Pioneering Teaching Labs Combine Computer Simulations with Virtual Reality

“Our two new virtual laboratories will position us at the forefront of teaching, combining computer simulations with a virtual reality environment. These labs are very important, as they will train the engineers of tomorrow on how to integrate models within routine workflows in a clinical environment. We wish to thank La Fondation Dassault Systèmes* for their support in establishing these laboratories.”

The Insigneo Institute for in silico Medicine is developing two new virtual reality (VR) laboratories at the University of Sheffield. Professor Damien Lacroix, Dr Alberto Marzo, and Dr Andrew Narracott have recruited Dr Andrii Grytsan and Mr Kyle Murdock to oversee the development of the laboratories, which are possible thanks to funding obtained from non-profit organisation La Fondation Dassault Systèmes*. The purpose of these laboratories is to combine VR visualisation and personalised medical physics-based simulations into an innovative teaching tool. The virtual laboratories are part of the new MSc in Computational Medicine that will start in September 2017.

The laboratories will focus on simulating the pre-operative planning of two diseases:

  1. A musculoskeletal virtual laboratory will be used to simulate surgical treatment of lower back pain via placement of a fusion fixation device.
  2. A cardiovascular virtual laboratory will be used to simulate endovascular treatment of a cerebral aneurysm via deployment of a flow diverting stent.

Students will gain skills to handle complex patient-specific engineering simulations, to interpret the results, and to convey their findings to broad audiences. Visualisation in a VR environment will enhance appreciation of the complex 3D nature of such patient-specific analyses, and will make communication between engineers and medical doctors significantly more effective.

Professor Damien Lacroix

Director of Research
Insigneo Institute for in silico Medicine


*About La Fondation Dassault Systèmes

La Fondation Dassault Systèmes actively contributes to transforming the learning and discovering experience by supporting European schools, universities, research centres, museums and associations in their quest for knowledge by placing 3D virtual technology at the heart of the learning process. It encourages society’s progress by planting the seeds for creative thinking that will lead to greater harmony between products, nature and life. For more information: