Prof. Alberto Paoluzzi,

Prof. Mauro Ceccanti, Ing. Enrico Marino, Ing. Federico Spini


This course aims to introduce the students, graduated in Computer Engineering, to the medical and biological applications of informatics and computational science. Since our engineering students are not usually exposed to biomedical notions, the course deals with basic concepts about life, DNA and the Genetic Code, proteins and other kinds of biomolecules, and also introduces the fundamental types of biomedical data and their organization into complex data structures. Some recent advances about anatomic modeling and physiologic simulation, that make use of sophisticated geometric and mathematical techniques, are also exposed. In this field computational structures of great complexity are used, that demand computer engineers and scientists for some multidisciplinary education and training. The students must therefore design and develop learning projects providing interactive tools for biomedical infographics on the web, using a cutting edge graphics environment based on Javascript and webGL.


Course program

Introduction to web programming with Javascript

Why JavaScript? Environment setup: Chrome, Git, GitHub. Control flow, functions, closures; objects, built-in objects; prototype, inheritance; coding style guide, the Javascript ecosystem, Coffeescript.

Biomolecules and life

Outline of genomics: DNA and genetic code, RNA, mapping of genes and proteins. Outline of proteomics: primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structures. Biochemical pathways. Nervous system, neurons, neuro-muscular interface.

Biomedical records, data and images

Electronic Medical Record (EMR) environments. Laboratory data, anatomic data, biomedical imaging, PACS systems, DICOM images. PDB (Protein Data Bank), European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) services.

Symbolic biomedical knowledge

Web 3.0. Ontologies as formal and explicit specification of objects, properties and relations in organizing biomedical data. The University of Washington FMA anatomic model (Digital Anatomist-Foundational Model of Anatomy);

Biomedical modeling and simulation

Physiological models. Virtual Physiological Human; geometric models of proteins, cells, tissues and systems. Geometric models of neurons, axons and dendrites. Models of the neuro-muscular interface.

Student projects

Student are required to collaborate to the design and implementation of interactive web tools for biomedical infographics.

Teaching materials

  1. Lecture notes, examples, and exercises.
  2. I.J. Kalet, Principles of Biomedical Informatics, Elsevier, 2009.
  3. https://github.com/cvdlab-bio
  4. http://www.plasm.net
  5. http://biomedical.materialise.com/