Engineering Cellular Level Tools to Measure and Control Cardiac Physiology During Normal and Pathologic Conditions Open Access
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Despite decades of extensive research, heart-related diseases remain a major global burden, taking countless life every year and decreasing the quality of life of many more. Animal models have been essential in cardiovascular research but significant differences among species and inherent limitations related to study preparations have hampered the effective translation from basic science to clinical practice needed for the development of improved therapies that restore proper cardiac function. This dissertation seeks to develop and improve current techniques to adequately measure key components of cardiac physiology and pathophysiology that will ultimately lead the way to reduce the gap between animal models and humans. We present, a new kind of detachable microelectrodes for action potential recordings from cells within fully contracting hearts without the need of any constraints, an improved non-destructive and reproducible optical technique to measure the metabolic activity within the myocardium of perfused hearts and an optogenetic approach for selectively activating and modulating intrinsic parasympathetic and sympathetic pathways recapitulating true autonomic tone response.