Dr. Dominic Whittaker- Multi-scale modelling of cardiac rhythm disorders

February 21, 2020

Date: Friday ,Feb 21th, 2020

Time: 2:30PM 

Location: BPK Seminar Room (K9622/9624)

Host: Dr. Thomas Claydon

Title: Multi-scale modelling of cardiac rhythm disorders


Understanding the behaviour of complex biological systems from their components, such as how the heartbeat arises from multiple, interacting biological processes, is a challenging yet fundamental problem. I will discuss approaches for constructing mathematical and computational models of the heart’s electrical activity, which form an integral part of the ‘systems biology’ approach. Such models span the ion channel ‘protein’ level to the organ-scale, and can be used to dissect mechanisms of excitation-propagation and irregular rhythms (arrhythmias). Focusing on the hERG channel, abnormalities of which underlie cardiac rhythm disorders, I will show how novel electrophysiology protocols can be designed which enable construction of highly predictive ion current models, and how insights into arrhythmia mechanisms and drug response can be gained from higher-level cardiac tissue models.

Dr. Dominic Whittaker is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Mathematical Medicine & Biology at the University of Nottingham, UK. Before moving to Nottingham, Dominic obtained his PhD in Biological Physics at the University of Manchester, UK, and was subsequently awarded a Wellcome Trust early career fellowship at the University of Leeds, UK. Dominic’s research focuses primarily on electrophysiology and pharmacology of the heart, from the ion channel to the tissue level. Using a range of techniques including mathematical and computational modelling, patch clamp electrophysiology, and preclinical imaging, Dominic investigates the role of ion channel mutations and therapeutic interventions in life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, with an increasing focus on designing better experiments to inform model development.