Professor Oliver Röhrle lecture on ‘Modelling the Musculoskeletal System’

On Thursday, 31st January, Oliver Röhrle, braved snow-locked airports to deliver a lecture on Modelling the Musculoskeletal System to Insigneo researchers at the University of Sheffield. A review of his group’s recent and current research. Oliver is a Professor of Continuum Biomechanics and Mechanobiology at the University of Stuttgart, Germany.

Oliver opened by describing his motivation for modelling the musculoskeletal system: it is a single system that has many tasks, including endurance, fine control and strength. He then outlined the current needs in musculoskeletal system modelling and linked in his current research projects, specifically:

  • System models: the development of a three-dimensional, upper arm, musculoskeletal model, with two and then five solid muscles driving a one degree of freedom elbow joint, using reduced order modelling to produce efficient models.
  • Robust multiscale single organ models: looking at the anatomy of a muscle from a cellular level, through the electrophysiological behaviour of fibres, to forces generated by the entire muscle, a chemo-electromechanical model of muscle activation was described.
  • Individualisation: Making subject-specific models by linking microscopic material properties to macroscopic behaviour.
  • Data and model standards: the ability to find and share existing models.
  • Resource-limited simulation: the use of machine learning and reduced order modelling to reduce the computational demands of the models and the use of forward kinematic, as opposed to reverse kinematic multibody models.
  • Translation: Modelling the pressures caused by a prosthesis on an above the knee amputee and establishing the biting force by computing the contact forces acting on a rubber block in dental applications.

Oliver provided a wide-ranging talk, covering details across several projects. Some questions focused on his use of reduced order modelling and the problems of higher dimensionality.