Research Effort Focuses on Heart Disease

Posted: February 2, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Daniel Walsch

Saleet Jafri, professor of bioinformatics and computational biology in the School of Computational Sciences, has been awarded a $2 million research grant to develop new computational methods for studying the discrete stochastic or probable events that combine to give rise to the cellular behavior doctors see in cardiac muscle cells in normal and defective contraction during heart failure.

Saleet Jafri
Saleet Jafri
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The research project is a collaborative effort with professors Greg Smith of the College of William and Mary and Eric Sobie of the New York University Medical School. Their project is titled “Ensemble Density Analysis for Stochastic Models of Cardiac Excitation-Contraction Coupling.”

The four-year grant was issued as part of the National Science Foundation’s divisions of mathematical science and biology and the National Institutes of Health’s Institute of Medical Sciences Joint Initiative in Mathematical Biology.

“We greatly appreciate the support of the National Science Foundation, particularly as we view our research as having the potential to make a significant contribution to efforts to better understand the dynamics of heart disease,” says Jafri.

According to Jafri, the heart progresses through a number of stages during the course of a disease. His role in this effort is to create computer-generated models that replicate how the heart or cardiac cells change during the various stages of deterioration.

The research meshes with the current focus of Mason’s Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Program on the generation and analysis of biological databases and the development of computational models of biological systems.

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