JHU Biomedical Engineering Primary Faculty
Leslie Tung, Ph.D.
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Director, Undergraduate Program
Cardiac Bioelectric Systems Laboratory
B.S., M.S., Electrical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1972
Ph.D., Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1978
Engineering the Heart in a Dish
Our research involves the study of functional properties of engineered networks of living cardiac cells at
varying structural levels that include single cells, cell strands, 2D sheets, and 3D tissue. We culture
neonatal rat ventricular cells and use microfabrication techniques to direct the growth of the cells into
individual cell shapes or into geometrically patterned multicellular networks. To visualize the spatial
propagation of excitatory wave fronts in the cells over relatively large distances, we developed a method
called "contact fluorescence imaging" that can optically map the electrical activity of cell monolayers
stained with a voltage-sensitive dye.
With these tools, we have developed a simple and controlled, cultured cell model suitable for the study of
a major form of aberrant propagation called reentry. Reentry underlies many cardiac arrhythmias, including
life-threatening ventricular fibrillation and milder forms of tachycardia or flutter in the atria, ventricles, and
atrioventricular node. We use theoretical and computational models to complement our experimental work
and to assist in the interpretation of the maps of electrical activity.
We are also investigating the electrophysiological responses of our cell networks to electrical stimulation
in the context of electrical cardioversion and defibrillation. Other interests in the lab include the synthesis
and characterization of 3-D constructs of cardiac tissue and the use of genetic approaches to alter the
electrophysiological characteristics of cardiac cells.
Entcheva, E., Lu, S. N., Harrison, R. L., Sharma, V. and Tung, L. Contact fluorescence imaging (CFI) of
reentry in monolayers of cultured neonatal rat ventricular cells. J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 11:665-676, 2000.
Tung, L. and Kleber, A. G. Virtual sources associated with linear and curved strands of cardiac cells. Am J
Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 279:H1579-H1590, 2000.
Sharma, V. and Tung, L. A theoretical and experimental study of sawtooth effect in isolated cardiac cell-pairs.
J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol12:1164-73, 2001.
Sharma, V. and Tung, L. Effects of uniform electric fields on intracellular calcium transients in single cardiac
cells. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 282(1):H72-H79, 2002.
From Pub Med | From Google Scholar
< Back to Primary Faculty page.