Join Patrick Schönleitner, PhD and Francisco Altamirano, PhD as they share their work involving simultaneous measurements of intracellular calcium, membrane voltage, and contractility of cardiomyocytes.

The heart’s electrical activity coordinates the contraction of the heart chambers to pump blood to other organs and sustain life. The movement of ions (charged atoms) through ion channels promotes voltage changes across the cardiomyocyte plasma membrane, known as action potentials. The arrival of an action potential depolarizes the plasma membrane and activates Ca2+ influx via L-type Ca2+ channels. Ca2+ then activates Ryanodine Receptors to release further Ca2+ into the cytosol and stimulate contraction. Both duration and shape of the cardiac action potential regulate Ca2+ fluxes and contractility in cardiomyocytes.

Cardiac excitation-contraction coupling is the process used to describe the progression from membrane depolarization to calcium influx and intracellular release to myocyte contraction. In the heart, these processes are tightly intertwined, and crucial information can be missed when recording them individually. Recent technological advances enable the simultaneous multi-parametric measurement of membrane voltage, intracellular calcium, and contractility to reliably capture the complex excitation-contraction cascade in great detail.

During the first half of this webinar, Patrick will focus on the theoretical background and address technical considerations and methodological limitations researchers need to consider to successfully run multi-parametric experiments and analyze the resulting data. Francisco will then discuss how action potentials regulate Ca2+ fluxes to regulate cardiomyocyte contractile function. In addition, he will discuss the advantages/limitations of mouse models and human inducible pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes to determine molecular mechanisms driving alterations in action potentials and Ca2+ handling.

Key Topics Include:

  • From A to Z: How to perform simultaneous multi-parametric epifluorescence and contractility measurements in primary myocytes and hiPSC-CMs
  • The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Opportunities, pitfalls, and limitation of simultaneous membrane potential and calcium measurements
  • Summarize differences between mouse and human cardiac action potentials
  • Identify pros and cons of hiPSC- derived cardiomyocytes to study cardiac action potentials and calcium handling


Research Scientist
Research & Development

Dr. Schönleitner received his doctoral degree in Cardiovascular Physiology from Maastricht University specializing in subcellular calcium handling in atrial fibrillation. Currently, as a Research Scientist at IonOptix, he is involved in system and assay development to help scientists uncover novel pathways in cardiac physiology and disease.

Assistant Professor
Cardiovascular Sciences
Houston Methodist Research Institute

Dr. Altamirano is an assistant professor in the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at Houston Methodist Research Institute. His lab studies the role of polycystin-1 in cardiac disease.

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