Our laboratory uses an integrative approach to assess cardiovascular physiology, including subcellular mechanistic studies, 3D tissue engineered cardiac models, wholeheart optical mapping, and in vivo electrophysiology.
Cultured neonatal rat cardiomyocyte monolayers enable the direct observation of cellular interaction and communication. Fluorescent staining with voltage and calcium sensitive dyes allows us to observe ion handling and action potential propagation through confocal microscopy. Custom computer processing coupled with manual analysis helps us to quantify the electrophysiological effects of plasticizers and advance our understanding of the local response to cardiotoxic agents such as BPA and DEHP.
Langendorff Perfused Heart Model
Retrograde perfusion of the live heart by the way of Langendorff is a simple and elegant preparation to guarantee coronary flow while providing a blood-free canvas for optical mapping. Assessment with high temporal and spatial resolution using optical mapping is the most advanced and rigorous measurement of cardiac electrophysiology currently feasible by today’s technology. We use it in our lab to study the toxicological effects of plasticizing compounds and investigate ionic imbalances associated with ischemia.
To further confirm observations made in cell culture preparations and whole heart experiments, it demands the complex rigor of an in vivo model. Basic research depends on it as a stepping stone toward building small advances in understanding into a broader clinically relevant conclusion. Our animal models allow us to mimic altered environmental exposure scenarios and track changes in metabolism and cardiac function over time to elucidate mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmia.