Márcia Vagos successfully defended her PhD
Márcia Vagos successfully defended her PhD

Márcia Vagos successfully defended her PhD


On September 4th, Márcia Raquel da Silva e Sousa Vagos successfully defended her PhD thesis "A computational study of Atrial Fibrillation mechanisms at the cardiomyocyte level".


Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia in humans, affecting between 1 and 2% of the population worldwide, and posing a significant health burden to society. Although not fatal in itself, it can lead to potentially deadly conditions, such as stroke, and congestive heart failure. It is therefore important to better understand this condition.

Atrial Fibrillation develops as a result of physiological changes at cellular and tissue levels. Studying cellular alterations allows us to explore disease mechanisms, and to discover novel targets for drug-based treatments.

Computational modelling of cardiac electrophysiology is a well-established methodology for the systematic study of cardiac diseases. In this thesis, I used computational models of atrial cells to shed light on the role of calcium-driven mechanisms on Atrial Fibrillation. The results showed that disruptions in intracellular calcium regulation have a major impact on the behaviour of atrial cells, leading to the development of the arrhythmic or abnormal electrical activity. The thesis also showed that incorporating biological variability into cellular characteristics, instead of considering only a single representative atrial cell, results in a variety of different behaviours under diseased conditions. This highlights the importance of considering variability in computational modelling studies to produce more robust results and predictions.

Before the defence, Márcia Vagos presentedher trial lecture"In silico assessment of drug cardiac safety and efficacy: state of the art and interaction with the in vitro world".

The PhD defence and trial lecturewere fully digital.

Marcia Vagos with two of her supervisors, Associate Professor Joakim Sundnes (right) and Senior Research Scientist Hermeneglid Arevalo (Photo: Simula)

Adjudication committee

  • Associate Professor Esther Pueyo,University of Zaragoza, Spain
  • Adjunct Professor Michelangelo Paci,Tampere University, Finland
  • Associate Professor Geir Kjetil Sandve,Department of Informatics, University of Oslo


  • Associate Professor Joakim Sundnes,Department of Informatics, UiO
  • Senior Researcher Mary Maleckar,Simula Research Laboratory
  • Senior Research Scientist Hermeneglid Arevalo,Simula Research Laboratory

Chair of defence

  • Associate Professor Petter Nielsen, Department of Informatics, UiO