Professor; Undergraduate Program Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Volker B122
(205) 975-2101

Research and Teaching Interests: Experimental design and statistical analysis, Cardiac electrophysiology

Office Hours: By appointment


  • B.S., Duke University, Biomedical Engineering
  • M.S., Duke University, Biomedical Engineering
  • Ph.D., Duke University, Biomedical Engineering

My research interests have focused on computational modeling and cardiac mapping strategies to improve understanding of arrhythmia development. Over the course of the past 10 years, those interests have shifted from analyses of electrical interactions between the specialized conduction system and the overlying ventricular myocardium to analyses of electrical source-load interactions that promote conduction failure at the cellular level in cardiac tissue. In making this shift, I have worked with a number of different investigators to design and test microelectrical mechanical systems (MEMS) arrays containing very small and closely spaced electrodes positioned in the interstitium. The use of MEMS arrays has the potential to provide fundamentally new descriptions of arrhythmia substrate development in heart and tissue preparations at a resolution more commonly associated with single cell electrophysiologic studies. Integration of detailed modeling is advantageous in this regard, as it provides a formal way in which recordings made with the MEMS systems can be interpreted. Microimpedance measurements are a specific focus.

I am transitioning the work in heart preparations for use with tissue-engineered constructs. In one project, I am collaborating with Dr. Sethu and Dr. Berry. Dr. Sethu’s extensive experience with development of microfluidic platforms provides an opportunity for control of shear stress as one key stimuli for endothelial cell remodeling that can be integrated with the barrier microimpedance measurements. Dr. Berry’s experience with tissue-engineered constructs using endothelial cells will additionally be important to establish preparations for electrophysiological study. This project represents a unique opportunity to develop a novel microfluidic-based platform to quantify gap junction intracellular communication (GJIC) in endothelial cell barriers. GJIC is emerging as an important functional regulator of barrier permeability, so the completion of our proposed work will make a significant contribution in characterizing function. In a second project, I am adapting the approach to quantify GJIC in tissue-engineered heart patches being assembled by Dr. Zhang’s group. Use of microimpedance measurements has the potential to allow improved development of these patches before they are transplanted into diseased hearts for functional testing.

Recent Courses

  • BME 423: Living Systems Analysis
  • BME 461: Bioelectric Phenomena
  • BME 490: Cardiac Electrophysiology

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