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BME Seminar Series: Dr. Seth Weinberg, Virginia Commonwealth University

Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering
Thursday, March 8, 2018, 10:00 am

105 Biomedical Research Tower


"Between two cells: the critical role of intercellular sodium nanodomain signaling in cardiac tissue"

Conventional dogma states that electrical communication between cardiac cells is primarily governed by gap junctional proteins. In this talk, I will discuss our recent computational studies predicting the formation of sodium nanodomains in the intercellular space between cells, mediated by voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channels, and the role of these nanodomains in maintaining healthy and normal electrical activity in patients with disease-associated mutations. In particular, I will present simulations of electrical activity in long QT type 3 (LQT3) syndrome, a disorder associated with a gain-of-function mutation in Nav channels that can lead to arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. LQT3 is often a concealed disease, for which patients do not display irregular electrical rhythms, despite having the arrhythmia-associated mutation. Our work presents a novel hypothesis that intercellular sodium nanodomain signaling can regulate the phenotypic appearance of arrhythmias in LQT3 patients and in potentially other cardiac diseases.


Dr. Seth Weinberg is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University. He received a B.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University in 2006 and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University in 2012.  From 2012 to 2014, Dr. Weinberg was the Biomathematics Initiative post-doctoral fellow at the College of William & Mary, and from 2014-2016, he was a Research Assistant Professor at the Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center (VMASC) at Old Dominion University.  His research is on the development of multiscale modeling of physiological systems, with a focus on cardiac electrophysiology, multi-cellular signaling, and mechanobiology. Dr. Weinberg is an author on over 30 peer-reviewed articles, review papers, and book chapters, and he is a PI on two recently awarded R01 grants from the National Institutes of Health.