Emilia Entcheva: Cardiac Optogenetics

Presented at SPIE Photonics West 2017.

07 March 2017

In this BiOS Hot Topics session, Emilia Entcheva, professor of biomedical engineering at George Washington University, walks the audience through her group's work in cardiac optogenetics, a new framework for the study of cardiac electrophysiology and arrhythmias. Their goal is to use optogenetic sensors and actuators to achieve high throughput, all-optical cardiac electrophysiology for applications in drug development (cardiotoxicity screen), drug discovery, and patient-specific therapies via the functional characterization of stem-cell derived heart microtissues.

Her group, the Cardiac Optogenetics & Optical Imaging Laboratory, has developed OptoDyCE, a fully automated system for all-optical cardiac electrophysiology. The device is the first high-throughput cardiac optogenetic system that can do this, according to Entcheva, and it has the potential to process 600 independent multi-cellular tissue samples per hour and more than 10,000 compounds per day.

Professor Entcheva is recognized for pioneering cardiac optogenetics - the genetically mediated light sensitization of heart cells and tissue to allow optical stimulation, imaging and control of their electrical activity. The goal of Entcheva's group is to work out the biophysical limits of and develop the technological innovations needed for a fundamentally new highly-parallel framework for all-optical cardiac electrophysiology in vitro and in vivo.

Entcheva received BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from Technical University, Sofia (Bulgaria); a PhD in biomedical engineering from University of Memphis (USA) (1998); and did postdoctoral work in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University (USA) (2000).

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