"The future of medicine is experimentation in the virtual world" Interview with Steven Levine - Dassault Systèmes

Date :
Changed on 18/08/2020
The VPH2020 conference, a biennial conference on digital medicine organized by VPH Insitute and the Inria Saclay - Île-de-France research center, is supported this year by Dassault Systèmes, France's leading software publisher in terms of revenue. Meeting with Steven Levine, Senior Director Virtual Human Modeling.
Logo Dassault Syst

Why does Dassault Systèmes support the VPH2020 conference?

Portrait de Steven Levine, Dassault Systèmes

Our history guides industries in the digital transformation, starting with aerospace. The challenge then was to build and test virtually an entire aircraft. It seemed impossible at the time, but a multidisciplinary community of experts worked together and did it. Today, this industry is entirely digital. By leveraging their efforts, other sectors such as automotive, high technology, consumer goods, etc. have all transformed themselves into digital design, testing and construction. The health sector is now ready to take up this challenge by modelling the human body. With the scientific foundation and infrastructure in place to manage complex data from disparate sources, we now need to connect the experts to align their research with this goal.

Our aspiration is to virtually recreate human physiology so that future generations will never have to wonder whether a device or drug will work. They will know with confidence before it is tested on humans. To achieve this, with virtual physiological man, a very large and multidisciplinary community is needed. This is why the VPH2020 conference is essential to bring together experts from all fields involved in in-silico medicine, including future workers: students who bring new and innovative ideas.

In your opinion, what impact will the online format have on the community?

There will be considerable benefits, such as the possibility for many more people to participate by eliminating the burden and cost of travel, facilities, etc. We'll be able to reach a wider audience, from students to industry executives to make them aware of what's possible. However, to create community and build lasting relationships, electronic formats do not yet allow for everything. This year, we will plant the seeds for even better connections next year.

Can you cite some of your co-productions with the in-silico community?

Our first experience was the "The Living Heart Project", which was a great success. We brought together a global community of clinicians, researchers, industrial partners and regulatory agencies around a common vision: to produce accurate models that enable people to see and interact with a personalized digital human heart beating from the organ down to the cellular and molecular level. This technology is now being used to design and test new treatments, guide surgical operations, and is the basis of an in-silico clinical trial conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  We replicate this approach by modeling human anatomy for the brain, spine, knees, lungs, etc.

We also see many innovations from startups that are not related to historical thinking. Our 3DEXPERIENCE Lab incubator has a growing ecosystem of digital health solutions built on our cloud platform. We have also launched a "Workforce of the Future" initiative, research programs and customized courses set up with universities and based on our business grade tools so that students can be trained to enter directly into the industrial world.