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K-State Today

November 27, 2012

Mathematics Colloquium today

Submitted by Reta McDermott

At 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, in 122 Cardwell Hall, Joyce Lin from University of Utah will present "A Microdomain Model of Electrical Activity in Cardiac Tissue."

Electrical stimulation of cardiac cells causes an action potential wave to propagate through myocardial tissue, resulting in muscular contraction and pumping blood through the body. Approximately two-thirds of unexpected, sudden cardiac death — presumably due to ventricular arrhythmias — occurs without recognition of cardiac disease.

While conduction failure has been linked to cardiac arrhythmia, the major players in cardiac conduction have yet to be well established. Additionally, recent experimental studies have shown that ephaptic coupling, or field effects, may be another method of communication between cardiac cells, bringing into question the classic understanding that action potential propagation occurs primarily through gap junctions.

In this talk, Lin will introduce the mechanisms behind cardiac conduction and present and discuss results from a new model for the electrical activity in cardiac cells with simplifications that afford more efficient numerical simulation, yet captures complex cellular geometry and spatial inhomogeneities that are critical to ephaptic coupling.