A virtual dose

Rensselaer Polytechnic researchers are to develop 3D virtual patient models that may eventually help radiologists to use safer doses of radiation when treating patients.


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

is leading a team of researchers awarded a three-year, $2.1 million grant from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop 3D virtual patient models that may eventually help radiologists to use safer doses of radiation when treating patients. 

In 2000, X. George Xu, associate professor of nuclear and biomedical engineering at Rensselaer and his students created Visible Photographic Man (VIP-Man), an advanced computer model that simulates in 3D how radiation affects the organs and tissues in the human body.

The project combined precise organ and tissue anatomy with Monte Carlo computer codes to simulate the interactions of various radiation types, such as photons, electrons, neutrons, and protons, within the body. The VIP-Man contained three billion voxels of medical image data in a computer code that formulates a virtual patient.

Xu now plans to expand on VIP-Man in the new project by creating a library of additional 3D models that represent virtual female and male patients of various ages and body sizes.

The researchers will also develop advanced 4D patient models that simulate organ motions.