Johns Hopkins marries cardiology, engineering in $5.5M ADVANCE center

Half a decade of planning and millions of dollars have culminated in the Alliance for Cardiovascular Diagnostic and Treatment Innovation (ADVANCE), a joint engineering and cardiology center launched by Johns Hopkins University in an attempt to improve the diagnosis and treatment of a range of arrhythmia disorders.

Johns Hopkins funneled $5.5 million into the project, according to a release. ADVANCE will leverage research from the university’s Whiting School of Engineering to improve cardiac imaging, computer simulations and data science.

“Establishing this alliance will lead to an exciting blend of engineering and medicine,” biomedical engineer Natalia Trayanova, PhD, said in the release. Trayanova, alongside cardiologist Hugh Calkins, MD, co-leads the center. “It’s the culmination of more than five years of collaborations between engineers and clinicians to determine how to solve modern medical problems with computational and data-driven approaches."

According to the release, Trayanova pioneered the use of 3D virtual replicas of the heart personalized to individual patients with certain heart conditions. The simulations can help physicians use radiofrequency waves more precisely, potentially destroying regions of heart tissue that sustain or propagate erratic electrical waves.

Her lab is also exploring new ways to predict risk for sudden death or stroke using ventricular or atrial fibrillation.

“Our goal is to find new strategies that will have a profound impact on the management of a wide range of cardiac arrhythmias,” Calkins said in the release.