based hypothesis testing
Prediction of hip strength from clinical data

Chairs: Philippe Zysset, University of Bern, Switzerland
Bert van Rietbergen, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands

This session aims at presenting and discussing the current status and the future potential of computational methods to predict hip strength from clinical data. The topics include calibration of 2D and 3D images, image processing, statistical shape and intensity modelling, implementation of the finite element method including constitutive modelling and loading conditions, as well as standardisation of the entire process

Recent advances in 3D modeling, diagnosis and treatment of spinal deformities

Chairs: Saša Ćuković, ETH Zurich, Switzerland;
Luigi La Barbera, Politecnico di Milano, Italy

This session will focus on new methods and technologies applied to the investigation, diagnostics, monitoring and treatment of the human spine and its pathologies. Talks will address topics ranging from computational biomechanics of the spine to application of recent technologies for reliable prediction and 3D models that can lead to more precise diagnosis, non-invasive monitoring and patient-specific treatments. Statistical shape modeling, digitalization and new approaches in sagittal and coronal imbalance classification will be discussed, as often met in AIS and ASD patients.

Reproductive biomechanics: computational modelling of vaginal delivery and its complications

Chairs: Cédric Laurent , LEM 3 Université de Lorraine, France 
Pauline Lecomte, LaMcube, France

Vaginal delivery is associated with risks of soft tissue damage or rupture, having serious consequences on mother’s quality of life. Additionally, various devices may be used in the case of operative vaginal delivery, whose relevance and consequences are still needed to be addressed and compared. Experimental studies are limited by the difficulty of collecting clinical data, which may be overcome by using computational models: the challenges and limitations associated with the development of such simulations constitute the topic of this session, in view of predicting the effect of clinical practices on the risks associated with parturition.

Verification and validation of computational models

Chairs: Nele Famaey, KU Leuven, Belgium
Sam Evans, Cardiff University, United Kingdom
Heleen Fehervary, KU Leuven, Belgium

Verification and validation are critical if computational models are to be used to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of medical devices.  This session will cover all aspects of experimental, mathematical and computational verification and validation techniques, including in vitro and in vivo measurements, material properties and test methods as well as best practice and regulatory aspects.

Current challenges of in vivo subject-specific modelling of biological tissue

Chairs: Pierre-Yves Rohan, Institut de Biomécanique Humaine Georges Charpak Arts et Métiers ParisTech, France

Bethany Keenan, Cardiff University, United Kingdom

Human soft tissues are complex materials that can exhibit nonlinear, time dependent, inhomogeneous, and anisotropic behaviors. Biological tissues also grow, remodel, and adapt to external mechanical stimuli. The development and implementation of hybrid experimental – computational methods to characterize mechanical properties is a critical challenge for the whole community. The choice of appropriate constitutive laws, the personalization of the constitutive parameters and the boundary conditions to which the tissues are subjected to are important for investigating the underlying mechanisms that either drive normal physiology or contribute to the onset and development of diseases in soft tissues. The development of techniques that can be employed in clinical routine and which allow to discriminate between different subgroups is also paramount for clinical translation. This session aims to facilitate discussions around these challenges based most recent works dealing with constitutive modelling, personalization and their clinical applications.

Computational evaluation of orthopaedic devices 

Chair: Ruth Wilcox, University of Leeds, Great Britain

Computational approaches are increasingly being used to assess the effects of patient and surgical variables on the performance of orthopaedic devices, both to reduce time to market during device design, and to inform patient stratification or surgical technique once in use. This session will cover the pipeline of computational methods that are employed, from the analysis of in vivo measurements, image processing and musculoskeletal modelling used to derive patient load and motion information, through to finite element assessment of the device performance.  

Mechanical characterization of muscle across length scales

Chairs: Pierre-Yves Rohan, Institut de Biomécanique Humaine Georges Charpak Arts et Métiers, France 

Benjamin Wheatley, Bucknell University, United States

The mechanical properties of skeletal muscle, from cellular to organ scales, govern function and are determined by both the tissue constituents and their complex structural arrangements. Characterizing and modelling the mechanical properties of skeletal muscles across different scales is paramount to understanding both the mechanical parameters that drive physiological behavior and also to provide insights into the development of skeletal muscle disorders. Mechanical characterization is also important for the calibration and validation of musculoskeletal simulations, such as Finite Element Models of skeletal muscle. These models have been used for decades to investigate muscle deformation, internal stress, or pressure distribution to benefit health and clinical practice 

3D Movement analysis and subject-specific musculoskeletal modeling

Chairs: Ayman Assi,Faculty of Medicine USJ Beirut, Lebanon / Arts et Métiers, Paris, France / ESMAC President

Hans Kainz, University of Vienna, Austria

While musculoskeletal modeling is widely used in research, particularly for sports and ergonomy applications, most of musculoskeletal disorders are still clinically assessed by physical examination and static X-rays. Recent advances in orthopedic research have shown the necessity to include both postural and functional analysis to the conventional methods of assessment. Thus, subject-specific musculoskeletal modeling, combined with 3D postural and movement analysis, become essential to be developed and validated in order to be integrated in the daily clinical settings. This special session will include recent advances in 3D movement analysis and subject-specific musculoskeletal modeling. 

This session is organized jointly with ESMAC, the European Society for Movement analysis in Adults and Children. 

Biomechanics of Cardiovascular System: Modelling, Simulation and Imaging

Chairs: Simona Celi, Fondazione Toscana G. Monasterio, Italy

Lorenza Petrini, Politecnico di Milano, Italy


In recent years, computational models are increasingly used to simulate several pathologies as well as procedures at patient specific level. In this context, many tools from both hemodynamic and structural points of view have been developed starting from clinical data.  

This topic aims to present the latest advances in the fluid dynamics, electromechanics and structural behavior of the cardiovascular system and in the mechanics of implantable cardiovascular devices, merging numerical simulations with the most advanced imaging techniques. Methods specifically developed to address clinical questions are of particular interest.

How physical and numerical simulation could contribute to clinical practices in cardiovascular healthcare

Chairs: Fabien Koskas, Sorbonne Université Paris France

Rachid Bennacer, ENS Paris Saclay France


Physical and numerical simulation has radically changed the way cardiovascular devices are designed and developed. Moreover, simulation pervaded research on the fundamental mechanisms of cardiovascular physiology and pathology. However, simulation remains underemployed in clinical decision making despite its remarkable success in known niches. Our symposium aims at the understanding why and the promotion of breaking down the barrier between engineering and practical medicine on one hand and to promote a better definition of the real constraints that faces practical medicine on the other hand.

Successful examples of both sides of the barrier will hopefully pave the road to a better integration of simulation into cardiovascular decision and therapy and toward digital twines. 

Necessity and importance of high-performance computing to address the scalability issue of biomedical-related computational studies

Chairs: Mojtaba Barzegari and Liesbet Geris, Department of Mechanical Engineering, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

The use of computational modelling in medical-related studies has risen exponentially in recent years, and more reliable developed models are being released each year for various sub-fields of this domain. Several hurdles exist to accelerate the uptake of said models into clinical practice. Currently, much effort is put into establishing model credibility, through verification and validation, and regulatory context of the simulation predictions. Another hurdle, having received less attention thus far, is that of scalability of the developed codes and models to benefit from rapidly growing computing power and advancements in hardware resources. As demonstrated by a few international biomedical computational modelling and simulation-oriented initiatives like CompBioMed, similar to other fields, having scalable models that use the available computing resources more efficiently allows constructing of more comprehensive models that capture more realistic phenomena, leading to more accurate simulations and predictions. Taking advantage of high-performance computing (HPC) techniques can help the field to move towards more reliable and accurate computational models for personalized medicine.

Numerical models of mechanobiology

Chairs: Ulrich Simon, Scientific Computing Centre, University of Ulm, Germany

Numerical Models describing biological processes depending on mechanical signals are increasingly used in research. Some models are trying to describe the complex time dependent coupling of such biological processes with the non-constant behavior of smart or degradable implants. Some other models might even be close to jump to a clinical usage.

This special session will focus on recent developments in the simulation of fracture healing at tissue level.  It covers all kinds of time dependent reactions such as healing, remodeling, maturation, ingrowth, degradation, and differentiation of biological tissues and involved implant materials.

Optimal control of human movement

Chairs: Benjamin Michaud and Mickael Begon, École de Kinésiologie et des Sciences de l’Activité Physique (ÉKSAP), Faculté de Médecine, Université de Montréal, Canada

As a result of the development of the computing power of computers and to the release of efficient optimization software, optimal control has recently gained in popularity in many research fields. In the field of biomechanics, thanks to its versatility, optimal control was successfully used in gait analysis, orthotics and prosthetics design, sport, and even performing arts. It is a powerful tool used to synthesize human movements, to predict innovative techniques, to track recorded motion, and so on. This special session will cover the most recent advances in optimal control in biomechanics, from the stand point of software development to clinical applications.

Tools for quantifying cell mechanics

Chairs: Hans Van Oosterwyck and Mar Condor, University of Leuven, Belgium

The importance of cell mechanics has long been recognized for cell fate and function. However, the analysis of how cells sense and respond to mechanical forces has been limited by the availability of techniques that can measure these forces in living cells while simultaneously measuring changes in cell and molecular activity. To confront this challenge new engineering methods combined with computational models have been developed in the last years to measure and manipulate the mechanical properties of cells as well as their internal cytoskeletal and nucleus.
In this session we will provide a space to present and discuss the latest advancements in the development of new tools for quantifying cell mechanics, including some of the most relevant ones such as traction force microscopy techniques. 

When biomechanics meets medical imaging for cardiac assessment

Organised by Société de Biomécanique

Chairs: Valérie Deplano, IRPHE, Marseille, France; Damien Garcia, CREATIS, Lyon, France

Biomechanics and medical imaging can go hand in hand to help the clinician make a more accurate diagnosis. A brief overview will be given on recent methodologies related to the evaluation of cardiac function. Beyond a simple visual tool, it will be exemplified how medical imaging can also be a biomechanical instrument.

Application of machine learning in modeling organs and tissues
Chair: Michael Sacks, The University of Texas at Austin, USA
Applications of numerical modelling in medical device design and development
Chair: Andrew Hopkins, Zimmer Biomet, Switzerland
Augmented/virtual reality for clinical intervention
Chair: Eduardo Soudah, International Center for Numerical Methods in Engineering, Spain
Cardiac modelling
Chair: Michael S. Sacks, The University of Texas at Austin, USA
Cerebral flow (blood flow, interstitial flow, cerebrospinal flow, computation and imaging)

Chair: Shigeo Wada, Osaka University, Japan

Computational models in women’s health

Chair: Kristin Meyers, Columbia University, USA

Computer methods for epidemic management

Chair: Paolo Di Giamberardino
, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy; Daniela Iacoviello, Università degli Studi di Roma ‘La Sapienza’, Italy
Image-based patient-specific modelling

Chair: Richard Lopata, Eidhoven University of Technology, The Netherland

Image processing toward more realistic patient-specific biomechanical modelling and device design

Chair: Joao Tavares, University of Porto, Portugal

Inteligent rehabilitation technologies

Chairs: Fong-Chin Su, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan; Hirokazu Kato, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Ikoma, Japan

Modelling heart valve function

Chair: Michael S. Sacks, The University of Texas at Austin, USA