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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S030875/1
Title: SofTMech with MIT and POLIMI (SofTMechMP)
Principal Investigator: Luo, Professor X
Other Investigators:
Husmeier, Professor D Penta, Dr R Gao, Dr H
Yin, Professor H Stewart, Professor PS Insall, Professor R
Chaplain, Professor MAJ McDougall, Professor S Dalby, Professor MJ
McGinty, Dr S Berry, Professor C Simitev, Professor RD
Roper, Dr SM Ogden, Professor RW Hill, Professor NA
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Biomer Technology Ltd Boston Scientific Dassault Systemes
GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) Humanitas University InnoScot Health
InSilicoTrials Technologies Kirkstall Ltd Massachusetts Institute of Technology
NHS Polytechnic University of Milan Siemens
Terumo Vascutek Translumina GmbH Vascular Flow Technologies
Department: School of Mathematics & Statistics
Organisation: University of Glasgow
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 January 2020 Ends: 31 December 2025 Value (£): 1,599,530
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Continuum Mechanics Numerical Analysis
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Mar 2019 Intl Centre to Centre Fulls Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Soft tissue related diseases (heart, cancer, eyes) are among the leading causes of death worldwide. Despite extensive

biomedical research, a major challenge is a lack of mathematical models that predict soft tissue mechanics across

subcellular to whole organ scales during disease progression. Given the tremendous scope, the unmet clinical needs, our

limited manpower, and the existence of complementary expertise, we seek to forge NEW collaborations with two world-leading

research centres: MIT and POLIMI, to embark on two challenging themes that will significantly stretch the initial

SofTMech remit: A) Test-based microscale modelling and upscaling, and B) Beyond static hyperelastic material to include

viscoelasticity, nonlinear poroelasticity, tissue damage and healing. Our research will lead to a better understanding of how

our bodies work, and this knowledge will be applied to help medical researchers and clinicians in developing new therapies

to minimise the damage caused by disease progression and implants, and to develop more effective treatments.

The added value will be a major leap forward in the UK research. It will enable us to model soft tissue damage and healing

in many clinical applications, to study the interaction between tissue and implants, and to ensure model reproducibility

through in vitro validations. The two underlying themes will provide the key feedback between tissue and cells and the

response of cells to dynamic local environments. For example, advanced continuum mechanics approaches will shed new

light on the influence of cell adhesion, angiogenesis and stromal cell-tumour interactions in cancer growth and spread, and

on wound healing implant insertion that can be tested with in vitro and in vivo systems. Our theoretical framework will

provide insight for the design of new experiments.

Our proposal is unique, timely and cost-effectively because advances in micro- and nanotechnology from MIT and POLIMI

now enable measurements of sub-cellular, single cell, and cell-ECM dynamics, so that new theories of soft tissue

mechanics at the nano- and micro-scales can be tested using in vitro prototypes purposely built for SofTMech. Bridging

the gaps between models at different scales is beyond the ability of any single centre. SofTMech-MP will cluster the critical

mass to develop novel multiscale models that can be experimentally tested by biological experts within the three world-leading

Centres. SofTMech-MP will endeavour to unlock the chain of events leading from mechanical factors at subcellular

nanoscales to cell and tissue level biological responses in healthy and pathological states by building a new mathematics


Our novel multiscale modelling will lead to new mathematics including new numerical methods, that will be informed

and validated by the design and implementation of experiments at the MIT and POLIMI centres. This will be of enormous

benefit in attacking problems involving large deformation poroelasticity, nonlinear viscoelasticity, tissue dissection, stent-related

tissue damage, and wound healing development. We will construct and analyse data-based models of cellular and

sub-cellular mechanics and other responses to dynamic local anisotropic environments, test hypotheses in mechanistic

models, and scale these up to tissue-level models (evolutionary equations) for growth and remodelling that will take into

account the dynamic, inhomogeneous, and anisotropic movement of the tissue. Our models will be simulated in the

various projects by making use of the scientific computing methodologies, including the new computer-intensive methods

for learning the parameters of the differential equations directly from noisy measurements of the system, and new methods

for assessing alternative structures of the differential equations, corresponding to alternative hypotheses about the

underlying biological mechanisms.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.gla.ac.uk