June 09th, 2021
Biomechanist Gerhard Holzapfel can be pleased about two new science awards. His computer simulations are intended to facilitate medical prognoses.
Holzapfel can be pleased about another award. After the William Prager Medal (we reported in January), he received the next international medal: the Koiter Medal, awarded for special achievements in research and science. In addition to American scientists from renowned U.S. universities, Holzapfel is an Austrian among the list of award winners. "This is already a great honor," says the 60-year-old professor, who was already awarded the Erwin Schrödinger Prize ten years ago for his life's work.
Holzapfel's focus: the calculation of mechanical properties for vessel walls, such as an aorta or artery. He has developed his own model for this purpose. "You can map mechanical processes that happen in our body on the computer. The finer the model, the more accurate the prediction. On the virtual patient, you can thus predict what a medical intervention will be like," he explained to Kleine Zeitung. "We can make simulations that are very close to reality. That's where technology has advanced insanely."
Holzapfel began his career as a young postdoc at Stanford. "In America, there was already a lot of research going on in the field in the early 1990s, so I was there at the right time." In the meantime, he himself is the contact person for 200 students and drives countless projects forward. The TU Graz lead project "Aortic Dissection" has just been extended. This involves working on computer simulations of aortic dissections. An aortic dissection is a splitting of the wall layers of the aorta. This condition can be life-threatening. The aim of the TU project is to use algorithms and models to support diagnosis and treatment at an early stage.