Designed especially for neurobiologists, FluoRender is an interactive tool for multi-channel fluorescence microscopy data visualization and analysis.
Large scale visualization on the Powerwall.
BrainStimulator is a set of networks that are used in SCIRun to perform simulations of brain stimulation such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and magnetic transcranial stimulation (TMS).
Developing software tools for science has always been a central vision of the SCI Institute.

Biomedical Computing

Biomedical computing combines the diagnostic and investigative aspects of biology and medical science with the power and problem-solving capabilities of modern computing. Computers are used to accelerate research learning, simulate patient behavior and visualize complex biological models.


Chris Johnson

Inverse Problems
Computational Electrophysiology

Rob MacLeod

ECG Imaging
Cardiac Disease
Computational Electrophysiology

Jeff Weiss

Computational Biomechanics

Orly Alter

Computational Biology

Chris Butson

Deep Brain Simulation
Transcranial Magnetic
Stimulation (TMS)

Associated Centers:

Publications in Biomedical Computing:

Quantifying variability in radiation dose due to respiratory-induced tumor motion
S.E. Geneser, J.D. Hinkle, R.M. Kirby, Bo Wang, B. Salter, S. Joshi. In Medical Image Analysis, Vol. 15, No. 4, pp. 640--649. 2011.
DOI: 10.1016/

Tensor Decomposition Reveals Concurrent Evolutionary Convergences and Divergences and Correlations with Structural Motifs in Ribosomal RNA
C. Muralidhara, A.M. Gross, R.R. Gutell, O. Alter. In PLoS ONE, Vol. 6, No. 4, Public Library of Science, pp. e18768. April, 2011.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018768

Evolutionary relationships among organisms are commonly described by using a hierarchy derived from comparisons of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequences. We propose that even on the level of a single rRNA molecule, an organism's evolution is composed of multiple pathways due to concurrent forces that act independently upon different rRNA degrees of freedom. Relationships among organisms are then compositions of coexisting pathway-dependent similarities and dissimilarities, which cannot be described by a single hierarchy. We computationally test this hypothesis in comparative analyses of 16S and 23S rRNA sequence alignments by using a tensor decomposition, i.e., a framework for modeling composite data. Each alignment is encoded in a cuboid, i.e., a third-order tensor, where nucleotides, positions and organisms, each represent a degree of freedom. A tensor mode-1 higher-order singular value decomposition (HOSVD) is formulated such that it separates each cuboid into combinations of patterns of nucleotide frequency variation across organisms and positions, i.e., \"eigenpositions\" and corresponding nucleotide-specific segments of \"eigenorganisms,\" respectively, independent of a-priori knowledge of the taxonomic groups or rRNA structures. We find, in support of our hypothesis that, first, the significant eigenpositions reveal multiple similarities and dissimilarities among the taxonomic groups. Second, the corresponding eigenorganisms identify insertions or deletions of nucleotides exclusively conserved within the corresponding groups, that map out entire substructures and are enriched in adenosines, unpaired in the rRNA secondary structure, that participate in tertiary structure interactions. This demonstrates that structural motifs involved in rRNA folding and function are evolutionary degrees of freedom. Third, two previously unknown coexisting subgenic relationships between Microsporidia and Archaea are revealed in both the 16S and 23S rRNA alignments, a convergence and a divergence, conferred by insertions and deletions of these motifs, which cannot be described by a single hierarchy. This shows that mode-1 HOSVD modeling of rRNA alignments might be used to computationally predict evolutionary mechanisms.

Finite Element Based Discretization and Regularization Strategies for 3D Inverse Electrocardiography
D. Wang, R.M. Kirby, C.R. Johnson. In IEEE Transactions for Biomedical Engineering, Vol. 58, No. 6, pp. 1827--1838. 2011.
PubMed ID: 21382763
PubMed Central ID: PMC3109267

We consider the inverse electrocardiographic problem of computing epicardial potentials from a body-surface potential map. We study how to improve numerical approximation of the inverse problem when the finite-element method is used. Being ill-posed, the inverse problem requires different discretization strategies from its corresponding forward problem. We propose refinement guidelines that specifically address the ill-posedness of the problem. The resulting guidelines necessitate the use of hybrid finite elements composed of tetrahedra and prism elements. Also, in order to maintain consistent numerical quality when the inverse problem is discretized into different scales, we propose a new family of regularizers using the variational principle underlying finite-element methods. These variational-formed regularizers serve as an alternative to the traditional Tikhonov regularizers, but preserves the L2 norm and thereby achieves consistent regularization in multiscale simulations. The variational formulation also enables a simple construction of the discrete gradient operator over irregular meshes, which is difficult to define in traditional discretization schemes. We validated our hybrid element technique and the variational regularizers by simulations on a realistic 3-D torso/heart model with empirical heart data. Results show that discretization based on our proposed strategies mitigates the ill-conditioning and improves the inverse solution, and that the variational formulation may benefit a broader range of potential-based bioelectric problems.

A New Family of Variational-Form-Based Regularizers for Reconstructing Epicardial Potentials from Body-Surface Mapping
D.F. Wang, R.M. Kirby, R.S. MacLeod, C.R. Johnson. In Computing in Cardiology, 2010, pp. 93--96. 2010.

Effects of idealized joint geometry on finite element predictions of cartilage contact stresses in the hip
A.E. Anderson, B.J. Ellis, S.A. Maas, J.A. Weiss. In Journal of Biomechanics, Vol. 43, No. 7, pp. 1351--1357. May, 2010.

Computational models may have the ability to quantify the relationship between hip morphology, cartilage mechanics and osteoarthritis. Most models have assumed the hip joint to be a perfect ball and socket joint and have neglected deformation at the bone-cartilage interface. The objective of this study was to analyze finite element (FE) models of hip cartilage mechanics with varying degrees of simplified geometry and a model with a rigid bone material assumption to elucidate the effects on predictions of cartilage stress. A previously validated subject-specific FE model of a cadaveric hip joint was used as the basis for the models. Geometry for the bone-cartilage interface was either: (1) subject-specific (i.e. irregular), (2) spherical, or (3) a rotational conchoid. Cartilage was assigned either a varying (irregular) or constant thickness (smoothed). Loading conditions simulated walking, stair-climbing and descending stairs. FE predictions of contact stress for the simplified models were compared with predictions from the subject-specific model. Both spheres and conchoids provided a good approximation of native hip joint geometry (average fitting error ∼0.5 mm). However, models with spherical/conchoid bone geometry and smoothed articulating cartilage surfaces grossly underestimated peak and average contact pressures (50% and 25% lower, respectively) and overestimated contact area when compared to the subject-specific FE model. Models incorporating subject-specific bone geometry with smoothed articulating cartilage also underestimated pressures and predicted evenly distributed patterns of contact. The model with rigid bones predicted much higher pressures than the subject-specific model with deformable bones. The results demonstrate that simplifications to the geometry of the bone-cartilage interface, cartilage surface and bone material properties can have a dramatic effect on the predicted magnitude and distribution of cartilage contact pressures in the hip joint.

Keywords: mrl

Resolution Strategies for the Finite-Element-Based Solution of the ECG Inverse Problem
D.F. Wang, R.M. Kirby, C.R. Johnson. In IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, Vol. 57, No. 2, pp. 220--237. February, 2010.

Using the stochastic collocation method for the uncertainty quantification of drug concentration due to depot shape variability
J.S. Preston, T. Tasdizen, C.M. Terry, A.K. Cheung, R.M. Kirby. In IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, Vol. 56, No. 3, Note: Epub 2008 Dec 2, pp. 609--620. 2009.
PubMed ID: 19272865

Global Effects of DNA Replication and DNA Replication Origin Activity on Eukaryotic Gene Expression,
L. Omberg, J.R. Meyerson, K. Kobayashi, L.S. Drury, J.F.X. Diffley, O. Alter. In Nature Molecular Systems Biology, Vol. 5, No. 312, pp. (published online). October, 2009.
DOI: 10.1038/msb.2009.70

Incorporating patient breathing variability into a stochastic model of dose deposition for stereotactic body radiation therapy
S.E. Geneser, R.M. Kirby, Brian Wang, B. Salter, S. Joshi. In Information Processing in Medical Imaging, Lecture Notes in Computer Science LNCS, Vol. 5636, pp. 688--700. 2009.
PubMed ID: 19694304

Finite Element Discretization Strategies for the Inverse Electrocardiographic (ECG) Problem
D.F. Wang, R.M. Kirby, C.R. Johnson. In Proceedings of the 11th World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, Munich, Germany, Vol. 25/2, pp. 729-732. September, 2009.

Finite Element Refinements for Inverse Electrocardiography: Hybrid-Shaped Elements, High-Order Element Truncation and Variational Gradient Operator
D.F. Wang, R.M. Kirby, C.R. Johnson. In Proceeding of Computers in Cardiology 2009, Park City, September, 2009.

Subject-specific, multiscale simulation of electrophysiology: a software pipeline for image-based models and application examples
R.S. MacLeod, J.G. Stinstra, S. Lew, R.T. Whitaker, D.J. Swenson, M.J. Cole, J. Krüger, D.H. Brooks, C.R. Johnson. In Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society A, Mathematical, Physical & Engineering Sciences, Vol. 367, No. 1896, pp. 2293--2310. 2009.

Application of Stochastic Finite Element Methods to Study the Sensitivity of ECG Forward Modeling to Organ Conductivity
S.E. Geneser, R.M. Kirby, R.S. MacLeod. In IEEE Transations on Biomedical Engineering, Vol. 55, No. 1, pp. 31--40. January, 2008.

Visual Analysis of Bioelectric Fields
X. Tricoche, R.S. MacLeod, C.R. Johnson. In Visualization in Medicine and Life Sciences, Mathematics and Visualization, Springer-Verlag, pp. 205--220. 2008.

CRA-NIH Computing Research Challenges in Biomedicine Workshop Recommendations
D. Reed, C.R. Johnson. Note: Computing Research Association (CRA), 2007.

A Tensor Higher-Order Singular Value Decomposition for Integrative Analysis of DNA Microarray Data From Different Studies,
L. Omberg, G.H. Golub, O. Alter. In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 104, No. 47, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, pp. 18371–-18376. November, 2007.
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0709146104

Genomic Signal Processing: From Matrix Algebra to Genetic Networks
O. Alter. In Microarray Data Analysis: Methods in Molecular Biology, Vol. 377, Edited by M.J. Korenberg, Humana Press, Totowa, pp. 17--59. 2007.
DOI: 10.1007/978-1-59745-390-5_2

BioMesh3D: A Meshing Pipeline for Biomedical Models
SCI Institute Technical Report, M. Callahan, M.J. Cole, J.F. Shepherd, J.G. Stinstra, C.R. Johnson. No. UUSCI-2007-009, University of Utah, 2007.

Hexahedral Mesh Generation for Biomedical Models in SCIRun
SCI Institute Technical Report, J.F. Shepherd, C.R. Johnson. No. UUSCI-2007-008, University of Utah, 2007.

A Meshing Pipeline for Biomedical Computing
M. Callahan, M.J. Cole, J.F. Shepherd, J.G. Stinstra, C.R. Johnson. In Engineering with Computers, Special Issue on Computational Bioengineering, pp. (in press). 2007.