Medicine and Physiology in the Age of Dynamics

Time: 4:00-5:30 a.m. October. 11, 2013

Venue: Medical Science Building C201

Reporter: Alan Garfinkel, Professor of Medicine (cardiology) and integrative biology and physiology

Host: Prof. Liu Guosong


Dr.  Garfinkel’s training is in mathematics and mathematical modeling. Over the last 30 years, he have worked on modeling biological and physiological systems, especially the electrophysiology of the brain and heart. One current research focus is on the use of partial differential equations and large-scale computer simulations to understand cardiac arrhythmias. His lab developed a “Virtual Heart” model that is a fully detailed 50-million variable model of electrical conduction in the ventricles. Versions of this model are used to test hypotheses about the mechanisms of arrhythmias, especially ventricular fibrillation, the leading cause of sudden cardiac death. He also study cellular level arrhythmias using nonlinear dynamics, especially bifurcation theory.

Another area of research is in pattern formation: the emergence of spatial structures in normal and pathological development, modeled by bifurcations in partial differential equations. Examples include the development of the branched structure of the lung and the formation of calcified lesions in atherosclerosis.

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