The Biomechanics Research Unit (BioMech) was founded in 2009 when Liesbet Geris was appointed as assistant professor at the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering of the University of Liège (ULg). The work of our team focuses on the modelling of the biological processes in the context of bone tissue engineering. One of the major challenges in tissue engineering and an essential step towards successful clinical applications is the translation of biological knowledge on complex cell and tissue behaviour into a predictive and robust engineering process. Computational modelling can contribute to this, among others because it allows to study the biological complexity in a more quantitative way. Computational tools can help in quantifying and optimizing micro-environmental signals to which cells and tissues are exposed and in understanding and predicting the biological response under different conditions.
We have implemented a suite of model systems ranging from mechanistic models (hypothesis-based) over network models to empirical models (data-driven), targeting processes at the intracellular over the cellular up to the tissue level.
Each model system has its own benefits and limitations which delineate the context in which it can be used. Whereas mechanistic models are used as in silico tools to design new therapeutic strategies and experiments, empirical models are used to identify, in large data sets, those in vitro parameters (biological, biomaterial, environmental) that are critical for the in vivo outcome.