Sven Holcombe

Sven Holcombe, PhD, MS

Associate Research Scientist, Acute Care Surgery


Sven Holcombe is an Associate Research Scientist in Department of Surgery and works within the International Center for Automotive Medicine (ICAM) and the Morphomic Analysis Group (MAG). He completed dual undergraduate degrees in Engineering and in Software Development at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia, before moving to Ibaraki, Japan to work at the Japan Automotive Research Institute in the field of impact biomechanics. He moved to Ann Arbor in 2008, joining the research team at Michigan Medicine and completing his master’s degree and PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Holcombe is a biomedical engineer whose research centers on the human body and how we can quantify its composition to better understand and treat injury and disease. With a strong development background, his research focuses on using computers to quantify human anatomy and body composition at large scales and across broad populations. Since moving to Ann Arbor, he has headed the technical innovation of the UM's morphomics analysis system which automatically extracts human body geometry from clinical CT scans and stores results to a spatial database for population-wide statistical analyses. It creates accurate and anatomically-indexed measures of the size, shape, and quality of body muscle, fat, bones, organs, disease markers, and other clinically valuable metrics.

Dr. Holcombe’s individual research centers on rib cage and chest wall anatomy, both from a clinical perspective in terms of outcomes from disease, and from a biomechanical perspective in terms of interaction with car safety systems such as seatbelts and airbags. Dr. Holcombe also enjoys the team research that comes with producing computational tools that can be used across a variety of disciplines, and has been privileged to work with expert clinicians and researchers in such widely varying fields and topics as automotive safety, liver disease, oncology, surgery, cardiovascular disease, orthopedics, and computational biomechanics.

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