Cardiac Dynamics



Cardiac dynamics and susceptibility to rhythm disturbances.  Dr. Womble (Biology) and Dr. Jalics (Math).

This project utilizes electrophysiological, immunochemical, and mathematical modeling methods to investigate the physiological responses of cardiac myocytes (muscle cells) to changes in ion current levels and how these changes may underlie deadly rhythm disturbances (arrhythmias) in the heart. Because females are more sensitive than males to altered heart rhythms, we will test the hypothesis that there are sex differences in the levels and properties of specific ion currents in the heart. To conduct this study, electrophysiological measurements will be performed on freshly isolated heart muscle cells (cardiac myocytes) from male and female rabbits to characterize both ion current levels and action potentials. Ion currents are conducted by specific proteins called ion channels. The biophysical properties of ion currents will be analyzed to determine if sex differences exist in ion channel regulation. To determine if ion current levels correspond to the channels that conduct them, protein levels of the ion channels will be assessed by an immunochemical technique called Western blotting. Experimentally obtained ion current data will be incorporated into a mathematical cardiac action potential model and simulations will be performed to test if differences ion currents influence the genesis of arrhythmias. This project represents a fantastic opportunity for students to apply cutting edge multidisciplinary approaches to addressing research questions in cardiac physiology that will uniquely prepare them for advanced careers in the biomedical sciences.




MBURDepartment of Mathematics and StatisticsDepartment of Biological SciencesYoungstown State University

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