(Case Western Reserve University, 1978); The Fred Saigh Distinguished Professor
of Engineering; Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Cell Biology & Physiology, Medicine, Radiology, and Pediatrics; Director of the Cardiac Bioelectricity and Arrhythmia Center (CBAC)
Our research aims at understanding the mechanisms that underlie normal and abnormal rhythms of the heart at various levels, from the molecular (ion channel) and cellular to the whole heart. We are also developing a novel noninvasive imaging modality (Electrocardiographic Imaging, ECGI) for the diagnosis and guided therapy of cardiac arrhythmias.
My research: The goal of my research is to analyze the mechanism of cardiac arrhythmia using Electrocardiographic Imaging (ECGI), which noninvasively reconstructs the electrical activities on the heart surface.
Christopher Andrews B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, 2007
My research: Building and using the computational structural model (based on experimental data) of the cardiac IKs ion channel to study the structure-function correlation, mutation effects and the beta-adrenergic modulation from the perspective of whole cell currents and action potentials.
My research: I am interested in modeling molecular mechanisms of activation and inactivation processes for specific ion channels, for example, the IKs channel, involved in shaping action potentials of cardiac cell.
Research interests: My current collaboration with Dr. Rudy’s lab looking at the differences in electrophysiologic substrate in ischemic cardiomyopathy patients with and without clinical ventricular arrhythmias is particularly exciting. We are utilizing ECGi to noninvasively characterize patients who have required ICD therapy to terminate VT and comparing them to patients who have never received ICD therapy despite being > 4 years since implant and having, on the surface, similar clinical characteristics. Preliminary results suggest patients with VT tend to have larger areas of abnormal electrophysiologic substrate and have a greater prevalence of electrogram characteristics reflective of scar heterogeneity. A better understanding of what makes these patients different will aid in our ability to risk stratify our patients and could contribute to decisions regarding ablative therapies in the future.
In the next few years, I hope to quickly build a successful, busy clinical practice. I hope to offer my patients the opportunity to participate in research that will be geared towards advancing our understanding of their ailment. Through my collaboration with scientists in CBAC I hope to contribute to cutting edge research that will push the science forward and provide us the insight and/or technology not yet available to improve outcomes for our patients.
Clinical interests: Arrhythmias, sudden cardiac death, atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia. Under the guidance of the electrophysiology division, I was involved in reporting our experience demonstrating an overall poor prognosis for patients with chronic kidney disease despite ICD therapy for the primary prevention of sudden death.
Research interests: Under the mentorship of Dr. Yoram Rudy, we have applied a novel noninvasive electrocardiographic imaging system (ECGI) to create three-dimensional electroanatomic maps of various arrhythmias, with a focus on ventricular tachycardia and atrial fibrillation. Through better understanding of basic mechanisms of arrhythmia, the ultimate clinical application of this research is to tailor specific therapies for individual patients based on the unique electrophysiologic characteristics of each arrhythmia.
Hsiang-Chun Lee, M.D., M.Sc., F.A.H.A. (Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan. 1999, 2005)
Postdoctoral research scientist;
Division of Cardiology, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital;
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University
Research interests: My research interests are about the genetic regulations of cardiac slow delayed rectifier potassium currents. Part of my research takes place at the Cardiac Bioelectricity and Arrhythmia Center of Washington University, St. Louis, MO, under the supervision of Prof. Yoram Rudy and Prof. Jianmin Cui. Under the mentorship of Dr. Yoram Rudy, I have explored the amazing tool, the computational simulation, for studying the electrophysiology and arrhythmogenesis of cardiac myocytes. In Dr. Jianmin Cui Lab, I have learned fundamental patch clamp techniques and knowledge. With previous 10 years’ clinical practice as a physician and a cardiologist, the learning of combined computational simulations and patch clamp experiments at the CBAC brings me to a better understanding of ion channels and cardiac electrophysiology. I am also a PhD student on a collaborative project between the Graduate Institute of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan and the CBAC.
Research interests: Although sudden cardiac death due to malignant arrhythmias represents a significant source of morbidity and mortality, the underlying mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmias remain incompletely understood. My research focuses on several strategies to gain further insights into the mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmias.
1) Electrophysiology of adult human cardiac cells. Most previous research has been carried out using various animal models; although much has been learned through these techniques, there are also crucial differences between species. In collaboration with the heart transplant service, we obtain tissue at the time of heart transplantation and study the electrical properties of the cells in order to gain a more detailed understanding of human cardiac physiology. In conjunction with these cellular studies, work in collaboration with Dr. Yoram Rudy uses noninvasive ECGI mapping to characterize human cardiac electrophysiology in the intact heart.
2) Dynamic current clamp. The electrical function of cardiac cells depends on the complex interactions between multiple ion channels. Dynamic current clamp is a technique in which an altered ionic current can be simulated in the computer model and then introduced into a cell to determine the effect of altering the current on cell function.
3) Patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes. Recent developments in the field of stem cell biology led to the discovery that adult skin cells can be reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) and then differentiated into cardiomyocytes. We are using this technique to obtain patient specific cells from individuals with genetic cardiac diseases, particularly arrhythmia syndromes, and carrying out molecular, genetic, and electrophysiological studies on these cells. We anticipate that this strategy will provide novel insights into the mechanisms of these diseases and pave the way for future, personalized treatment strategies.
Jennifer N. A. Silva, M.D. Med school: St. George's University School of Medicine, Grenada, West Indies
Residency: Pediatrics, Miami Children's Hospital
Fellowship: Pediatric Cardiology, Washington University
Fellowship: Pediatric Electrophysiology, Children's Hospital Boston
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Pediatrics Cardiology
Job Responsibilities: Install, maintain and administer Linux/Windows clusters.
Webmaster for the lab research website. Provide Linux support and programming support for the computational research. Provide support for the ECGI research.
Job Responsibilities: I am the administrator for the CBAC and Rudy Lab. I am responsible for CBAC programming and events. I am also responsible for grants, budgets, and all CBAC publications which includes newsletters and brochures.
Bio: I attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison and graduated with a B.S. degree in Botany. Upon graduation, I worked for the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.
From 2007 to the present, I was the Assistant to the Chair in the Department of Art at U.W. – Madison where I was responsible for assisting the Department Chair in a wide range of activities, including alumni relations, external relations, personnel, and programming in addition to putting together grants and fundraising to make all of these activities happen.