Coupled mixed finite elements applied to cardiac electrophysiology

Develop computational models coupling the heart and the body using mixed finite elements in FEniCS.

The electrical activity in the heart can be modeled in terms of differential equations.
A collection of basic and optimized solvers for these equations coupled with cardiac cell models has been developed, based on the FEniCS project together with the package dolfin-adjoint.
These models assume that the heart is surrounded by a non-conductive material. If this might be a good approximation for some experimental settings, we are interested in considering the surrounding body in the simulations.

This induces a coupling between equations defined on different domains.
A framework dedicated to mixed-domains finite element is being developed within FEniCS, including features that are relevant in this context.


The goal of this project is to extend the existing computational cardiac electrophysiology framework with new models/solvers coupling the heart and the surrounding torso, based on these mixed-domains features.

Learning outcome

  • Experience in biophysical modeling and simulations
  • Experience with finite element methods and numerical methods
  • Experience with software development


  • Strong programming skills (Python)
  • Experience with Finite Element methods and/or FEniCS is preferable but not required
  • An interest in modeling biological systems


  • Joakim Sundnes
  • Cecile Daversin-Catty