Wellcome Research Fellow
Following completion of an undergraduate degree in Physics (1999-2003) at the University of Oxford, I studied for a PhD in Computational Biology as part of the Life Sciences Interface Doctoral Training Centre also at Oxford (2003-2007), specialising in Computational Cardiac Modelling. My PhD project was concerned with simulating the fluorescent signals obtained from optical mapping recordings of cardiac electrophysiology to allow a better understanding of the underlying tissue activity and closer comparison of optical experiments with computational simulations.
In the year following my PhD, I worked as a Research Officer on a project concerned with developing fine-scaled computational cardiac models directly from high-resolution MRI data. In October 2008, I began a 4-year Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship, based-in Oxford, but also involving collaboration visits to Calgary (Canada) and Graz (Austria). The goal of this project was a combined computational and experimental investigation into the role of anatomical complexity and heterogeneity in the mechanisms of initiation and maintenance of ventricular fibrillation. I started as a Lecturer at KCL in August 2011.
My current research interests lie in the general field of tissue- and organ-level computational cardiac electrophysiology. with a specific focus on using modelling to understand the mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmias and their treatment through electrical shock therapy. To try to answer these questions involves the use of multi-modality, high-resolution imaging data to construct and parameterise realistic, anatomically-detailed computational cardiac models. These models are then used within high-performance cardiac simulation environments to conduct ‘in-silico’ experiments where the full 3-dimensional electrophysiological response of the tissue can be analysed in detail under a variety of protocols.More specifically, my research focusses on using basic science approaches to understand the underlying biophysical behaviour of healthy and diseased myocardial tissue at a very fine anatomical scale, primarily using experimental data such as histological images, high-resolution MRI/DT-MRI, as well as electrical optical mapping data. Incorporating this knowledge into a computational model then allows assessment of how this fine-scale, complex anatomical information integrates at the tissue- and organ-level to affect global cardiac function in both the initiation/maintenance of arrhythmias as well as understanding the biophysical response of cardiac tissue to strong electrical defibrillation-strength shocks.
More recently, I have become interested in transferring these techniques to address more direct clinically-relevant issues, consequently with an increasing focus on human hearts in a state of disease. Speficially, I wish to investigate how both the mechanisms of arrhythmia initiation/maintenance, as well termination through bioelectric therapy (ICD and low-voltage therapies), interact with the structural and electrophysiological heterogenities introduced through diseases such as regions of infarction. To achieve this, I hope to working increasingly closely with clinicians and clinical data, which I plan to combine with a basic science approach using modelling and animal data, to both understand better the fundamential biophysical processes at play, as well as potentially optimising patient treatment stratergies within the clinic.