Åshild Telle defended her thesis

Åshild Telle defended her PhD thesis "Modeling cardiac mechanics on a microscale; Mechanical modeling and analysis of cardiomyocytes and cardiac micromuscles" on Tuesday, 22 November. The defence took place in the Hans Petter Langtangen Lecture Hall at Simula Research Laboratory and on Zoom at 13:15.

Main research findings

The thesis focuses on investigating cardiac mechanics on a microscale. We consider mechanical processes applicable when zooming in from the heart to a scale where the individual cells are visible – and not so much zoomed in that we go inside a single cell.

The first part focuses on the development of a new computational mechanical model for cardiac tissue. We here consider cardiomyocytes surrounded by an extracellular matrix. Mechanical single-cell models exist – but none take into account the extracellular matrix nor the interaction between multiple cells. In our work, we extend the scope from single to over 100 cells. We also show that matrix stiffness has a massive impact on cardiac stresses under contraction, which might further be used to understand how small changes to the matrix induced by diseases affect the overall cardiac function.

The last part is performed in collaboration with experimentalists and demonstrates how image analysis and computational models can be used to assess the mechanics of cardiac microtissues developed in microphysiological systems. Microphysiological systems might, in particular, be used in drug development studies. The metrics utilized in our papers might be helpful for assessing changes in cardiac contractility for these purposes.

Public defence

Prior to the defence, at 11:15, Åshild presented her trial lecture "Multiscale models of the heart: perspectives and challenges," also in the HPL Lecture Hall.

Zoom link: https://simula.zoom.us/j/64401600235?pwd=M2VGN080cXNnQjk1K3dWYVZIMnc3UT09

Adjudication committee

  • Professor Rodrigo Weber dos Santos, Federal University of Juiz de Fora, ICE – Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Brazil
  • Professor Paola F. Antonietti, Politecnico di Milano, MOX – Laboratory for modeling and scientific computing, Italy
  • ​Professor Are Magnus Bruaset, Simula Research Laboratory and University of Oslo, Department of Informatics, Norway


  • Professor Aslak Tveito, Simula Research Laboratory
  • Chief Research Scientist Samuel T. Wall, Simula Research Laboratory
  • Professor Kevin E. Healy, University of California, Berkeley
  • Henrik Finsberg - Senior Research Engineer, Simula Research Laboratory
  • Molly Maleckar - Research Professor, Simula Research Laboratory

Read more at the UiO Department of Informatics web page.