Natalia Trayanova

Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medicine at Johns Hopkins University


Lecture: Blending Engineering and Medicine

Simulation-driven engineering has put rockets in space, and airplanes in the sky. We trust engineering advances with our lives, however, when it comes to our own health, things are quite different. Computer simulations are rarely used in medicine. Our vision is to change this – we aim to bring computer simulations to the clinic, to make precise decisions for treatments for heart disease. We believe implementing an engineering data-driven simulation approach will increase the efficacy of diagnostic and clinical procedures for heart rhythm disorders and democratize the delivery of cardiac healthcare. The Computational Cardiology lab at Johns Hopkins University uses predictive computer simulations to generate personalized virtual hearts of patients that have life-threatening arrhythmias. These first-of-their-kind virtual hearts are now being used in the clinic to assess patient risk of sudden cardiac death and to guide personalized anti-arrhythmia interventions. We hope our virtual hearts will become a routine tool in the clinic, improving patient outcomes, which would be an unprecedented merging of computational simulation and clinical medicine. 




Short biography

Dr. Natalia Trayanova is the Murray B. Sachs Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. She also directs the Alliance for Cardiovascular Diagnostic and Treatment Innovation (ADVANCE), a multidisciplinary institute at Johns Hopkins University. The focus of Prof. Trayanova’s research is on computational cardiac electrophysiology and cardiology, with emphasis on cardiac arrhythmias and pumping dysfunction, and on novel anti-arrhythmia therapeutic methodologies. Her translational research has laid the foundation for novel technological developments, enabling the construction of clinical-imaging -based models of human hearts that realistically represent the functioning of the diseased organ. Using a personalized simulation approach, Prof. Trayanova has developed new methods for predicting risk of cardiac arrest and improving the accuracy of atrial and ventricular catheter ablation therapies. Through her first-of-their-kind personalized virtual hearts, she is pioneering advances in personalized medicine for patients with cardiovascular disease, which promise to profoundly influence clinical decision-making and the delivery of patient care.

Together with her team, Prof. Trayanova has published over 340 scientific papers, currently with over 15000 citations.  She has also given over 280 invited talks, keynotes, and plenary lectures. Prof. Trayanova has received numerous honors and recognitions. For her groundbreaking work in computational cardiology, in 2013, she received the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award. Trayanova is a Fellow of American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society, a Fellow of the American Heart Association, a Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society, and a Fellow of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering.  Her work has received widespread media coverage. She has been featured on Reddit AMA r/science, has given a TEDx talk, has been interviewed by the BBC, NPR, the Economist, and has been on the Amazing Things Podcast. Her work has been featured by a number of outlets, such as NBC News, Baltimore Sun, Slate, Huffington Post, and others. Her collaborative work was recently featured in the New York Times. She is on the editorial board of a number of scientific journals.