Dr. Yoram Rudy served as President of the Cardiac Electrophysiology Society from November 2006 to November 2008.
How long have you been a member of the Heart Rhythm Society?
Over fifteen years.
I was introduced to the Heart Rhythm Society (NASPE then) by Al Waldo. We both served as grant reviewers on the NIH Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Study Section (CVA) and became close friends. Shortly after, Al moved to Case Western Reserve University, where I was at the time. He and Jerry Liebman in Pediatric Cardiology provided the clinical connection I was seeking for my basic science work.
My Society is...
A vibrant and active forum for exchange of scientific ideas, clinical questions, and patient care issues in cardiac electrophysiology and arrhythmia.
Why did you choose the field of electrophysiology?
My background is in physics and the field of electrophysiology is based on principles from electromagnetic field theory. It allowed me to apply approaches from mathematical physics to a living system the heart. Also, the clinical practice of cardiac electrophysiology requires understanding of basic mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmias. As such, and as reflected increasingly in the annual meetings of the society, this field lends itself to close collaborations between basic scientists and clinicians and depends on such interactions for progress.
How has membership in the Society been of value to you and your practice?
As explained above, my education and training were in Physics and Mathematics; I conducted research in Quantum Mechanics. I was (and still am) enamored with the abstraction, elegance and inner beauty of mathematical physics (for the same reason I have great passion for music and art). What was missing for me was the human connection and relevance of my work. During my PhD training in Biomedical Engineering, I shifted my orientation to basic research in the life sciences (cardiac bioelectricity) with application to human disease. The Society has evolved over the years to become a true meeting ground for basic scientists and clinicians. My active participation in the annual meetings and my service on committees broadened my clinical perspective and greatly influenced the translational aspects of my work.
Please list a few of your most recent accomplishments.
From an administrative perspective, I established the Cardiac Bioelectricity and Arrhythmia Center (CBAC) at Washington University. CBAC includes 36 faculty members from basic science and clinical departments. It truly spans the entire spectrum from basic research at the molecular and cellular level to the bedside. A video archive of CBAC seminars is available on the CBAC website at www.cbac.wustl.edu .
From a research perspective, we have recently made two important breakthroughs: 1) we devised a methodology for relating the dynamic molecular structure (conformational changes) of an ion channel during gating to its function (channel current) and, across scales, to the whole cell action potential and ECG waveforms. We applied this approach to the cardiac slow delayed rectifier (Iks) in the context of mutations that lead to the long QT syndrome (PNAS 2009;106:11102-11106), and 2) Electrocardiographic Imaging (ECGI), a noninvasive imaging modality for mapping cardiac electrophysiology and arrhythmias, has been applied successfully in humans (first time in 2004, Nature Medicine 2004; 10:422-428). This has helped to provide new insights into the electrophysiologic substrate and arrhythmia mechanisms in patients.
More About Yoram Rudy, PhD, FHRS
Yoram Rudy, PhD, FHRS is the Fred Saigh Distinguished Professor and Director of the Cardiac Bioelectricity and Arrhythmia Center (CBAC) at Washington University. He received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Physics from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, where he remained on the faculty until his move to Washington University in 2004. His research focuses on the mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmias and the development of noninvasive imaging modalities for rhythm disorders. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a recipient of a Merit Award from the NIH. Recent awards include: the Hein Wellens Distinguished Professorship in Cardiology, University of Maastricht, 2008-2009; the Tawara Lecture Award, 36th International Congress of Physiological Sciences (IUPS2009), Kyoto, Japan (July 2009); Distinguished Alumni Award from Case Western Reserve University (October 2009). He served as President of the Cardiac Electrophysiology Society from November 2006 to November 2008.