Computer Models of Physiological Processes

Academic year
Subject Area
Biomedical Engineering
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
1st Cycle Studies

Recommended Prerequisites


Teaching Methods

The course syllabus is taught in 25h of theoretical, 40h of laboratory practice and 10h of seminars. At lectures the matters are taught of expository manner and in laboratory classes students perform computer simulations of lectures theme. At seminars work done by each student on a physiological process is presented and discussed. Every student must arrive to the equations that made the computational simulation.
The teaching team is always available to answer questions.

Learning Outcomes

The Biomedical Sciences are increasingly using mathematical models able to assist the interpretation of physiological data.
The Biomedical Engineer of the future must understand a biological function from the point of view of engineering and interprets it in physiological terms. Along the learning process, each student will acquire knowledge and use appropriate tools for each of the proposed tasks.
The objectives of this course in terms of attitudes, abilities and skills are developing the attitude of methodical research, analysis and synthesis, acquire computer skills, manage information and solve problems, acquire the ability to work in an interdisciplinary team, communicate and apply knowledge to the profession.
As objectives of knowledge: know and manipulate computer programs, know the mathematical concepts relating to systems theory as well as to know the physiological processes that underlie the function under study.

Work Placement(s)



1. Systems and physiological models
Organs, functions and other components of living organisms as systems and simulations used for their study. The interest of the models in the study of flows of matter, energy and information in biological systems.

2. Mass transport across membranes
Functional models of membrane. The diffusion of solutes and water transport. Nernst-Plank and Goldman equations. Donnan membrane.

3. Electric potential to the surface
Electric dipoles. Potential created by an electric dipole at an outside point. Electrically charged membranes. Double electric layer and potential created at an outside point P. Potential created by fibers during the depolarization. Fictitious dipole. Surface potentials. Electrocardiogram.

4. Compartmental analysis
Deterministic models of one and two compartments. Stochastic systems. Tracers, volume and flow in distribution systems. Frequency function of transit times.

Assessment Methods

Continuous evaluation
Continuous evaluation: 100.0%


1. Modeling and Simulation in Medicine and the Life Sciences, Frank C. Hoppensteadt, Charles S. Peskin, Springer, 2000.
2. Biofísica Médica. JJ Pedroso de Lima. Universidade de Coimbra, 2003.
3. Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology (Biological and Medical Physics, Biomedical Engineering). Russell K. Hobbie, Brad Roth. Springer, 2007.