About Insigneo

The Insigneo Institute for in silico Medicine is Europe’s largest research institute dedicated entirely to the development, validation, and use of in silico medicine technologies.

Our mission in Insigneo is to perform cutting edge research in areas of fundamental and applied biomedical modelling, imaging and informatics, so implementing the scientific ambition behind the Virtual Physiological Human (VPH), and transforming healthcare.

The process to establish Insigneo began in 2011, and by May 2012 the initial charter of the Insigneo Institute for in Silico Medicine had been approved, and we were open for membership. We welcome researchers and medical professionals working in both our parent institutions, the University of Sheffield, and the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. And now, only a few years later, Insigneo is already universally considered a success, and we are proud to report membership of 150 academics and consultants drawn from 28 departments, £54m of research income affiliated to the institute, four physical locations, over 260 affiliated publications with substantial citations, and several healthcare solutions that have attained Technology Readiness Level 7, being tested on at least 100 patients. More information can be found in the section ‘The Insigneo Institute: Mission, Vision, History, Organisation’.

About in silico medicine

In silico medicine, also known as ‘computational medicine’, indicates modelling and simulation technologies that directly contribute to the prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment planning and execution, and management of disease. In silico medicine technologies provide subject-specific predictions of quantities that are difficult or impossible to measure directly, but that are important to support the medical decisions about that patient. It can be subdivided into three areas:

  1. The Digital Patient  The VPH for the doctor; patient-specific modelling to support medical decisions. See the Discipulus roadmap for more details.
  2. In silico clinical trials – The VPH for the biomedical industry; collections of patient-specific models to augment the preclinical and clinical assessment of new biomedical products; in silico technologies for the reduction, refinement, and partial replacement of animal and human experimentation. See the Avicenna roadmap for more details.
  3. Personal health forecasting – The VPH for the patient/citizen; subject-specific simulations, based on patient data – including those collected by wearable and environmental sensors – that provide advice to individuals affected by conditions requiring self-management or to people at risk of developing disease.

We believe in silico medicine represents a paradigm shift in the sense proposed by philosopher Thomas Kuhn, a ‘fundamental change in the basic concepts and experimental practices of a scientific discipline’.

The video below gives a brief insight into the work of the Institute. Listen to (in order of appearance) former Insigneo Executive Director, Professor Marco Viceconti; Sir Andrew Cash, Chief Executive of the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Professor Mike Hounslow, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Faculty of Engineering, University of Sheffield; and Professor Sir Keith Burnett, Vice Chancellor, University of Sheffield; who explain the importance of the research undertaken here in Sheffield.

For more information, please refer to the section on ‘In silico Medicine: Definition, History, Institutions, Main Achievements’.