microscope image of muscle tissue

Bioelectric Engineering

Research in Bioelectric Engineering at Duke spans a range of length scales from the ion-channel to the organ level. One of the main areas of focus is the development of realistic mathematical and computer models of cardiac muscle.

One of the strengths of Bioelectric Engineering research at Duke is the close relationship between modelers and experimentalists. In vitro experimental work uses micropatterning of cardiac cells and optical mapping of membrane potentials to study the normal and abnormal electrical function of synthetic heart tissues.

Animal experimental work uses high-density electrical mapping to examine the effect of interventional therapies (e.g., catheter ablation and automatic implantable cardioverter/defibrillator implantation) upon electrical activity of the heart. Experimental and simulation studies are being conducted to elucidate the electrophysiological processes underlying arrhythmias and arrhythmia control.

Duke BME researchers also collaborate with faculty from Duke's Math and Physics Departments in using methods of nonlinear dynamics to characterize and control electrical activity of the heart.

Primary Faculty

Roger C. Barr

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Bioelectricity and biomedical computing.

Nenad Bursac

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Embryonic and adult stem cell therapies for heart and muscle disease; cardiac and skeletal muscle tissue engineering; cardiac electrophysiology and arrhythmias; genetic modifications of stem and somatic cells; micropatterning of proteins and hydrogels.

Yiyang Gong

Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Recording and understanding brain activity by developing novel combinations of optical microscopy and genetically encoded sensors. Using these technologies, we wish to dissect neural circuit function and investigate how neural activity drives complex behaviors.

Warren M. Grill

Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Neural engineering and neural prostheses and include design and testing of electrodes and stimulation techniques, the electrical properties of tissues and cells, and computational neuroscience with applications in restoration of bladder function, treatment of movement disorders…

Marc A. Sommer

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Neuronal circuits of the brain, including recording from single neurons and studying the effects of inactivating or stimulating well-defined brain areas. His goals are to understand how individual areas process signals and how multiple areas interact to cause cognition and…

Michael Raphael Tadross

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Our goal is to bridge the gap between the study of brain as a computational device and the search for novel neuropathological treatments. We develop technologies to manipulate molecules, cells, and synapses in the brain, and deploy these reagents in mouse models of disease.

Jonathan Viventi

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Using flexible electronics to create new technology for interfacing with the brain at high resolution over large areas. These new tools can help diagnose and treat neurological disorders such as epilepsy, and help improve the performance of brain machine interfaces.

Patrick D. Wolf

Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Research Interests: Advanced instrumentation for diagnosis and treatment of electrophysiological problems. This research covers two primary organ systems: the heart and the brain. In the heart, Dr. Wolf is developing an image guided ablation system for treatment of arrhythmias. In the brain, he is…

Secondary Faculty

Angel V Peterchev

Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Faculty Emeritus

Wanda Krassowska Neu

Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Engineering

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