Congratulations to University High School student Kevin Lee from Ivine on winning 2nd Place at the national 2014 Intel Science Talent Search (STS) competition for his project entitled "Electromechanical modeling of the heart in moving domains using the phase-field method." Kevin was mentored by UCI professor John Lowengrub (CCBS/Math/BME/ChEMS). He will receive a $75,000 scholarship.
Kevin's project focuses on the development of a new theory of the heartbeat through a system of partial differential equations. Cardiac arrhythmias are the leading cause of death in the industrialized world but are not well-understood due to difficulties in linking the physical beating motion of the heart with the propagation of electric signals, and vice versa.
This work successfully couples the mechanical and electrical dynamics and develops an algorithm that enables much more efficient simulations of the heartbeat than those in use today. The added insights from the model promise to improve our understanding of fatal heart conditions and ultimately aid in their treatment and prevention.