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Live Online Course – 8th Edition

Finite Element Analysis Applied to Life Sciences

May 13th-24th, 2024

Live sessions will be recorded

Finite Element Analysis Applied to Life Sciences

Course Overview & Programme

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is a great tool for biologists, palaeontologists, doctors, veterinarians, and other life sciences specialities in which researchers face questions about biomechanics of living and extinct organisms. Elements like bone, arthropod exoskeleton, mollusc shells, or the stems and leaves of plants can be analysed using this technique.

FEA is a non-invasive modelling technique, based on the principle of dividing a system into a finite number of discrete elements where the equations are applied. Although statical and dynamic analysis can be solved using FEA, in this course only statical analysis will be covered.

In this course, we will provide an introduction to Finite Element for modelling biological structures and understanding how they work. We will cover all the steps involved in FEA (for static analysis) except the creation or reconstruction of the model, which will be covered in the course entitled: Introduction to 3D Imaging Technologies: Photogrammetry, Laser, CT-scan and (µ)CT-scan for Life Sciences.

After the theoretical introduction, we will build and analyse plane 2D and 3D finite element models and deepen on the methods and software required to perform FEA. Key questions such as mesh size, boundary conditions, applied forces, material properties and numerical singularities will be thoroughly addressed. The last day of the course will be dedicated to discussing models that participants may use in their future research.

First day (Jordi Marcé-Nogué).

1.     An introduction to the use of Finite Element Analysis (FEA):

1.1.  Mathematical model, features, and practical procedure.

2.     Basic continuum mechanics:

2.1.  Stress, displacements, strain, constitutive equations.

2.2.  Failure criteria on elastic materials.

Second day (Jordi Marcé-Nogué).

3.     Theoretical approach to Meshing:

3.1.  Types of mesh.

3.2.  Mesh generation.

3.3.  How to evaluate a mesh (quality and reliability).

3.4.  Recommendations for a good practice.

4.     Material Properties:

4.1.  Biomechanical properties of the bones to be used in FEA.

4.2.  Considerations for non-lineal materials to understand the modelling of soft tissues.

Third day (Jordi Marcé-Nogué).

5.     2D Plane models reconstruction:

5.1.  Theoretical tools for the creation of 2D plane FEA biomechanical models of biological structures.

5.2.  A practical guided example

Fourth day (Josep Fortuny and Jordi Marcé-Nogué).

6.     3D FEA models

6.1.  Introduction to 3d Digitalization of biological models

6.2.  Theoretical tools for the creation of 3D FEA models of biological structures.

6.3.  A practical guided example: Biological Implications. Interpretation of the results.

Fifth day (Josep Fortuny and Jordi Marcé-Nogué).

7.     Analysis of the FEA results

7.1.  Interpretation of the results

7.2.  Comparative methods

7.3.  Validation of the models

Sixth day (Josep Fortuny and Jordi Marcé-Nogué).

8.     Presentation and discussion of future models

Graduate or postgraduate degree in any Life Sciences discipline. Familiarity with 3D virtual model generation, as the starting point of the course will be with the model already built.

All participants must have a personal computer (Windows) with the following minimum requirements: Windows, 4 GB RAM, 1 GB memory dedicated to the graphic card, 20 GB of hard disk space available.

Webcam and headphones are needed during class, as well as a good internet connection.


Jordi Marce-Nogue instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. Jordi Marcé-Nogué
Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Josep Fortuny instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. Josep Fortuny

Institut Català de Paleontologia M. C.

Dates & Schedule

May 13th-24th, 2024

14:00-18:30 (Madrid time zone)

Six online live sessions on 13th, 15th, 17th, 21st, 22nd, and 24th of May, 14:00-16:00 and 16:30-18:30 (Madrid time zone).

The rest of the course will be taught with pre-recorded lessons and assignments, to be done in between live sessions during the course.

Total course hours: 48

This course is equivalent to 2 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) at the Life Science Zurich Graduate School. The recognition of ECTS by other institutions depends on each university or school.



This course will be delivered live online

This course will be taught using a combination of live (synchronous) sessions on Zoom and tasks to be completed in between live sessions on the Slack platform.

Live sessions will be recorded. Recordings will be made available to participants for a limited period of time. However, attendance to the live sessions is required.


Places are limited to 16 participants and will be occupied by strict registration order.

Participants who have completed the course will receive a certificate at the end.

Haris Saslis coordinator for Transmitting Science

Dr. Haris Saslis
Transmitting Science

Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno Transmitting Science coordinator

Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno
Transmitting Science

Fees & Discounts

  • Course Fee
  • Early bird (until February 29th, 2024):
  • 616 €

    (492.80 € for Ambassador Institutions)

  • Regular (after February 29th, 2024):
  • 730 €

    (584 € for Ambassador Institutions)

  • Prices include VAT.
    After registration you will receive confirmation of your acceptance on the course.
    Payment is not required during registration.

We offer discounts on the Course Fee.

Discounts are not cumulative. Participants receive the highest appropriate discount.

We also offer the possibility of paying in two instalments. Please contact us to request this.

Former participants of Transmitting Science courses receive a 5% discount on the Course Fee.

20% discount on the Course Fee is offered to members of certain organisations (Ambassador Institutions). If you wish to apply for this discount, please indicate it in the Registration form (proof will be asked later). If you would like your institution to become a Transmitting Science Ambassador Institution, please contact us at communication@transmittingscience.com

Unemployed scientists, as well as PhD students without any grant or scholarship to develop their PhD, can benefit from a 40% discount on the Course Fee. This applies only to participants based in Spain. If you wish to ask for this discount, please contact us. The discount may apply for a maximum of 2 places, which will be covered by strict registration order.


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