University of Minnesota
Institute of Technology
myU OneStop

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Spatio-temporal dynamics of alternans in the heart

Prof. Alena Talkachova
University of Minnesota
Department of Bioengineering

Alternans of action potential duration is a herald for life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias. In isolated myocytes, the appearance of alternans can be predicted by analyzing the restitution properties of periodically paced cardiac tissue. However, the dynamical behavior of whole heart is more complex due to presence of spatial component. We investigated the organization and evolution of alternans in isolated rabbit hearts using high-resolution optical mapping, and identified the mechanisms of spatially concordant and discordant alternans formation.
Prof. Alena Talkachova is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota since 2008. She received her MS in theoretical physics from Belorussian State University and Ph.D. in laser physics from the Nice University, Nice, France in 2003. She held two post-doctorate positions: one in biophysics at Duke University, Durham, NC (2001 - 2004) and another in electrophysiology at Upstate Medical University, SUNY (2004 - 2006). She is a member of Heart Rhythm Society, American Heart Association and Biophysical Society.  She has more than 30 publications in peer-reviewed journals, and more than 50 presentations at the conferences. She served on the AHA and NSF review Panels, and judged for the Regional FIRST Robotic Competition.  Dr. Talkachova investigates the electrical behavior of isolated cardiac myocytes and the whole hearts from a nonlinear dynamics perspective, aiming to reveal mechanisms of complex cardiac rhythms leading to ventricular fibrillation. She uses cellular and whole heart electrophysiology approaches, including patch clamping and high resolution optical mapping of cardiac electrical wave propagation in different animal models.