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Computational Modeling Approaches to Vascular Biology

Executive Summary

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute convened a Working Group of investigators on May 20, 2005, in Bethesda, Maryland, to to assess the feasibility of developing a multi-scale computational framework for understanding vascular biology and to identify opportunities for, and barriers to, achieving this goal.


The working group considered the current state of computational research in vascular biology, physiology, and pathology and made the following observations:

  1. The vast knowledge base in vascular biology/pathophysiology is both limited in quantitative content and lacks standardization for the acquisition of data.
  2. Successful computational expertise in vascular biology has been developed principally in relation to (i) blood flow dynamics, biomechanics, and transport approaches, (ii) imaging sciences, and (iii) the biophysics of circulating cell interactions (with each other and with the surfaces they contact).
  3. In general, there is a "disconnect" between mathematical/computational modelers and investigators who perform experimental studies. However, there are notable successful exceptions that can be built upon.
  4. Vascular biology knowledge is not integrated in scale (molecular - cellular - tissue - vascular bed - organ) and the tools to do so are limited.


  • Encourage computational modeling of multi-scale vascular structure and dynamics.
  • Foster collaboration between computational and experimental scientists.
  • Promote computational frameworks within defined boundaries of investigation to focus on the most pressing issues.
  • Encourage development of standards, ontologies, and mark-up languages that will allow use of databases of experimental measurements and mathematical models.
  • Encourage software development and maintenance specifically for multi-scaling in the mesoscale domain
  • Emphasize the use of in vivo data to develop parameters and to validate computational models of vascular biology
  • Initiate a clinical treatment trial of ACE inhibitors in Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients asymptomatic for cardiac dysfunction.
  • Stimulate research on enzyme replacement therapy in metabolic diseases affecting the heart.

Publication Plans:

The Working Group is planning to publish a report, that will be posted on the NHLBI public web site with a link to the journal or journals where the report is published.

NHLBI Contact:

Pothur Srinivas, Ph.D., NHLBI, NIH

Last updated: July 20, 2005

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