The molecular level investigations focus on understanding the properties of several types of cardiac ion channels (e.g., sodium, potassium, gap junctions). Molecular biology techniques are used in conjunction with electrophysiological approaches to: characterize the mechanisms of antiarrhythmic drug action on channel activity and to correlate the functional properties of channels (e.g., activation, inactivation) to their 3-dimensional structure. Other studies examine the role of epigenetics in heart failure.
The cellular level research includes studies which: determine the role of sodium-calcium exchange in excitation-contraction coupling, characterize the mechanisms which regulate intracellular calcium in cardiac cells which lack transverse tubules, examine electrical interactions between cardiac cells, and examine the mechanisms involved in regulating cardiac intracellular pH. The experiments are performed on single cardiac myocytes using a variety of techniques, including voltage clamping and confocal imaging of intracellular calcium and pH.