Loading the heart to understand its coupling to cardiovascular loads

PhD Project

The heart can be dissected out of the body. Likewise, heart muscles can be dissected out of the heart. These two ‘isolated’ preparations are no longer coupled to the in vivo cardiovascular loads. They are now in your hand to reconnect them to the cardiovascular loads. This represents an opportunity in experimental settings to extend our understanding of the intricate coupling between the heart and its loads.

The rationale of this project is to understand how changes in the cardiovascular load (i.e., as in diseases) affect the performance of the heart. Interestingly, we can load healthy hearts with diseased loads, or vice versa, load diseased hearts with healthy loads.

The project involves bioinstrumentation, muscle experimentation, and modelling.

Project Objectives

  1. Build software simulated cardiovascular loads onto experimental devices to enable loading of isolated heart and muscles. 
  2. Perform experiments on isolated heart and muscles to test the software/instruments built in Objective 1.
  3. Extend mathematical models of cardiac muscle biophysics to interpret the data obtained in Objective 2.

Desired skills

  • Bachelor or Masters degree in Bioengineering, Physics or equivalent
  • Some experience with bioinstrumentation
  • Some interests in heart muscle experiments
  • Some experience with Matlab, or equivalent
  • Enjoy working with bioengineers and physiologists



Contact and supervisors

For more information or to apply for this project, please follow the link to the supervisor below: