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Statistical & Bio Seminar
Mechanical synchronization of beating within and between cardiomyocytes
Prof. Samuel Safran
28/05/2017, 14:30 - 15:30
Yariv Kafri


We present theoretical models and predictions of how mechanics due to elastic interactions in actively beating heart cells can lead to synchronization of beating both within a single cells and between nearby cells and show theoretically how the experimentally measured substrate rigidity dependence of the cell structure can be mapped onto measurements of the beating strain [1, 2].  This suggests that the correlated beating of heart cells may be limited by the structural registry of the myofibrils which in turn is regulated by their elastic environment.

Recent experiments [3] on synchronization of beating of two nearby cardiomyocytes have shown that a mechanical probe can “pace” a beating cell to within about twice or a quarter of its natural beating frequency.  This is indicative of how nearby cardiomyocytes embedded can regulate their mutual beating.  We focus theoretically [4] on the synchronization of two nearby cardiomyocyte cells or a cell and a mechanical probe and show that based on elastic interactions alone, two nearby cells can synchronize their phase and frequency in a manner that depends on their mutual orientation. Using non-linear dynamics approaches, the theory predicts the persistence time of cells whose beating is either spontaneous or entrained by a mechanical probe


[1] S. Majkut et al., Current Biology, 23, 2323 (2013).

[2] K. Dasbiswas, et al., Nature Comm., 6, 7085 (2015).

[3] I. Nitsan et al., Nature Physics, 12, 472 (2016).

[4] O. Cohen and S. A. Safran, Soft Matter, 12, 6088 (2016) and to be published.

Collaborations: Theory – Kinjal Dasbiswas, Ohad Cohen (Weizmann Institute of Science); 


Experiment – Dennis Discher, Stephanie Majkut (Penn); Shelly Tzlil (Technion)

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