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Blanca Rodriguez

Personal photo - Blanca Rodriguez

Professor Blanca Rodriguez

Professor of Computational Medicine
Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow in Basic Biomedical Sciences

E: blanca@cs.ox.ac.uk
T: +44 1865 610806

Interests

My research interest is in the investigation of causes and modulators of variability in the response of the heart to disease and therapies. We develop advanced computational modelling and simulation to expand and augment the information extracted from experimental and clinical methods used in cardiac electrophysiology. Our research is based on very close interactions with experimental and clinical electrophysiologists and pharmacologists in academia, hospitals and industry. I am a Wellcome Trust Fellow in Basic Biomedical Science and Professor of Computationl Medicine in the Department of Computer Science of the University of Oxford. I am a member of the Board of the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research, and of the e-cardiology Nucleus Group of the European Society of Cardiology. I also act as Associate Editor of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and a member of the Editorial Board of the open access journal PLoS ONE.

A link to my Google Scholar page with a list of my publications can be found here

The Computational Cardiovascular Science Team website includes more details on our team and our research. We are part of the British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence and we are currently funded by the Wellcome Trust, the NC3Rs, the European Comission, the British Heart Foundation, EPSRC and the Royal Society. Previously, I received substancial support from the Medical Research Council (Career Development Award, Industry Partnership Award and MRC Centenary Award). I provide expert advice on in silico methods for toxicology and pharmacology assessment to industry and organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing.

Understanding variability in cardiac response to disease, drugs or mutations is key to determine who, when and how cardiac patients may be at risk, and how to improve their diagnosis and treatment. The mechanisms underlying cardiac electromechanical activity are complex, multiscale and non-linear, involving numerous multiscale feedback loops from the gene to the whole body level. Computational modelling and simulation integrated with experimental and clinical research can help overcoming the challenges involved in dissecting the key mechanisms underlying potentially lethal abnormalities in cardiac activity, such as cardiac arrhythmias.  

TEAM MEMBERS (www.cs.ox.ac.uk/ccs/people)

  • Dr Alfonso Bueno-Orovio (2010- ; )
  • Dr Ana Minchole (2011- ; )
  • Dr Oliver Britton (2011- )
  • Dr Elisa Passini (2013 - )
  • Dr Xin Zhou (2012- )
  • Dr Francesc Levrero (2016-)
  • Dr Linford Briant (2017- )
  • Patricia Benito (2013- )
  • Louie Cardone-Noott (2012-2017)
  • Anna Muszkiewicz (2013-2017)
  • Aurore Lyon (2014-2017)
  • Jakub Tomek (2015-2018)
  • Hector Martinez (2015-2018)
  • Polina Mamoshina (2016-2019)
  • Peter Marinov (2016-2019)
  • Adam McCarthy (2016-2019)
  • Cristian Trovato (2016-2019)

PA: Karen Barnes, karen.barnes@cs.ox.ac.uk

COLLABORATORS:

  • Prof Andras Varro, Dr Laszlo Virag, Dr Norbert Jost at the University of Szeged (experimental human cardiac electrophysiology);
  • Prof Godfrey Smith, University of Glasgow and Clyde Biosciences (human stem cell derived cardiomyocytes);
  • Dr Michelangelo Paci and Prof Jari Hyttinen, Tampere University (computed modelling)
  • Prof Igor Efimov at the University of Washington in St Louis (experimental human and rabbit cardiac electrophysiology);
  • Prof Peter Taggart, Dr Ben Hanson, Dr Pier Lambiase at the Heart Hospital and University College London (clinical cardiac electrophysiology);
  • Dr Stefano Severi, University of Bologna, Italy;
  • Prof Barbara Casadei, Dr Erica Dall' Armelina, Dr Rina Ariga and Prof Hugh Watkins, Prof Stefan Neubauer at the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital (cardiac electrophysiology, cardiac magnetic resonance MRI);
  • Prof Ursula Ravens, University of Dresden (human atrial pharmacology)
  • Dr Esther Pueyo and Prof Pablo Laguna at the University of Zaragoza (signal processing of the electrocardiogram);
  • Prof David Abramson at University of Queensland (NIMROD, software for sensitivity analysis);
  • Prof Peter Coveney at University College London (High Performance Computing);
  • Dr Annamaria Carusi at the University of Copenhagen (philosophy of science and technology in medicine);
  • Pharmaceutical companies Janssen Pharmaceutica, AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline. 
  • Dr Vicente Grau (image analysis), Prof Kevin Burrage, Dr David Kay (computational mathematics, numerical methods, scientific computing) at the University of Oxford. 
  • Dr Mariano Vazquez, Barcelona Supercomputing Centre (High Performance computing). 
  • Dr Michelangelo Paci, Prof Jari Hyttinen Tampere University, Finland (modelling of stem cell derived cardiomyocytes). 
  • Dr Najah Abi-Gerges, AnaBios Corporation.
  • Dr David Strauss, Dr Sara Dutta, USA FDA. 
  • Dr Hua-Rong Lu, Dr David Gallacher, Janssen Pharmaceuticals. 

 

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS 

  1. Reilly SN, Liu X, Carnicer R, Recalde A, Muszkiewicz A, Jayaram R, Carena MC, Stefanini M, Surdo NC, Wijesurenda R, Lomas O, Ratnatunga C, Sayeed R, Krasopoulos G, Rajakumar T, Bueno-Orovio A, Verheule S, Fulga TA, Rodriguez B, Schotten U, Casadei B. Atrial-specific upregulation of miR-31 in human atrial fibrillation begets the arrhythmia by depleting dystrophin and neuronal nitric oxide synthase.   Science Translation Medicine, 8(340), 340ra74.
  2. Dutta S, Minchole A, Zacur E, Quinn TA, Taggart P, Rodriguez B. Early afterdepolarizations promote transmural reentry in ischemic human ventricles with reduced repolarization reserve. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, 120(1-3):236-48, 2016. 
  3. Zhou X, Bueno-Orovio A, Orini M, Hanson B, Hayward M, Taggart P, Lambiase PD, Burrage K, Rodriguez B. In vivo and in silico investigation into mechanisms of frequency dependence of repolarization alternans in human ventricular cardiomyocytes. Circulation Research, 118:266-278, 2016.
  4. Paci M, Hyttinen J, Rodriguez B*, Severi S*. Human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived versus adult cardiomyocytes: an in silico electrophysiological study on ionic current block effects. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2015, 172: 5147-5160. * Joint senior authors.
  5. Britton O, Bueno-Orovio A, Van Ammel K, Lu HR, Towart R, Gallacher D, Rodriguez B. Experimentally-calibrated population of models predicts and explains inter-subject variability in cardiac cellular electrophysiology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 110(23):E2098-E2105,  2013. (2014 NC3R Prize)
  6. Walmsley J Rodriguez JF, Mirams GR, Burrage K, Efimov IR, Rodriguez B. mRNA expression levels in failing human hearts predict cellular electrophysiological remodelling: A population-based simulation study. PLoS ONE 8(2): e56359. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056359, 2013.
  7. Zemzemi N, Bernabeu M, Saiz J, Mirams G, Cooper J, Pitt-Francis J, Rodriguez B. Computational assessment of drug-induced effects on the electrocardiogram: from ion channel to body surface potentials. British Journal of Pharmacology, 168: 718–733, 2013.
  8. Pueyo E, Corrias A, Virag L, Jost N, Szel T, Varro A, Szentandrássy N, Nánási PP, Burrage K, Rodriguez B. A multi-scale investigation of repolarization variability and its role in cardiac arrhythmogenesis.  Biophys J, 101(12):2892-902, 2011.
  9. Romero L, Pueyo E, Fink M, Rodriguez B. Impact of biological variability on human ventricular cellular electrophysiology. Am J Physiol Heart Circ, 297: H1436–H1445, 2009.
  10. Bishop M, Rodríguez B, Eason J, Whiteley J, Trayanova N, Gavaghan D. Synthesis of voltage-sensitive optical signals: Application to panoramic optical mapping. Biophys J, 90(8):2938-2945, 2006.
  11. Rodríguez B, Li L, Eason J, Efimov IR, Trayanova N. Differences between LV and RV chamber geometry affect cardiac vulnerability to electric shocks. Circ Res, 97:168-175, 2005. (Figure in Cover).

 

AWARDS:

  • NC3R Infrastructure for Impact Award (2016-2021).
  • Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship in Biomedical Sciences (2013-2018).
  • Archer Leadership project (2015-2017).
  • EPSRC Impact Acceleration Award (2013-2016)
  • Medical Research Council Centenary Award (2012-2013).
  • Medical Research Council Industrial Partnership Award (2012-2013).
  • Medical Research Council Career Development Award (2007-2013).
  • Wellcome Trust Career Development Research Fellowship (2007-2012)
  • BHF Intermediate Research Fellowship (2007-2011)
  • Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship (2007-2009)
  • Merit Award, Oxford University Computing Laboratory, 2005-2006 and 2008-2009.
  • First Prize, Young Investigators Award Competition, Heart Rhythm Society Scientific Sessions, San Francisco, USA, May 2004.

Students and Postdocs’ Awards

  • Anna Muszkiewicz, EPSRC Doctoral prize, 2016.
  • Aurore Lyon, Finalist, Young Investigator Award Competition, Computing in Cardiology, 2015. 
  • Elisa Passini, Poster and Travel Award, European Society of Cardiology, European Working Group in Cardiac Cellular Electrophysiology, 2015.
  • Oliver Britton, 2014 NC3R International Prize, 2015. 
  • Oliver Britton, EPSRC Doctoral Prize, 2014.
  • Oliver Britton, Finalist, UK ICT Pioneers Awards, 2014.
  • Anna Muszkiewicz, Honorary Mention, Young Investigator Award Competition, Computing in Cardiology, 2014. 
  • Xin Zhou, Microsoft Research Project Award, Systems Biology Doctoral Training Centre, Oxford, 2012. 
  • Nejib Zemzemi, Best Poster Award, Computing in Cardiology, Polland, 2012.
  • Ciara Dangerfield, EPSRC Doctoral Prize, 2012.
  •  Sara Dutta, Best Poster Award, Cardiovascular Network Symposium, Imperial College, 2011.
  •  Oliver Britton, Best Project Award, Systems Biology Doctoral Training Centre (DTC), Oxford, 2011. 
  •  Mikael Wallman, Second Prize, Student Competition, Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford, 2011.
  •  Miguel Bernabeu, Best Paper Presentation at Computers in Cardiology, Bologna, Italy, September 2008.
  •  Simon Li, Best Poster Award at the Life Sciences Interface Doctoral Training Center, Oxford, UK, January 2008.
  •  Rafel Bordas, Best Project Award at the Life Sciences Interface Doctoral Training Center, Oxford, UK, January 2008.
  •  Martin J. Bishop, First Prize in the Student Poster Competition at Gordon Conference on Cardiac Arrhythmia Mechanisms, Ventura, California, USA, March 2007.
  •  Martin J. Bishop, First Prize in the Student Paper Award Competition, International Conference of the IEEE EMBC, New York, USA, September 2006.

 

PAST MEMBERS

Former Postdocs:

  • Alex Quinn (2008-2012 -> Assistant professor, Dalhousie University)
  • Nejib Zemzemi (2010-2011 -> Tenure-track researcher at INRIA-Bordeaux, France)
  • Xiao Jie (2009-2010-> postdoctoral researcher at University College London, UK);
  • Alberto Corrias (2008-2010; -> Tenure-track lecturer at University of Singapore, Singapore);
  • Esther Pueyo (-> 2007-2008; Associate Professor at Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain);
  • Lucia Romero (2008-09-> Tenure-track lecturer at Universidad Politecnica de Valencia, Spain);
  • Philip Prior (2008-09; -> Medical Physicist, Medical College of Wisconsing, USA);

 Alumni:

  • Sara Dutta (2010-2014 --> USA Food and Drug Administration, USA)
  • Philip Gemmel (DPhil, 2009-2014 --> Clyde Biosciences, UK)
  • Carlos Sanchez (DPhil, 2009-2014 --> Postdoctoral Researcher, Center of Computational Medicine in Cardiology, Lugano, Switzerland)
  • John Walmsley (DPhil, 2009-2013 --> Postdoctoral Researcher, CARIM, Maastricht, Netherlands)
  • Mikael Wallman (DPhil, 2009-2013--> Research Scientist, FCC, Sweden)
  • Matt Gibb (DPhil, 2008-2013 --> Freelance/Own Buisiness)
  • Ciara Dangerfield (DPhil, 2009-2012 --> EPSRC Plus Prize at Oxford)
  • Rafel Bordas (DPhil, 2007-2011; --> postdoctoral researcher at Oxford Computational Biology Group); 
  •  Miguel Bernabeu (DPhil; 2007-2011 --> postdoctoral researcher at University College London);
  • Martin Bishop (DPhil; 2004-2008 --> Wellcome Trust postdoctoral fellowship; 2011- Lecturer at King College London);
  • Thushka Maharaj (DPhil; 2004-2007 -> Credit Suisse);
  • Thomas Brennan (DPhil; 2006-2009 -> postdoctoral researcher at Oxford Bioengineering). 
  • Ivan Cenci (Rotation, University of Bologna, 2009);
  • Chris Arthurs (short project, DTC, 2009 -> DPhil. Oxford Computational Biology Group);
  • Michal Plotkowiak (short project, DTC, 2008 -> DPhil. Oxford Computational Biology Group);
  • Simon Li (short project, DTC, 2006);
  • Dan Stokeley (short project, DTC, 2004 -> DPhil. Oxford Computational Biology Group);

Biography

Blanca was born in Valencia, Spain, where she attended the Lycee Francais de Valencia, and graduated as an Electronics Engineer from the Universidad Politecnica de Valencia, Spain, in 1997. She then started a PhD in the Integrated Laboratory of Bioengineering supervised by Prof. Chema Ferrero and at the same time became an Assistant Professor in Electronics and Biomedical Instrumentation at the Universidad Politecnica de Valencia. During her PhD studies, she investigated the causes of extracellular potassium accumulation during acute ischaemia using a mathematical model of single cell action potential. After graduating in 2001, she joined Prof. Natalia Trayanova's group at Tulane University in New Orleans (now at Johns Hopkins University), as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Her research focused on the mechanisms of cardiac vulnerability to electric shocks in normal and globally ischemic hearts. In 2004, she won the First Prize in the Young Investigator Award Competition in Basic Science of the Heart Rhythm Society. After spending two years in New Orleans, she joined Oxford University in August 2004, as a Senior Postdoctoral Fellow with Prof. David Gavaghan, funded by the Integrative Biology Project. From 2007 to 2013, Blanca Rodriguez held a Medical Research Council Career Development fellowship and she has also been awarded funding by European Comission, Royal Society, EPSRC, Wellcome Trust, BHF and Leverhulme Trust. She is currently a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow in Basic biomedical Science and Professor of Computational Medicine.

Roles

Selected Publications

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Activities

Current Students

Current Postdocs

Past Students

Past Postdocs