Dr Andrea Tura and Dr Giovanni Pacini from the Institute of Systemistics and Bioengineering, Padova, Italy, visited WIT to present a short course entitled Modelling in Glucose Metabolim. Over a period of three days lectures were presented on the following topics:

  • How to recognize if a metabolic model can be used for the clinic.
  • Non-clinical metabolic models that a clinician should be aware of.
  • Metabolic models for the clinic: which approaches should be used?
  • Exercises: building models on the computer.
  • Modelling insulin sensitivity – approaches.
  • Modelling insulin sensitivity: what is ‘cost effective’?
  • Modelling insulin secretion – approaches:
  • Modelling insulin secretion: is it always useful?
  • Modelling pancreatic B-cell function – approaches.
  • Modelling pancreatic B-cell function: review.
  • Concluding remarks: using the models to their full potential, but wisely!
  • Exercises: compute insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion and B-cell function using computer models.

The course presented several mathematical models in glucose metabolism. First, a distinction was made between models of potential impact in the clinic and those used for different purposes. Some criteria were provided so that the participant was able to distinguish between clinical and non-clinical metabolic models. The course focussed on the first category. Models were presented based on different metabolic tests for the estimation of relevant variables in glucose metabolism such as insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion and B-cell function. Participants learnt to appreciate the potential of these models, how to look at them in a critical way, and become aware of their limitations.

Dr Andrea Tura, from the Institute of Systemistics and Bioengineering, Padova, Italy, received a Degree in Electronic Engineering at the University of Bologna in 1995, and his PhD in Bioengineering in 1999 with a thesis on mathematical modelling and image analysis on cardiovascular fluid dynamics. He joined LADSEB-CNR in 1999 and started working on mathematical modelling applied to glucose metabolism. Currently his research is in the field of tele-home care of patients with chronic diseases through proper telemedicine instruments and platforms. Dr Tura has recently edited a book entitled, 'Vascular Grafts: Experiment and Modelling', published by WIT Press in 2003, which is part of the Advances in Fluid Mechanics series.

Dr Giovanni Pacini after graduating in Electronic Engineering at the University of Florence, Italy, was CNR fellow at LADSEB from 1976 to 1979, where he began his American experience at the Department of Physiology and Biophysics within the School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. In 1985 he returned to Italy where he joined the Bioengineering Research Group at the Institute of Systems Science and Biomedical Engineering at the National Research Council in Padova. Currently he is in charge of the Bioengineering Group at the Padova Branch of the National Institute of Biomedical Engineering (ISIB) and Head of the Metabolic Unit. He is author or co-author of over 100 papers in peer reviewed medical journals and about 30 chapters in books/proceedings of international conferences. He has delivered more than 200 presentations at international meetings and conferences.