simulating human organs

From: Fabio Mascarenhas (
Date: Mon Jun 17 2002 - 05:13:43 MDT

>From ACM Technews:

"Virtually Human"
Computerworld (06/10/02) Vol. 36, No. 24, P. 49;
DiSabatino, Jennifer
Boston University bioinformatics professor and Human
Genome Project founder Charles DeLisi is trying to
secure funding for a distributed computing project to
create a virtual human whose myriad systems and
functions are distributed across research centers all
over the United States. Each university or lab
participating in the Virtual Human Project would
create the software equivalent of an organ, which
would then be subjected to different stimuli. The
organ models would be linked to each other over the
Internet, and allow researchers to study the
relationship between the body's many functions. Such
models could be used to map out how the body will
react to chemicals, bacteria, viruses, and physical
trauma; this research could lead to emergency room
diagnosis of injuries without the need for surgery,
and drugs that can be tailored for specific body
chemistry. Experts say that computers are essential to
managing the vast, highly specialized, and widely
dispersed amount of biological data about humans. For
now there is no major funding for the Virtual Human
Project, although the government, academia, and the
private sector have expressed interest. Boston
University has already built a virtual cochlea, and
DeLisi expects progress to be made next year in the
development of a virtual olfactory system, while
virtual vision should emerge within the next decade.
The effort would require a tremendous amount of
programming, as well as software and process
integration in multiple scales.

Fabio Mascarenhas

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