The long-term focus of the Biological Systems Simulation (BioSim) research focus area is on multi-scale simulation frameworks for biological systems. The specific goal is to develop a multi-scale simulation framework for investigating human biological processes and to make this framework freely available via cyber-infrastructure for research, education, and training. This framework will enable prediction of biological function ranging from fluid and structural mechanics to cellular and organism level physiology to molecular chemistry. Our multi-scale approach tightly integrates:
- A macro-scale Quantitative Human Physiology (QHP) model of integrative human physiology to determine the mechanisms responsible for alterations in human pulmonary and cardiovascular physiology;
- Meso-scale computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations of individual organs and organ systems;
- Meso-scale probabilistic simulations of organ and organ system subcomponents where deterministic simulations are not practical with current computing capabilities; and
- Micro-scale modeling and physiochemical characterization of inter-component interactions.
The broader scientific impacts of the research will be highlighted with a compelling demonstration of practical value, the DigitalLung project as illustrated below. DigitalLung is a multi-scale simulation for predicting the transport and physiological impact of inhaled particles in the human lung. Understanding the mechanisms responsible for the biological effects following exposure to inhaled particles is challenging and requires a multi-scale integrative quantitative analysis of physiology. The availability of the multi-scale, predictive DigitalLung framework will have significant impact on human health applications including environmental and toxicological impact assessment and development of novel pulmonary drug delivery methods.