Computational models of the heart: Successes, failures, and prospects for the future
- Speaker: Dr Richard Clayton (University of Sheffield)
- Host: Neil Lawrence
- 11th November 2009 at 14:15 in Lecture Theatre 1.4, Kilburn Building
The heart is an electromechanical pump; during each heartbeat an electrical impulse propagates rapidly through the heart tissue, initiating and synchronising contraction. Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) often result from problems with the initiation or conduction of the electrical impulse. Models of electrical activation in the heart have been developed and are becoming valuable investigative tools that are used alongside experiments to examine the arrhythmia mechanisms, and to propose potential drug targets. As more experimental data become available, models of electrical activation and recovery in a single heart cell have become more detailed, but this apparent progress has raised several difficult issues. For example, models of a particular cell type that have been developed and parameterised using similar or identical datasets can behave very differently when incorporated into a tissue model. Despite these obstacles, mechanisms for standardising and curating cell models are being developed (e.g. www.cellml.org). During this seminar I will review the history of cardiac modelling, examine some of the problems described above, and highlight areas where progress is being made.