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A Model of the Drosphila Heart

The heart of Drosophila melanogaster is a tubular organ that contains two types of excitable cells which work together to pump hemolymph through the body. At the cellular level, specific ion channels involved in the heartbeat of Drosophila have been identified and studied using genetic mutations and pharmacological agents. In this work the Drosophila heart is modeled as a network of excitable cells in order to explore the biophysical mechanisms underlying the generation of the heartbeat. The model cells are arranged in a tubular shape to form a network connected by gap junctions. Pacemaker cells with an intrinsic rhythm are added at one end of the network model and generate a wave of contraction down the heart. Using the model, channel kinetics are manipulated to explore the effects of different channels on Drosophila heartbeat. Model results are compared to experimental data.

  • Poster session award recipient at the 2007 National SACNAS Convention in Kansas City, MO

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Odalys Colon-Rentas, Arizona State University
Irina Kareva, University of Maryland
Pamela Reitsma, University of Maine
Genevieve Toutain, Arizona State University
Sharon Cook, Arizona State University