Published on

Research with Dr. Joyce Lin

  • avatar

Research with Dr. Joyce Lin


This is a quick introductory post to provide some context for the next few blog posts that will come out soon (hopefully?). First things first, I have to credit Dr. Joyce Lin and BEACoN Research for bringing me in and providing this opportunity to me. Also, a huge shout-out to LSAMP Research for providing us funding over the summer!

Now that we have that out of the way, I'll start off by laying out the 4W's.

What are we researching?

Short Answer: The heart tissue.

Long Answer:

The propagation of a Cardiac Action Potential through the heart tissue.

Well, what are Action Potentials you may ask? Here's what Wikipedia had to say:

The cardiac action potential is a brief change in voltage (membrane potential) across the cell membrane of heart cells. This is caused by the movement of charged atoms (called ions) between the inside and outside of the cell, through proteins called ion channels.

At its core, all they really are is the electrical impulses through cardiac tissue that allows for a heart to beat and pump blood throughout the body.

What do you do?

My work lies in bridging the gap between the mathematical models and programmatic simulations to see the behavior of these models with empirical evidence.

Why are we researching this?

While the above explanation of cardiac action potentials may seem simple enough, we still don't have a working model for how they propagate at a cellular/tissue level. This is concerning as action potential failure has been strongly linked to sudden cardiac death, thus we seek a better theoretical model to study parameters that can cause arrhythmia.

Also, classically, the propagation of action potentials were considered to heavily rely on the intracellular to intracellular transfer using gap junctions, and often neglected the extracellular space. This understanding did not entirely hold up in experimental studies when the percentage of gap junctions decreased. Thus, our research uses this as motivation for why we cannot rely solely on intracellular transfer using gap junctions but also consider the extracellular space.

Where is this happening?

Right now, everything is online but is hosted through Cal Poly SLO.