Mass Casualty Plane Crash Scene

The People of the VME Lab

Alan Liu, Ph.D.

- Director, VME Lab

Dr. Liu is the Director of the Virtual Medical Environments Laboratory at the Val G. Hemming Simulation Center (SimCen). He is involved in defining the SimCen's strategic research goals, and directing the development of the SimCen's computer-based medical training systems. Dr. Liu is the principal developer of the center's pericardiocentesis and diagnostic peritoneal lavage simulators. They are the world's first computer-based trainers for these procedures. These simulators were used in the nation's first Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) course conducted without animals or cadavers. Dr. Liu is also the principal architect for the center's cricothyroidotomy simulator. Dr. Liu has conducted numerous tutorials and workshops on medical simulation, including tutorials and workshops at MICCAI 2003, HICSS 2003, IEEE CBMS 2006, and MMVR 2002-2007. He was an invited speaker at the 2002 United States Medicine Institute for Health Studies forum on Computers, Robots, and Cyberspace in Washington D.C. Dr. Liu's current research focus includes the development of the SimCen's WAVE, a 1000 sq. ft. total immersion virtual environment for mass casualty training, with applications in military medical readiness, and homeland defense.

Eric Acosta, Ph.D.

- Senior Computer Research Scientist

Dr. Eric Acosta is a Computer Research Engineer at the Val G. Hemming Simulation Center. While at the center, he has contributed to the research and development of various computer-based medical simulation technologies. Dr. Acosta's current research efforts are directed towards the center's Wide Area Virtual Environment (WAVE). He has helped build its deferred rendering architecture to improve rendering speeds, while supporting algorithms that enhance the visual quality. He has also integrated optical tracking to track users within the WAVE and simulate the use of weapons in combat medical training scenarios. Dr. Acosta is assisting in developing software to monitor and control the WAVE's hardware infrastructure. He is also developing software to integrate devices, such as air cannons, smell/smoke generators and a motion platform, to enhance the immersive training experience. He has also served as the lead researcher and developer of several Virtual Reality-based surgical simulators that include haptic, visual, and audio feedback. The simulators include a head trauma, cricothyroidotomy, and pulmonary artery catheterization simulators. Dr. Acosta is also one of the primary architects and the developer of a pipelined virtual environment architecture for multi-core CPU systems. The architecture serves as a unified platform for developing the Sim Center's next generation simulators. Dr. Acosta received his PhD in 2006 from Texas Tech University, with his dissertation topic focused on establishing a software development platform for stable haptic Virtual Reality applications.

Jamie Cope, MSI

- Senior Computer Research Engineer

Mr. Cope is a Senior Computer Research Scientist at the VME Lab. He is involved in the research, development, and maintenance of the WAVE (Wide Area Virtual Environment) system. This includes all aspects of the system - audio, video, networking, workflow integration, and more. Mr. Cope received his BSE in Computer Science and Engineering and MSI in Human-Computer Interaction from the University of Michigan.

Valerie Henry, MFA

- 3D Medical Simulation Designer

Valerie Henry is a 3D Medical Simulation Designer for the VME Lab. She is responsible for all aspects of designing and implementing the 3D environments for the WAVE, from creating and maintaining the 3D scenes to generating and editing the audio elements. Ms. Henry also assists the VME Lab with running training events in the WAVE. She earned her bachelors degree in biology from California State University, Chico. From there she continued on to earn her masters degree of fine arts in the field of medical illustration from Rochester Institute of Technology in upstate NY.

Fernando Reyes, BFA

- 3D Generalist

Fernando Reyes is the 3D generalist for the VME Lab. He is responsible for animating, rigging, modeling, texturing, lighting and rendering of the 3D scenes. Fernando earned he's bachelor degree in Media arts and animation from The Art institute of Washington.

Michael Mc Donnell, MS

- 3D Graphics Software Engineer

Mr. Mc Donnell is a 3D graphics software engineer working at the VME Lab. He works on the development of the WAVE system. This includes web based control interfaces and integrating devices such as smoke machines, air cannons and stage lights into the WAVE system. Mr. Mc Donnell received his BEng in IT-Engineering and MS in Digital Media Engineering from The Technical University of Denmark.

Victor Vergara, Ph.D.

- Computer Research Scientist

Dr. Vergara is a computer research scientist at the NCA Medical Simulation Center (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences) creating realistic graphic and sonic virtual environments for medical training. He served as Director of the Visualization Laboratory at the Center for Advanced Research Computing, University of New Mexico and adjunct faculty at the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute. Research interests include signal processing, 3D sound for virtual reality, medical simulation, data fusion and soft computing. He collaborated in data visualization research for threat reduction sponsored by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) as part of DTRA's University Strategic Partnership (USP). He participated in medical oriented projects at UNM's Center for Telehealth, including patient simulation and biochemical visualization.