In our laboratory we are interested in the cellular and molecular basis for cardiac arrhythmias that occur due to genetic mutations or in the setting of common forms of heart disease such as hypertension, heart failure and diabetes. Areas of particular focus include sinoatrial node dysfunction and atrial fibrillation. We are especially interested in the contributions of electrical remodeling of ion channel function as well as structural remodeling and fibrosis to changes in cardiac function. Our experimental approaches span from the cellular and molecular levels to the organ and organism levels. Our studies are performed in animal models, including wildtype and genetically modified mice, as well as in human tissues.
Please see a statement describing our Laboratory Philosophy.
current areas of investigation
Effects of natriuretic peptides on sinoatrial node function and atrial arrhythmogenesis in normal and diseased hearts.
Effects of natriuretic peptides on human atrial electrophysiology and post-operative atrial fibrillation in cardiac surgery patients.
Mechansims for impaired autonomic nervous system regulation of heart rate and sinoatrial node function in diabetes mellitus.
Mechanisms underlying the occurrence of atrial fibrillation in diabetes mellitus.
The impact of age and frailty on sinoatrial node and atrial function.
Please view our recent publications for more insight into our work.
The laboratory is fully equipped to study cardiovascular function in multifaceted and multidisciplinary ways including the following:
Telemetry is used to measure ECGs, blood pressure and activity in awake, freely moving animals.
Echocardiography is used to measure cardiac structure and function by ultrasound imaging.
Intracardiac electrophysiology with octapolar catheters is used to measure ECGs and to perform programmed stimulation for studies of electrical conduction and arrhythmogenesis in vivo.
High resolution optical mapping with voltage or calcium sensitive dyes and high speed cameras is used to study patterns of electrical conduction and arrhythmogenesis in isolated hearts or atrial preparations, including within the sinoatrial node.
Patch-clamping is used to study cellular electrophysiology in isolated myocytes from all regions of the heart including the sinoatrial node, the atria and the ventricles.
The laboratory is also equipped with a full suite of molecular biology equipment for PCR, qPCR, Western blotting, RNA interference, histology, immunohistochemistry, immunocytochemistry and ELISA studies.
Members of the laboratory have opportunities to learn these techniques and work with these approaches to facilitate their research efforts.
Our research efforts are generously supported by the following:
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
The Canada Foundation for Innovation
The Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta