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WestGrid Used To Advance Osteoarthritis Research

Spotlight On:

Yaghoub Dabiri
University of Calgary
Mechanical Engineering

Yaghoub Dabiri, a Mechanical Engineering PhD student, has been working closely with Dr. LePing Li at the University of Calgary to investigate the mechanics of articular cartilage, the soft tissue that provides gliding surfaces in our bodies' joints, in hopes of finding new solutions to dealing with, or possibly even preventing, the onset of arthritis.

As part of this research, Dabiri has developed complex patient-specific computational models of human knee joints. The models are used to determine the fluid pressure and flow in articular cartilages and menisci of healthy and injured knees. Earlier this year, his work was published in “Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine”.

WestGrid plays in important role in Dabiri's research because he needs powerful computing resources to simultaneously run multiple codes that require long times to complete. These computational simulations were impractical using personal computers due to power interruptions, hardware, and office space limitations.

One typical run on a personal computer requires one month to complete and demands huge computational space to run and to save the results, which is impossible when running multiple codes at the same time. Dabiri would have needed several powerful desktops and additional lab space to run the programs, which would have required a substantially higher budget if he did not use WestGrid.

“WestGrid is important to my research because it allows me to significantly decrease the time and hardware resources needed to perform my simulations, and therefore, increases the productivity of my research,” said Dabiri.

The results of Dabiri's research have the potential to advance osteoarthritis research, improve current methods of joint reconstruction, and contribute to the development of new orthopaedic materials that effectively reproduce the complex material properties of articular cartilage.