Leonid Goubergrits first became aware of his current subject area – cardiovascular modeling and simulation – when he immigrated to Germany in 1995. Previously, he had studied applied mathematics and physics, with a special focus on fluid mechanics, at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. “It was only in Germany that I learned about a special field of fluid mechanics, namely, its application in medicine. The interdisciplinarity of this field of research and its challenges still fascinate me today,” says Leonid Goubergrits, who took up the Cardiovascular Modeling and Simulation professorship at the Einstein Center Digital Future and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin on 1 February 2019.
While working as a research assistant at the Biofluid Mechanics Lab at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and doing his doctorate at TU Berlin, he concentrated on the numerical modeling of blood flow: “I focused my research on the relationship between blood flow and atherosclerosis to discover new risk factors for the emergence and development of this disease. I was one of the first researchers to be involved in developing patient-specific modeling of blood flow in blood vessels as a subject area,” says the native Muscovite.
Gradually, his initial interest in the modeling of blood flow in the carotid artery has expanded to encompass a much broader field of cardiovascular research. These different approaches to the modeling of blood flow in coronary vessels, in cerebral aneurysms, in the heart and heart valves, in the aorta, but also the modeling of blood damage caused by artificial organs such as heart valves or cardiac support systems, as well as the development and optimization of artificial organs, have been pooled in his own research group dedicated to the numerical modeling of cardiovascular diseases at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the German Heart Center Berlin. “My vision is to implement numerical models into everyday clinical practice, because these approaches can reduce the use of invasive diagnostic procedures as well as predict postoperative outcomes, and are better able than current clinical practices to provide accurate diagnoses and further information. All these elements together are the digital medicine of the future,” says Goubergrits.
Since 2001, Leonid Goubergrits has also partly taken on teaching and redesigned the curriculum in Fluid Mechanics in Medicine for students at TU Berlin. “Within the scope of the ECDF professorship, I want to continue my work on the digital future of medicine and build a bridge between computer scientists, engineers, mathematicians and physicians, both in research and teaching. I’ve found the coupling of fundamental and applied research, teaching and industrial cooperation to be very constructive and motivating. I would like to further develop this model in my future work.”