Seeing organ function (SOF)

Anders Ynnerman at the visualization table

Seeing organ function (SOF) is a visionary project with ambitious goals of understanding how human organs behave. The project is important for the development of image-based health care and takes on very important technical challenges. We work interdisciplinary, linking medical research and clinical use with novel techniques. SOF brings together the expertise found at CMIV, ranging from medicine, over medical visualization to image analysis and biomedical engineering. This interdisciplinary project thereby inspire novel work on discovering new findings about the function of human organs.

Focus on the heart and brain

The main cause of death in our part of the world is cardiovascular disease and the fastest growing cause of death is degenerative brain diseases. In this project, we hope to contribute to the health care 

fight against these diseases. The goal is to create image-based patient-specific models that explore organ function through simulation and to use these models in the diagnostic workflow.
The project focuses on the heart and brain, as they are both vital organs that are essentially different from each other. Also, CMIV has substantial knowledge in both fields with proven track record of world-class research.

MRI techniques and simulations

In the diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases anatomical measurement of arterial constriction may be supplemented with patient-specific estimates of the constriction effects on blood pressure and flow. Simulation and MRI Measurements of the three-dimensional blood flow provides a deeper insight into disease mechanisms in e.g. heart failure.

To diagnose degenerative brain diseases the centers that control brain functions and the connections between them needs to be localized. New MRI techniques can provide this information and provide the basis for image-based measurement of disease severity in e.g. Alzheimer's disease.

In both areas different types of functional imaging are growing and complementing the traditional imaging, and there is strong medical motivation for accelerating this progress. The project takes on the urgent task of developing new methods to capture, process and present this rich functional information.

The project takes into account the complex mathematical concepts (vectors and tensors) that constitute the functional data and will specifically study the relation between structure, form and function of the body's organs.

Sub-projects with a common goal

An important problem for the sub-project Data collection and enrichment is to integrate functional and structural information from different scales.

Image based organ simulation will create patient-specific models of macroscopic and microscopic blood flow as well as the electrical activity of the heart and brain cells.

Interactive multi-dimensional organ visualization aims to create new visual representations to increase physicians and medical researchers' understanding of the functional information, for example by fusing data of different types from various image sources.

System Integration, finally, combines the results from the three technical sub-projects into integrated tools for studying cardiac and brain function. This includes image-based models of the function of the individual patient's heart and integration of data about brain activity, relations between the various centers and the concentration of neurotransmitters.

The project finances a number of Postdocs all working on part of the research agenda. CMIV as a center holds together the project parts in the common vision. The results will span from novel technical solutions to fundamental understanding of human organs and development of new clinical tools.

Project leader

Project Members

Key publications

Key Publications

Jonas Lantz, Lilian Henriksson, Anders Persson, Matts Karlsson, Tino Ebbers (2016)

Journal of Biomechanical Engineering Continue to DOI

Karin Lundengård, Gunnar Cedersund, Sebastian Sten, Felix Leong, Alexander Smedberg, Fredrik Elinder, Maria Engström (2016)

PloS Computational Biology Continue to DOI

Daniel Jönsson, Ynnerman Anders (2017)

IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics Continue to DOI