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The Center for Engineering-based Patient Modeling (CEPM)

RPI's Center for Engineering-Based Patient Modeling (CEPM) brings together engineers, biomedical scientists and clinicians who conceive and carry out synergistic projects that solve important clinical problems using physics-based and design-driven computational and experimental methods.


Engineering practice in the United States has a tradition of being tied directly to basic science and engineering research and product design. The Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations (CCNI) , a $100-million partnership between RPI, IBM and New York State to create the world's most powerful university-based supercomputing center, is the latest example of the kind of collaborations between the academia, industry and government. Through infrastructures like this, RPI has played a critical role in fostering innovations in engineering practice that has become a hallmark on its campus. However, clinical practice has not enjoyed similarly productive collaboration among the practitioners, basic biomedical researchers and medical equipment manufacturers. As a result, a translation of basic biomedical research performed in universities into clinical practice has been relatively slow and the nation¡¯s healthcare system has not maximized the benefit from many of the cutting-edge scientific and engineering research activities at the nation¡¯s top engineering schools funded through National Science Foundation and Department of Energy. This problem contributes to the skyrocketed healthcare cost in the U.S.


To overcome the barriers, we must bring about paradigm change in the way many of the basic biomedical researches are performed in universities. We must emphasize a physics-based approach in understanding the biological systems because most of the clinical interventions rely on a physical interface through which the clinicians interact with the patients. This is true in fields, to mention a few, diagnostic imaging, surgery and radiation treatment of cancer. Physics-based approach in biomedical modeling also allows various basic engineering researches to become clinically relevant. Finally, a design-driven approach will allow the medical researchers to take into accountat early stages of the researchthe practicality, safety and cost of the research outcome. If not carefully considered, any one of these factors would prevent the biomedical research from being accepted into clinical practice. Clearly, the ultimate outcome of any biomedical research is a product that can directly benefit the clinical practice. And a design-driven component, such as those RPI has been successfully implemented in many of the engineering design courses, will likely increase the successful rate of translational biomedical research.


Modeling of patient is a powerful way of addressing various clinical challenges. Although the human body is an integrated multi-scale system, biomedical researchers have yet to take advantage of some of the modern engineering tools in the effort of uncovering hidden cures to a large number threatening diseases. In the area of physics-based biomedical modeling, the research community is fragmented because of lacking common modeling platforms that can be shared among researchers. Furthermore, physical behaviors of the human body are not always examined and interpreted in multiscale levels covering from molecules to organisms.

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