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Two New Faculty Appointed to The Institute for Computational Medicine

Date: January 10, 2013

The Institute for Computational Medicine is pleased to announce the recent appointments of both William S. Anderson and Joshua M. Epstein as the latest additions to core faculty. Both Drs. Anderson and Epstein are scientists of international renown. Their research expertise very nicely complements those of the current ICM Core Faculty, and will enhance the Institute's mission of developing and applying individualized computational models of disease that enable physicians to deliver improved patient care.

William S. Anderson, MD, PhD is a functional neurosurgeon at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, performing procedures to treat epilepsy and movement disorders. Dr. Anderson holds a PhD in Physics from Princeton University, and an MD from Johns Hopkins. After finishing residency in Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, he was an attending neurosurgeon at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. The Anderson laboratory focuses on the computational modeling of epilepsy as a method to understand the time and spatial evolutionary properties of seizures. Modeling methods include large array single compartment models and multicompartment simulations for the extraction of local field potentials. The laboratory also explores the effects on memory encoding of theta phase specific stimulation during working memory tasks. Recordings derived from deep brain stimulation procedures are also used to learn more about motor imagery and motor planning. Click Here to view view Dr. Anderson's Profile

Joshua M. Epstein, Ph.D., is Professor of Emergency Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, with Joint Appointments in the Departments of Economics, Biostatistics, and Environmental Health Sciences. He is Director of the JHU Center for Advanced Modeling in the Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences. He is an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute, a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, and was recently appointed to the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Identifying and Prioritizing New Preventive Vaccines. Earlier, Epstein was Senior Fellow in Economic Studies and Director of the Center on Social and Economic Dynamics at the Brookings Institution. He is a pioneer in agent-based computational modeling of biomedical and social dynamics. He has authored or co-authored several books including Growing Artificial Societies: Social Science from the Bottom Up, with Robert Axtell (MIT Press/Brookings Institution); Nonlinear Dynamics, Mathematical Biology, and Social Science (Addison-Wesley), and Generative Social Science: Studies in Agent-Based Computational Modeling (Princeton University Press). Epstein holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Amherst, a Ph.D. from MIT, has taught at Princeton, and lectured worldwide. In 2008, he received an NIH Director's Pioneer Award, and in 2010 an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Amherst College. Click Here to view view Dr. Epstein's Profile

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Computational medicine: translating models to clinical care F1000 prime recommended

Date: January 4, 2013

The recent Journal Review article, "Computational medicine: translating models to clinical care", published in the October 31 issue of Science Translational Medicine, has been recommended as being of special significance in its field by John Jeremy Rice and Raquel Norel from the F1000 Faculty. From F1000: "The review covers a large range of computational approaches, from gene networks to whole organ models, with a focus on the challenges for providing quantitative tools to diagnose and treat diseases to advance medicine". To see the full written recommendation, visit the F1000 Prime website.

The paper has also recently been featured in several news channels. In the IT Healthcare News article "Man meets machine at Johns Hopkins" published on December 31, Dr. Raimond Winslow of the Institute for Computational Medicine states "Computational medicine is a discipline where we try to develop experimentally based computer models of disease, so we can very quantitatively understand what disease is, what affects disease, and then try to model therapeutic interventions."

See the links below for more coverage:

Dr. Fijoy Vadakkumpadan awarded AHA National Scientist Development Grant

Date: December 3, 2012

Dr. Fijoy Vadakkumpadan, Assistant Research Professor of the Institute for Computational Medicine and Department of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, has been awarded the American Heart Association National Scientist Development Grant. This grant supports highly promising beginning scientists in their progress toward independence by encouraging and adequately funding research projects that can bridge the gap between completion of research training and readiness for successful competition as an independent investigator. The award provides $77,000 per year for four years.

The goal of Dr. Vadakkumpadan’s project is to uncover novel predictors of sudden cardiac death risk, by means of computational simulations of cardiac electrophysiology and statistical analysis of the heart shape. This project seeks to develop better alternatives to left-ventricular ejection fraction, the metric currently used in the clinic to predict sudden cardiac death risk, because this metric has low specificity and leads to implantations of cardioverter defibrillator devices in patients who do not benefit from these devices. Dr. Vadakkumpadan receives support from Dr. Natalia Trayanova’s research team on the computational cardiac electrophysiology aspects of this research. He also collaborates with clinical cardiologist Dr. Katherine Wu and statistical shape analysis expert Dr. Laurent Younes on this project.

Congratulations Fijoy!

More information: AHA Scientist Development Grant Website.

Computational Simulation of Beating Human Heart Run on Sequoia Supercomputer

Date: November 16, 2012

The Cardioid code divides the heart into a large number of manageable pieces, or subdomains. The development team used two approaches, called Voronoi (left) and grid (right), to break the enormous computing challenge into much smaller individual tasks.

A November 14 article in ISGTW (The International Science Grid this Week) highlighted recent work carried out on the Sequoia Supercomputer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), California. As of November 2012, Sequoia is the second most powerful supercomputer on Earth, with a peak theoretical throughput of 16.32 petaflops (quadrillions of floating operating points) per second.

The simulation was the fastest and most detailed model of a beating human heart yet - representing the electrophysiological activity within and among a total of 370 million cells. The story elaborates that "Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the IBM Research, US, used a software code called Cardioid to simulate electrophysiological activity – or electrical connections -- within and among cells in a human heart at a resolution of an unprecedented scale - a spatial resolution of a heart cell, which is about 0.1 millimeters long."

Dr. Raimond Winslow, director of the Institute for Computational Medicine was quoted saying “The implementation of the heart model on Sequoia is a major breakthrough in all the application areas of computational medicine, and has implications for all model-based methods for personalized care at the point of treatment,”. John Jeremy Rice, Ph.D., who was an author on the SC12 Presentation, "Toward Real-Time Modeling of Human Heart Ventricles at Cellular Resolution: Simulation of Drug-Induced Arrhythmias" completed his PhD research in Dr. Winslow's laboratory.

Related Links:

ICM faculty author new publication on the promise of computational medicine

Date: November 5, 2012

This video (click image to view) shows a heart (at left) with a bundle branch block, an abnormality of the way in which the left ventricle of the heart is electrically activated. On the right, cardiac resynchronization therapy uses a pacemaker to stimulate both the right and left ventricles so contractions are closer to normal.

Computational medicine, a fast-growing method of using sophisticated computer models to figure out how disease develops, promises a new era of personalized medicine.

“We are poised at an exciting time in medicine,” writes Raimond L. Winslow, director of the Johns Hopkins Institute of Computational Medicine and lead author on the Science Translational Medicine article “Computational Medicine: Translating Models to Clinical Care,” published in the Oct. 31 issue, with three other Johns Hopkins professors affiliated with the institute.

“The field of computational medicine has exploded,” he says.

Launched in 2005 as a collaborative effort between the Whiting School of Engineering and School of Medicine, the institute uses powerful computers to analyze and mathematically model disease mechanisms. The results are used to help predict who is at risk of developing a disease and how to treat it more effectively.

From the review article, here are examples of how computational medicine is changing the detection and treatment of disease:

This story has also been featured in: Scientific American | | NewsTrack India | | (South Africa) | Science Daily | (India) | Yahoo! News

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ICM & ICTR successfully conclude first Symposium on Computational Medicine

Date: September 28, 2012

Dr. Robert Siliciano
Dr. Robert Siliciano of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine speaks at the first ICM-ICTR Symposium.
On Monday, September 24, over 50 members of the Hopkins research community met in the Chevy Chase Conference Center at the newly constructed Zayed Tower, Johns Hopkins Hospital to hold the first Symposium on Computational Medicine. The goal of the symposium, and future events, is to inform faculty across the University of the intellectual expertise and technical resources available at Hopkins to tackle data intensive clinical problems in hopes of increasing interdivisional collaborations and working towards joint discoveries.

Drs. Raimond Winslow of the Institute for Computational Medicine and Daniel Ford of the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research hosted 10 highly successful and innovative investigators who represent a broad range of disciplines from both the Whiting School of Engineering and the School of Medicine. The presentations were grouped into three sessions on the following topics:

Dr. Ford said in his closing remarks, "This has been a very important day. We would look to all of you who spent the day here with us to [ask] how can we advance this at Hopkins—how can we make the people who aren't using models learn more about them and for those [who] are modeling data to be able to find the collaborators so that they get more out of the work that they have done."

Video and slides for the entire symposium are now available online. Click here to view.

A full listing of sessions and speakers is available in the symposium brochure pdf here.

Dr. René Vidal receives IAPR J.K. Aggarwal Prize

Date: September 26, 2012

Dr. René Vidal
Dr. René Vidal
Prof. René Vidal has been awarded the 2012 J.K. Aggarwal Prize. This prize is awarded every two years in recognition of a technical contribution of far-reaching significance and impact on the field of pattern recognition or its closely allied fields by a young investigator under 40 years of age. Prof. Vidal has been awarded this prize "for outstanding contributions to generalized principal component analysis (GPCA) and subspace clustering in computer vision and pattern recognition." He will receive the award during the International Conference on Pattern Recognition (ICPR) in Tsukuba, Japan, November 11-15, 2012. For more information, please see:

Dr. Vidal is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering of Johns Hopkins University, with joint appointments in Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. He is the director of the Vision Dynamics and Learning Lab, and a faculty member in the Center for Imaging Science (CIS), the Institute for Computational Medicine (ICM), and the Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics (LCSR). For more information on his research, please see


Jason Constantino receives a 2013 Siebel Scholarship

Date: September 12, 2012

Jason Constantino, a Graduate Student in the lab of Dr. Natalia Trayanova, has been awarded a 2013 Siebel Scholarship. Students are nominated for the Siebel Scholarship on the basis of academic and research excellence and leadership activity during their graduate school career. The scholarship itself is $35,000 to supplement the student's stipend in their final year of graduate school, and scholars become part of the Siebel Scholars community, which involves attending annual conferences and events.

"The Siebel Scholars community consists of nearly 800 of the world's brightest minds in business, computer science, and bioengineering. The Siebel Scholars community actively fosters leadership, collaboration, and increased potential for Siebel Scholars to achieve even more through their work with an incomparable group of equally talented peers." Click here to read more about the Siebel Foundation.

Congratulations Jason on your award!

ICM to host Symposium on Computational Medicine

Date: August 27, 2012

The Institute for Computational Medicine and Institute for Clinical and Translational Research will be hosting a Symposium on September 24, 2012 to showcase the latest research in the field of Computational Medicine. Discussions will include the development of experimentally-based computer models that describe perturbed molecular networks, physiology and anatomy in disease, uses for these models to improve personalized therapies, and the forecasting of disease transmission. See below for time, location, and a full listing of speakers.

Date: September 24, 2012
Time: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Location: Chevy Chase Conference Center; Zayed Tower, Johns Hopkins Hospital

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9:30a.m. - Session 1: Modeling Networks: Learning Molecular Signatures of Cancer

Session 2: Modeling Physiology: Perturbed Functions in Disease
11:15a.m. - Session 2A: Models of HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment

2:00p.m. - Session 2B: Models of Neurological Disorders and Deep Brain Stimulation Treatment

3:45p.m. - Special Session 3: Modeling Populations: Spread of Disease

Light refreshments will be served.

To view a pdf brochure of the Symposium, Click here.

Dr. Michael Miller featured in WSE News for research in field of Computational Anatomy

Date: August 23, 2012

Dr. Michael Miller of the Institute for Computational Medicine was recently highlighted in the summer issue of the Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering's magazine. The article by David Glenn showcases Dr. Miller for his research in the new field of computational anatomy.

"For the last two decades, the problem that has obsessed Miller is how to mathematically analyze the three-dimensional space of human anatomy. Much as Noam Chomsky and his colleagues at MIT sketched a universal framework for human grammar, Miller would like to create the simplest possible equations and statistical models that can describe human anatomy in all its variety and multitude. That quest has led him into collaborations with a huge range of scholars, including theoretical mathematicians, imaging engineers, radiologists, cardiologists, and neuroscientists.

At this early stage of his center's development, Miller's computers generally can't tell doctors anything that they don't already know. Enlargement of the left ventricle is associated with heart failure? Old news. A thinning of the brain's white-matter tracts is a sign of dementia? Been there, done that. But after his team has digested many thousands of images, Miller hopes that the computers will begin to discover subtle anatomical markers and patterns that had previously gone unnoticed by scientists. And that, in turn, could lead to much earlier diagnostic tests for certain diseases-and even point the way toward new treatments."

To read the full story and watch a video of Dr. Miller discussing his research, see the WSE Summer Magazine story.

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