Physiological Systems Dynamics Lab

The Physiological Systems Dynamics Laboratory, led by Daniel Beard(link is external) and Brian Carlson(link is external), studies the dynamics of physiological systems in health and disease. We use a combination of experiments and analysis with multi-scale computational models to study the function of the cardiovascular system: how the mechanics of the circulatory and respiratory systems are governed by neural and humoral mechanisms. Multi-scale models provide the means to simulate the integrated operation of metabolic pathways (e.g., oxidative ATP synthesis in the heart), cellular functions (e.g., cellular calcium handling and actin/myosin cross-bridge dynamics), whole-organ function (e.g., mechanics of cardiac pumping), and whole-body body cardiopulmonary function. Experiments are used to identify and validate models representing individual components: in vitro experiments using purified enzymes, purified mitochondria, isolated cells, etc., and in vivo experiments to observe how all these pieces work together. Models that integrate function across these multiple systems and scales are used to identify novel hypotheses for the molecular mechanisms of diseases, identify molecular targets to effect desired outcomes, and to help translate findings from animal models to the clinic.

Lab Members


Dan Beard's research focuses on cardiac energy metabolism, mechano-energetic coupling in the myocardium, regulation of blood flow, and the etiology and sequelae of hypertension.

Research Associate Professor

Brian Carlson's research focuses on whole body cardiovascular systems and cellular electrophysiology theoretical models using both clinical and experimental data. He also has experience in methodologies for machine-readable annotation, merging, sharing and reuse of computational models.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Hamid Gharahi is investigating multi-scale modeling of supply-demand matching in myocardial oxygen delivery and works both in our lab and in the lab of Alberto Figeroa in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Visiting Research Scholar

Feng Gu is investigating the role of autonomic nervous system especially baroreflex in the etiology of hypertension by both applying theoretical computational model and integrating clinical and experimental data. 

Postdoctoral Fellow

Filip Ježek is working on a comprehensive model of human cardiovascular physiology that accounts for postural changes, exercise and Valsalva maneuver response. He also works on cardiovascular acid-base balance, and the development of interactive model-based educational simulators.

Graduate Student Researcher

Edith Jones does experimental work investigating how cardiomyocyte mitochondrial calcium levels influence substrate selection and also uses computational methods along with typical clinical measures to discriminate between different types of heart failure.


Undergraduate Student Researcher

Ellen Lauinger works on several projects in the lab investigating mitochondrial function and the regulation of purine degradation pathways.

Rachel Lopez
Graduate Student Researcher

Rachel Lopez is researching how total adenine nucleotide pools and oxidative capacity are related to left ventricular ejection fraction in trans-aortic constricted rats.

Graduate Student Researcher
Drew Marquis is interested in the regulation of blood flow distribution in the lungs and his dissertation project is centered around how the overlap of airflow and blood flow in the lungs (V-Q matching) enables efficient uptake of oxygen into the blood stream.
Graduate Student Researcher

Collin Marshall is investigating whether K+ transport processes influence bioenergetics via pH regulation in suspensions of purified mitochondria and isolated cardiomyocytes under different respiratory states using high resolution respirometry and fluorometric imaging.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Bahador Marzban investigates the link between metabolic function, force generation and cardiovascular function using experimental data and computational models. 

Postdoctoral Fellow

Neda Nourabadi investigates the differences in mitochondrial function between high capacity running (HCR) and low capacity running (LCR) rats.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Ben Randall has expertise in mathematical modeling of cardiovascular physiology and its control mechanisms and model analysis techniques including sensitivity analysis, parameter estimation, dynamical systems analysis, and uncertainty quantification.

Lab Research Associate

Fran Van den Bergh supports every activity in the lab, including teaching the students and post-docs, troubleshooting and maintaining equipment. She is also in charge of the genotyping of our newly acquired genetically modified rats.