Bozhidar Borislavov Baltov


Thesis title: "Organ on a chip technology for cardiotox studies and drug development"

Thesis outline: Life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias pose a complex clinical danger for patients and are common side effects of established or novel therapies. Pro-arrhythmic effects of drugs are conventionally studied in standard 2D monolayer cultures of human induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CM).

The signal propagation in monolayers occurs, however, in many directions simultaneously which complicates proper estimation of the cell parameters and action potential propagation. To tackle this, we aim at optimising the experimental paradigm by growing heart cells in anisotropic fibres.

Growing hiPSC-CM is expected to enable more precise estimation of gap junction resistance within myocardial fibres and at the same time to reduce cell detachment.

A second aim is the development of methodological approaches for electrical and mechanical (contraction) recordings from 3D assembloids of heart muscle cells (cardioids). This technique should enable recordings of ECG-like signals that are not disturbed by contractions of the cardioids. During my project, I will work in tight collaboration with nanotechnologists, pharmacologists, and electrophysiologists.

Supervisor & Co-Mentor: Steffen Hering