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MuscleUp - Towards an Interface for Detailed Musculoskeletal Models

Final Report Summary - MUSCLEUP (MuscleUp - Towards an Interface for Detailed Musculoskeletal Models)

Publishable summary

Marie Curie International Research Staff Exchange Scheme grant under Call FP7-PEOPLE-2009-IRSES (Project# 246994):
MuscleUp - Towards an Interface for Detailed Musculoskeletal Models

1) University of Stuttgart, Germany
2) University of Leeds, UK
3) Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia
4) University of Auckland, New Zealand

Funding Period: 48 months (June 1, 2010 - May 31, 2014)
Project Coordinator: Prof. Oliver Röhrle, PhD
Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Cluster of Excellence for Simulation Technology
University of Stuttgart, Germany


Synopsis of the Project Objectives:
The common ground of all participants of this IRSES MuscleUp network is the use and need of biomechanically realistic computational models of parts of the musculoskeletal system. Depending on the interest of the research, the existing models focus on specific components of a musculoskeletal system, e.g. skeletal muscle, bone, cartilage, implants, however comprehensive and more complex models are missing, e.g. a model of the spine that includes vertebrae, intervertebral disc, the ligaments and the back muscles. In addition to the geometrical models, researchers also often face the challenge of choosing the proper constitutive laws or to properly prescribe physiological boundary (loading) conditions for particular pathological cases.

The consortium brought together a team of researchers with distinctly different expertises and backgrounds while all being interested in computational models. Together, the consortium has a wide range of expertise such as software engineering and development of computational platforms (mainly ABI), constitutive modelling of soft and hard tissues (mainly SimTech), knowledge and motivation derived from clinical applications (IHBI, QUT), and experimental and instrumentation for validation (Leeds). The range of different expertise of the partners of this network and the breadth of the disciplines demonstrates the commitment to multi-disciplinary research.

Overall achievement:
Based on the MuscleUp workshops and the organised conference sessions, it was possible to bring together researchers and modellers from different backgrounds, e.g. researchers focusing on continuum mechanical models, researchers focusing on multi-body simulations, and researchers relying on these models to determine realistic dynamical loading behaviour, which are essential to investigate the morphology and physiology of musculoskeletal systems and as boundary conditions for in silico mechanical tests of implants. The intensive exchanges and effective discussions within researchers directly involved with MuscleUp as well as associated researchers beyond the MuscleUp concortium, have provided the basis for new research on coupling musculoskeletal systems (i.e. the skeleton) with realistic input from muscular contractions, This often requires the coulpling of 3D and 1D (continuum mechanics and multi-body) skeletal muscle models or on EMG-informed skeletal muscle models. The 3D continuum mechanical skeletal muscle modelling, the EMG-informed skeletal muscle modelling and the 1D and 3D coupling frameworks have provided the framework for three sessions at the World Congress at Biomechanics at Boston, USA. Based on these three sessions and the intensive discussions, new research projects have been generated.

In addition to initiating new research directives, the MuscleUp-website for sharing different musculoskeletal models, in particular models involving the tongue, the spine, the upper limb and the pelvic floor has been developed. The key difference to other sites that might contain repositories is the fact that we have used and further developed computational tools to visualise the models in 3D within a web browser. After installing the Zinc Plugin, one can rotate the models, look at different details, get further information on constitutive laws and other relevant data such as publications.