The aim of the present project is to connect, in a consistent manner, areas (medicine+computer science+modeling) that, a priori, progress separately and whose intersection, as far as Brazil is concerned, is very low (or nearly null). Because of this, we can say that the project is inherently innovative and that, since it permeates disconnected areas of science and it creates connecting elements among them, have all the scientific characteristics that a relatively new and highly promising area of science has (computer science applied to medicine). This concept of Medicine Assisted by Scientific Computing produces, as a consequence, a new area of research in which Brazil should embark in order to meet their domestic needs as a developing country in the direction of becoming a developed country. Although nowadays there is well-established knowledge in various areas of scientific computing, the use of these concepts in medicine is still in an early stage and any effort with the purpose of enhancing our understanding and of developing new techniques and suitable scientific methodologies should be considered absolutely worth the try. Without a doubt, this is the science conception at its maximum expression, and gives the project a relevance not only in terms of scientific innovation (as said), but also in terms of technological innovation and impact in the society. In view of this, it is necessary to implement an oriented and sustained research in order to achieve the objectives and goals as the ones established in this project.

The combination of medical image processing + computational modeling + medicine generates many possibilities in the sense of moving to another level with respect to the use of technology applied to medicine. The incorporation of computational modeling and simulation in medicine portends a much greater knowledge about the phenomena that takes place within our organism, complementing in a significantly way the information that we get currently through data acquisition machines (that is the way in which the technology is inserted in medicine these days).

Specifically, just to mention some examples, let us say that the use of a new generation of mathematical models such as those developed by members of INCT-MACC (coupled models) to simulate the blood flow in the major arteries of a patient-specific human body (obtained through the help of medical image processing), allows us to analyze in an accurate way the hemodynamics to assess, for instance, risk of aneurysm rupture or risk of developing arterial occlusion, among other problems. The same comment holds for the study of the effect of stents deployment in the local hemodynamics, as well as the study of the interaction between the heart valves and the blood flow. This has been clearly recognized by the scientific community in Brazil and abroad. In turn, the multiscale modeling techniques developed also by members of this institute also provide innovative tools to deal with the problem of modeling the arterial tissue, being a crucial factor in order to understand the constitutive response of the arterial wall. On the other hand, Lattice-Boltzmann methods furnish an interesting alternative perspective that has not yet been explored in depth in the field of computational hemodynamics, and that the present project will address.

Overall, the innovation lies in the creation of new mathematical models suitable for:

  • the computational modeling and simulation of the cardiovascular system;
  • the computational modeling of the functioning of the aortic valve;
  • the kinetic modeling of the cardiac muscle;
  • the computational modeling of the arterial tissue;
  • the computational modeling of procedures for craniofacial reconstruction;
  • the computational modeling of collaborative virtual environments;
  • the medical image processing.

Precisely, all these items indicate the possibility of recreating scenarios which would be impossible to be considered by using traditional techniques. This provides the computational modeling and simulation with a promising future in terms of scientific advances. It is important to highlight that such developments will be carried through in the different contexts that this project encompasses, that is, the scientific and technological innovations will produce results in the areas of computational modeling, image processing and medicine itself, by means of the development of new techniques and scientific methods as some of those mentioned in the previous paragraph.

In a similar way, the large development of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the last few decades also opens many perspectives for the application of computer network and mobile computing technologies in the healthcare area. In particular, this scenario is interesting for developing countries like Brazil that have a huge territory with large regional differences. Hence, the advent of ICT-based applications may make feasible a better medical training and specialized assistance in rare or urgent medical cases in remote areas or areas with less conditions to offer specialized assistance. In this context, the activities of the participating researchers in the proposed institute concern the development of specialized innovative applications with impact in reducing the effects of the regional differences in Brazil, providing a better healthcare service to the whole society. These innovative applications may also serve as a model and prototype to a possible replication of these in other healthcare areas to enhance theirs benefits.

This brief description permits to notice that the project embraces all aspects related to the generation of knowledge and, therefore, to the very advance of the science since:

  • it aims at connecting areas of science that are, a priori, disconnected;
  • it aims at developing new techniques and scientific methods for analysis;
  • it aims at producing a real impact on society with the objective of a palpable improvement;
  • it is aimed at the generation of knowledge;
  • it deals with the training of human resources.

Finally, it is worth highlighting that the extraordinary scientific level of the researchers that take part in the international technical and scientific board provides a clear example of the scientific level and innovative characteristics of the present project.