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VISE Spring Seminar with Rachel Clipp, PhD 3.7.24

Posted by on Wednesday, February 14, 2024 in News.

VISE Spring Seminar to be led by:

Rachel Clipp, PhD,
Assistant Director of Medical Computing

Date: Thursday, March 7, 2024
Time: 11:45 a.m. Lunch, 12:00 p.m. start
Location: Stevenson 5326

Towards a Human Physiological Digital Twin with the Pulse Physiology Engine


The Pulse Physiology Engine is an open source computational physiology engine. It was originally developed to provide accurate and consistent patient physiological data to medical simulation and training products. This provided the opportunity to increase realism and improve consistency across instructors and institutions. Pulse has been further developed to implement and integrate multiscale models for an individualized whole-body predictive patient physiology model. The engine originally incorporated existing and novel models of organs and physiological systems into a whole-body model of a single generic individual within a reference population.We have recently improved patient-specificity by incorporating patient-specific parameters needed to create a digital twin. These parameters are used to modify baseline model parameters to achieve the physiological responses and homeostatic state for the specified patient. Previously, a “standard” male and a “standard” female patient have been validated at both an organ level (flow, pressures, volumes, and substance values) and a system level (heart rate, respiration rate, tidal volume, mean arterial pressure). However, to accurately represent a digital twin, demonstrated validation for a range of patients is required. Recent experiments have demonstrated success in this area. The goal of this presentation is to share the core modeling mechanisms in the Pulse Physiology Engine ( and the progress towards a human physiological digital twin.


Rachel Clipp, Ph.D., is a technical leader on Kitware’s Medical Computing Team located in Carrboro, North Carolina. She conducts research in computational modeling and applies these solutions to biomedical problems. Rachel leads medical modeling and simulation projects at Kitware, including those that involve the open source Pulse Physiology Engine. She also leads computational modeling projects using Lattice Boltzmann Methods and artificial intelligence models that represent outcomes from high-fidelity physics-based models and to predict life-saving interventions. She is funded by projects from the NIH, DARPA, DoD, and industry partners.

Under Rachel’s guidance, Pulse has been successfully incorporated in commercial and government-funded products and programs. The Pulse team has addressed the needs of the military for virtual medical simulation through collaborations with Exonicus to develop the Trauma Simulator and SimQuest and BioMojo to contribute to the Modeling and Simulation Training Architecture. They have also collaborated with academic and clinical institutions to test medical device algorithms with a closed-loop physiology management system. Recently, Kitware funded a project using Pulse to study the use of ventilators for multi-patient treatment in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rachel’s graduate work focused on the development of dynamic boundary conditions for use in finite element analysis and computational fluid dynamics. The boundary conditions developed were used to predict the effects of respiration on the pulmonary vasculature. She also developed a benchtop apparatus to perfuse and ventilate excised lamb lungs to collect hemodynamic and respiratory data for validation of the dynamic boundary conditions.

Rachel received her Ph.D. and master’s degree in biomedical engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. She received her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Clemson University.

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