Wanda K. Neu


Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Engineering

Electroporation-Mediated Drug and Gene Delivery
Electroporation refers to the creation of small (1-40 nm) pores in the lipid bilayer of the membrane in response to large electric shocks. Electroporation occurs as an undesirable side effect in accidental contacts with high voltage wires or when defibrillation shocks are applied to the heart to prevent sudden cardiac death. However, electroporation has also important applications in biotechnology, as pores allow the introduction of drugs and DNA into cells. Still, this technique is largely empirical and the results are often variable and difficult to control. Our research in this area concentrates on the development of a model of electroporation that would allow theoretical investigation of the creation of pores during the shock, the flow of ions, drugs, and DNA through pores, and the resulting changes in intracellular concentrations.

Nonlinear Dynamics Approach to Cardiac Arrhythmias
Cardiac arrhythmias, serious and potentially fatal diseases, can only rarely be successfully controlled with medication. The only available treatment is defibrillation, the delivery of a large electric shock. Such shocks often have serious side effects. Our research investigates the feasibility of alternative treatments for cardiac tachyarrhythmias that instead of large shocks use an appropriately timed train of small pulses. The approach is based on the feedback protocols that have been developed to control the dynamics of complex nonlinear systems and involves animal experiments, mathematical modeling, and computer simulations. These studies allow us to gain a better insight into the dynamics of cardiac rhythm and to assess the feasibility of bringing an episode of arrhythmia under control, terminate it, or even inhibit its occurrence.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Engineering
  • Bass Fellow

Contact Information

  • Office Location: Room 1427, Fitzpatrick Center (Fciemas), 101 Science Drive, Durham, NC 27708-0281
  • Office Phone: (919) 660-5131
  • Email Address: wanda.neu@duke.edu


  • Ph.D. Duke University, 1987
  • M.S. Warsaw University of Technology (Poland), 1978

Research Interests

Electroporation-mediated drug delivery and gene therapy; Control of cardiac arrhythmias using nonlinear dynamics

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Klein Family Distinguished Teaching Award. Pratt School of Engineering. 2019
  • Bass Society Fellow. Duke University. 2013
  • Springer Visiting Professor in Mechanical Engineering. University of California at Berkeley. 2009
  • Klein Family Distinguished Teaching Award. Pratt School of Engineering. 2008

Courses Taught

  • BME 513: Introduction to Neurodynamics (GE, EL)
  • BME 671L: Signal Processing and Applied Mathematics

Representative Publications

  • Neu, WK, Analytical solution for time-dependent potentials in a fiber stimulated by an external electrode., Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing, vol 54 no. 11 (2016), pp. 1719-1725 [10.1007/s11517-016-1459-z] [abs].
  • Idriss, SF; Krassowska Neu, W; Varadarajan, V; Antonijevic, T; Gilani, SS; Starobin, JM, Feasibility of non-invasive determination of the stability of propagation reserve in patients, Computing in Cardiology, vol 39 (2012), pp. 353-356 [abs].
  • Cranford, JP; Kim, BJ; Neu, WK, Asymptotic model of electrical stimulation of nerve fibers., Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing, vol 50 no. 3 (2012), pp. 243-251 [10.1007/s11517-012-0870-3] [abs].
  • Neu, WK; Neu, JC, Theory of electroporation (2009), pp. 133-161 [10.1007/978-0-387-79403-7_7] [abs].
  • Dobrovolny, HM; Berger, CM; Brown, NH; Neu, WK; Gauthier, DJ, Spatial heterogeneity of restitution properties and the onset of alternans., Conference Proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the Ieee Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Ieee Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Annual Conference (2009), pp. 4186-4189 [abs].