Henrik Nicolay Finsberg successfully defended his PhD

On Wednesday January 17th, Henrik Nicolay Finsberg defended his PhD thesis "Patient-Specific Computational Modeling of Cardiac Mechanics". The defense took place at 13:15 at Storstua, Simula.

Computational models are an absolutely necessary tool in many engineering disciplines. For example, computational models are used to predict tomorrow’s weather, to optimize the aerodynamics of new aircraft, and to ensure buildings and bridges are safe.

The use of computational models in field of biomedical engineering is emerging, but is still limited to the research level. This limitation is mainly due to the complexity and multi-scale nature of the underlying physiological processes inside the human body. Nevertheless, advances in medical imaging techniques now provide a wealth of information about structure and kinematic, that could potentially be used to parameterize these mathematical models in such a way that it is possible to create a virtual representation of an organ of the individual. With such a calibrated model at hand, we can estimate features that are impossible to measure with medical imaging, and such a model would therefore be useful for diagnostic purposes. Furthermore, we could potentially use this model predict the outcome of different treatment strategies and use it to design and optimize treatment.

However, some on the challenges in the creation of such models lies in the lack of methods to accurately and efficiently estimating model parameters that best describes the measured observations.

In this thesis we have developed a framework to effectively build a virtual heart of the individual patient, so that measurements made in the clinic can be incorporated into the underlying mathematical model. Such virtual hearts have been used to study the mechanics of the heart in different patient groups. Furthermore, we evaluated different biomarkers that may have potential clinical value, and evaluated the performance of the method. These simulations can be performed on a regular laptop in just a few hours, which means that this framework can potentially be included as a diagnostic toolbox in the clinic. 

The thesis is written within the field of Scientific Computing. The work has been conducted at Simula Research Laboratory.

Prior to the defense, at 10:15, Henrik Nicolay Finsberg presented his trial lecture "How do the mechanics and structure of the heart matter in regard to patient-specific cardiac modeling?".

The adjudication committee

  • Professor Gerhard A. Holzapfel, Institute of Biomechanics, Graz University of Technology, Austria
  • Senior lecturer David Nordsletten, Biomedical Engineering Department, King’s College London, England
  • Professor Are Magnus Bruaset, Simula/ Department of Informatics, University of Oslo

Chair of the disputation

  • Head of Department Ellen Munthe-Kaas, Department of Informatics, University of Oslo


  • Associate Professor Joakim Sundnes, University of Oslo
  • Chief Research Scientist Samuel Wall, Simula Research Laboratory
  • MD PhD Hans Henrik Odland, Center for Cardiological Innovation

Read more

Announcement of the PhD defense at the University of Oslo's web pages.

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