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T Alexander Quinn

Personal photo - T Alexander Quinn

Dr T Alexander Quinn

Visiting Academic

Leaving date: 31st August 2012


My main research interests are in the interaction of cardiac mechanics and electrophysiology. My aim is to build a world-leading group, using engineering-based experimental techniques in combination with computational modeling, to study the importance of mechano-electric mechanisms in cardiac disease, and explore methods for optimization of interventions to normalize their effects, with the ultimate goal of improving clinical therapy. For more details, please see my Homepage.


Originally interested in the Physical Sciences and Mathematics, as an undergraduate at McGill University I enrolled for a Joint Major programme in Physiology and Physics, where I became particularly fascinated by the powerful influence that mechanical effects can have on biological function. I applied this interest to the study of white blood cell adhesion, in the laboratory of Prof. Harry Goldsmith in the Department of Physiology at the Montreal General Hospital Research Institute, ultimately identifying an important role of bond loading rate. From this experience, I decided that the immerging field of Biomedical Engineering was where best to continue my development. I did my graduate work at Columbia University in New York, receiving my PhD in Biomedical Engineering with Prof. Jeffrey Holmes and the Cardiac Biomechanics Group, while working in the laboratory of Prof. Henry Spotnitz in the Department of Surgery. The bulk of this involved clinical and translational studies focused on cardiac mechanical function at the whole animal and patient levels. My main objective was to develop techniques for biventricular pacing to treat acute cardiac dysfunction, where we demonstrated that optimised pacing can improve cardiac function, both in animal models of acute dysfunction and in patients after heart surgery, which is further being investigated as part of an ongoing clinical trial (Biventricular Pacing After Cardiac Surgery, BiPACS). My current postdoctoral training involves more fundamental basic research studies of cardiac mechano-electric interaction in health and disease, taking a multi-scale, multi-modal approach, with direct iteration between experimentation and advanced computational modelling. I am working with Prof. Peter Kohl and the Cardiac Biophysics and Systems Biology Group in the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London and Dr. Blanca Rodriguez and the Computational Biology Group in the Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford. Thus far, we have shown that local mechanically-induced excitation is the initiator of electrophysiological responses with local deformation, which can result in deadly cardiac arrhythmias.

Selected Publications

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Past Students

Sara Dutta
Philip Gemmell