Integrative Cardiac Dynamics

Coordinators: Emilia Entcheva, Flavio H. Fenton, Daisuke Sato, and Yohannes Shiferaw

Scientific Advisors: Jose Jalife, Alain Karma, Andrew McCulloch, Natalia Trayanova, and James N. Weiss

The heart is a nonlinear system where instabilities can lead to lethal cardiac arrhythmias. Pharmacologic therapies have been largely unsuccessful due to the complexity of disease states which involve gene regulation, signaling pathways, and whole heart electrical activity. These biological processes depend on physical interactions between multiple scales which lead to temporal and spatial instabilities. Fundamental understanding of these instabilities will require the application of non-equilibrium physics tools, along with quantitative approaches from the theory of nonlinear dynamics and pattern formation. To facilitate this development, it is essential for physicists and mathematicians to keep abreast of the latest experimental results, and likewise, for experimentalists to learn quantitative modeling tools that may be crucial to interpret their findings. In this four-week program, we will gather theoreticians, bench-top experimentalists and practicing clinicians, with the aim to uncover the organizing principles that underlie cardiac arrhythmias. Specific themes that will be covered are:

  1. The development of quantitative tools to integrate novel genomic and proteomic insights on cardiac arrhythmia mechanisms.
  2. Experiments and modeling of signal transduction pathways which underlie cardiac instabilities.
  3. Recent developments in the control of arrhythmias and defibrillation.
  4. Emerging new technologies for spatiotemporal actuation and imaging of cardiac dynamics and signaling.

This program will address the ongoing need to bring together experimental, computational, and theoretical researchers to promote the exchange of ideas and foster new collaborations.