Viviane Timmermann successfully defended her PhD
Viviane Timmermann

Viviane Timmermann successfully defended her PhD


On Friday, June 14th, Viviane Timmermann successfully defend her PhD thesis "A Computational Study of Mechano-Electric Feedback Mechanisms". The defense took place at Simulas premises at Fornebu.

Investigations by Simula Research Laboratory, in collaboration with University California San Diego, have revealed new insights into how the changes in heart wall mechanics that occur in heart diseases may trigger life-threatening electrical conduction disorders. The investigators used novel computer simulations to identify these new mechanisms, which may aid in the discovery of new drugs that could reduce the risk of sudden death in patients with heart disease.

While the presences of feedback from the mechanics of the heart to its electrical properties have been known for a long time, most studies have concentrated on one specific mechanism known as stretch-activated channels. However, clinically, it is known that disruption of cardiac muscle cell calcium dynamics is frequently associated with heart disease. The studies performed in this dissertation focused used simulations that spanned from the molecular to multi-cellular scales to show how mechanical alterations can trigger pathological cardiac electrical rhythms.

The thesis is written within the field of Computational Physiology. The work has been conducted at Simula Research Laboratory, University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and University of Oslo (UiO).

The researchwas funded by the SUURPh program, an international collaboration in computational biology and medicine funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.

Prior to the defense, at 10:15, Viviane Timmermann presented her trial lecture "Machine learning and cardiac modeling".

The adjudication committee

  • Professor Ursula Ravens, Institute for Experimental Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Freiburg, Germany
  • Dr. Jack Lee, Department of Biomedical Engineering, King’s College London, UK
  • Professor Xing Cai, Department of Informatics, University of Oslo, Norway

Chair of the disputation

  • Head of Department Ellen Munthe-Kaas, Department for Informatics,University of Oslo, Norway


  • Associate Professor Joakim Sundnes, Simula Research Laboratory / Department of Informatics, University of Oslo, Norway
  • Head of Department Samuel Wall, Simula Research Laboratory, Norway
  • Dr. Andrew D. McCulloch, University of California, San Diego, USA
  • Dr. John Jeremy Rice (1965-2018), IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, USA
  • Senior Researcher Andy Edwards, Simula Research Laboratory, Norway

Read more

Announcement of the PhD defense at the University of Oslo's web pages.