Eric A. Hoffman, professor of radiology in the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, professor of biomedical engineering in the College of Engineering, and director of the Iowa Comprehensive Lung Imaging Center, is a co-investigator on the grant.
The computer system aims to provide traditional high performance computation and storage capabilities while also incorporating a three-dimensional visualization cluster and the ability to process large datasets on a single node, thereby enabling researchers to analyse datasets too large for traditional workstations. The system provides a means of allowing researchers to perform large-scale computation and visualization of pulmonary flow, lung mechanics, image matching and registration, cardiovascular imaging and segmentation, and lung texture analysis.
Ching-Long Lin, who currently is the director of an NIH grant to create a digital human lung, stated that the grant is very welcome. "I'm very happy to have received this and a previous NIH grant. What makes these projects especially attractive to funding agencies is their interdisciplinary nature", he stated.
The earlier funding, received in 2005, was an NIH grant to develop a comprehensive, computational fluid dynamics model for pulmonary gas flow in CT-based subject-specific human lungs. That project brings together expertise in medical imaging, geometric modelling, high-performance computing, and physiology and medicine. The new cluster system will support state-of-the-art parallel computation of gas flow simulation in the entire human airway tree in a multi-scale, breathing-lung setting on hundreds of computer cores. Among other things, the model may one day help physicians to better diagnose patterns related to pathologic changes in airway geometry and predict transport and deposition of particulate air pollution and pharmaceutical drug aerosols in the human lung.
The digital lung project is a collaboration between the College of Engineering and the UI Carver College of Medicine, with Ching-Long Lin's UI colleagues being Eric A. Hoffman, project co-principal investigator, and Geoffrey McLennan, professor of internal medicine, director of Iowa Institute for Biomedical Imaging, and project co-investigator. The project also includes Merryn H. Tawhai, research scientist at the Bioengineering Institute, University of Auckland, New Zealand, as co-investigator.