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Pol Canal: Measurement and modeling of atrial cell electrodynamics and atrial arrhythmias

Pol Canal successfully defended his Bachelor thesis in Physics Engineering in July 2016.

Title:

Measurement and modeling of atrial cell electrodynamics and atrial arrhythmias

Abstract:

Here I present the study of instabilities in human atrial cardiac tissue using a complex non-linear set of differential equations. More specifically, the topic I will focus on is atrial calcium alternans driven by SR Ca content fluctuations and SR refractoriness when extending the model from the cell level to tissue. This thesis will be structured in four blocks, each of which will be separated in subsections. The first one will introduce the reasons why studying instabilities in cardiac tissue is a hot topic as well as a research motor that helps other disciplines like computer science advance faster. Then I will briefly talk about the state of art experimental setup (optical mapping) and not so briefly explain the bibliographic research about the biology behind this model for a better comprehension of the connection between the model and reality. To end with this second block I will summarize the GPU programming concept and compare CPU vs GPU to highlight the parallel programming benefits. The third block will summarize the main concepts of the model, providing the capability of understanding figures and results in the forth block. The forth block will focus on simulating the 2D model and analyzing its results in terms of instabilities and performance in order to understand why those instabilities appear when changing some parameter values in the equations. Finally, I will discuss the obtained results and conclude with limitations and future work. The main concepts this thesis wants you to learn are calcium cycling, and more specifically what's the role of the Ryanodine Receptors in the SR, calcium and action potential sustained alternans and the mechanisms behind it and the differences between CPU and GPU and why is it important.