Cardiac Dynamics (Minipgm)

Coordinators: Eberhard Bodenschatz, Emilia Entcheva, Robert Gilmour, Alain S. Karma, Valentin Krinsky

Cardiac disease is a major cause of premature death. More than half of cardiac disease deaths are sudden and result from a spatiotemporally chaotic wave activity that prevents the main chambers of the heart from pumping blood normally (ventricular fibrillation). Developing a fundamental understanding of the mechanisms that trigger and maintain life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias is crucially important for designing antiarrhythmic therapies that successfully reduce mortality.

The goal of this program is to bring together an interdisciplinary group of theorists, experimentalists and clinicians with common interests in arrhythmogenesis. We expect this program to provide a unique forum to foster collaborations that will lead to the integration of new knowledge of biology and nonlinear dynamics in extended media and to the application of this knowledge to control cardiac arrhythmias and to prevent sudden cardiac death in a clinical setting.

This four week program from July 10 to August 4, 2006 will be organized around four topics in an attempt to link complex processes occurring on vastly different length and time scales from single cells, to cell-networks, to the whole organ. These topics will be covered in sequence with substantial overlap:

  • Voltage and calcium dynamics in single cells (Weeks 1 and 2)
  • Voltage and calcium dynamics in cell networks and tissue cultures (Weeks 1, 2 and 3)
  • Wave dynamics in whole hearts (Weeks 2, 3 and 4)
  • Control of arrhythmias and defibrillation (Weeks 3 and 4)

Cross-disciplinary tutorials on different topics will be given each week. Participants are generally encouraged to come for the entire program. Theorists are expected to stay for a minimum of three weeks. Shorter periods can be accommodated for experimentalists and clinicians. Please reference the above topics when expressing your interests. The application deadline is December 4, 2005.