CIVS & Alverno Labs

Purdue Calumet CIVS technology
sculpts future for Alverno Laboratory

Through its Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS), Purdue University Calumet is partnering with Alverno Clinical Laboratory to advance training and optimization projects at the Hammond-based medical lab.


Alverno, a full service, community-based laboratory, performs more than 750 tests in clinical and anatomic pathology. Recently, Alverno was designated the nation’s first Siemens Microbiology Innovation Center following implementation of several new microbiology systems.

The partnership with Purdue Calumet allows Alverno to benefit from virtual design and virtual training made possible through advanced simulation and visualization technologies of the university’s CIVS.

Purdue Calumet’s cutting edge CIVS is an interdisciplinary applied research center that combines advanced simulation techniques with 3-D visualization and virtual reality technologies to provide innovative solutions.

“Collaborating with our local university, Purdue Calumet, is the key to our strategy for providing highly reliable laboratory testing,” Alverno CEO Sam Terese said.

Two projects

Specifically, the partnership relates to two projects: development of the 3-D Alverno Clinical Laboratories Virtual Tour for lab training and education and development of a virtual microbiology lab for design and process optimization.

Each project calls for development of 3-D models and animated interactive designs for visualizing and conceptualizing introduction of the new lab equipment and lab layout. Additionally, a 3-D simulation model has been developed for use in the CIVS Immersive Theatre, where Alverno lab technicians can walk through the virtual design to evaluate and optimize it. Such advanced technology will enable ‘what if’ scenarios and rapid change capabilities to the process layout.

“Industry is benefiting from simulation and visualization in many ways, from design to optimization,” Purdue Calumet CIVS Director Chenn Zhou said. “The technology developed at CIVS will continue to be a fundamental driver for economic development in this region.”

The partnership also provides a hands-on, experiential learning opportunity for three Purdue Calumet engineering students who are collaborating on the projects with CIVS staff, biology faculty and Alverno specialists.

Practical applications

“The practical application of engineering concepts to the actual delivery of better patient care gives high purpose to what I am learning at Purdue Calumet,” Lucas Phillips of Crown Point, a CIVS research assistant and graduate student in modeling, simulation and visualization, said.

Professor of Biological Sciences W.T. Evert Ting has collaborated with the projects and plans to introduce the Alverno Clinical Laboratories Virtual Tour and the 3-D Virtual Microbiology Lab in her microbiology curriculum to facilitate student learning.

“I am very enthusiastic about using both projects in my microbiology courses,” Professor Ting said. “The virtual lab tour provides my students an opportunity to see how a modern clinical lab operates, while the 3-D Virtual Microbiology Lab allows them to learn about the newest and most exciting automated microbiology testing technology.”

The 3-D simulation will support Alverno scientists who process more than 2,000 plated cultures a day.  Patient samples come from 27 hospitals, as well as clinics, doctors’ offices and other medical facilities.