Emilia Entcheva

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Emilia Entcheva



Office Phone: 202-994-7807
SEH 5660 | Office Hours: W: 3:30 – 5:00 pm

Professor Emilia Entcheva directs the Cardiac Optogenetics and Optical Imaging Laboratory. Her research group combines biophotonics tools with human stem-cell-derived cardiomyocyte technology and gene editing approaches to aid the advancement of personalized medicine. The lab played a key role in bringing optogenetics to the cardiac field and validating its use experimentally and computationally. The lab combines cell and tissue engineering, genetic engineering, all-optical cardiac electrophysiology, instrumentation and control, machine learning and transcriptomics analysis to help improve the maturity of engineered human heart tissues and their use in high-throughput drug-screening applications. Professor Entcheva is an AIMBE Fellow and her work is supported by the NSF and NIH.

  • B.S./M.S. Electrical Engineering, Technical University – Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering, The University of Memphis, 1998
  • Postdoctoral, Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 2000
  • Bioelectricity and biophysical modeling
  • Optogenetics
  • Cell and tissue engineering, organ-on-chip
  • Genetic engineering
  • Stem cell technology
  • Biophotonics, optical mapping, all-optical electrophysiology
  • High-throughput drug screening
  • Machine learning for personalized medicine

A complete list of Dr. Entcheva’s publications can be found on Google scholar.

E. Entcheva, M.W. Kay, Cardiac optogenetics: a decade of enlightenment, Nature Reviews Cardiology 18(5) (2021) 349-367.

C.J. Chua, J.L. Han, W. Li, W. Liu, E. Entcheva, Integration of Engineered “Spark-Cell” Spheroids for Optical Pacing of Cardiac Tissue, Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 9(491) (2021).

P.M. Boyle, J. Yu, A. Klimas, J.C. Williams, N.A. Trayanova, E. Entcheva, OptoGap is an optogenetics-enabled assay for quantification of cell–cell coupling in multicellular cardiac tissue, Scientific reports 11(1) (2021) 9310.

M. Paci, E. Passini, A. Klimas, S. Severi, J. Hyttinen, B. Rodriguez, E. Entcheva, All-Optical Electrophysiology Refines Populations of In Silico Human iPSC-CMs for Drug Evaluation, Biophys J 118(10) (2020) 2596-2611.

A. Klimas, G. Ortiz, S.C. Boggess, E.W. Miller, E. Entcheva, Multimodal on-axis platform for all-optical electrophysiology with near-infrared probes in human stem-cell-derived cardiomyocytes, Prog Biophys Mol Biol 154 (2020) 62-70.

W. Li, J.L. Han, E. Entcheva, Syncytium cell growth increases Kir2.1 contribution in human iPSC-cardiomyocytes, American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology 319(5) (2020) H1112-H1122.

L. Wei, W. Li, E. Entcheva, Z. Li, Microfluidics-enabled 96-well perfusion system for high-throughput tissue engineering and long-term all-optical electrophysiology, Lab Chip 20(21) (2020) 4031-4042.

C.M. Ambrosi, G. Sadananda, J.L. Han, E. Entcheva, Adeno-Associated Virus Mediated Gene Delivery: Implications for Scalable in vitro and in vivo Cardiac Optogenetic Models, Frontiers in physiology 10 (2019).

B. Quach, T. Krogh-Madsen, E. Entcheva, D.J. Christini, Light-Activated Dynamic Clamp Using iPSC-Derived Cardiomyocytes, Biophys J 115(11) (2018) 2206-2217.

A. Klimas, C.M. Ambrosi, J. Yu, J.C. Williams, H. Bien, E. Entcheva, OptoDyCE as an automated system for high-throughput all-optical dynamic cardiac electrophysiology, Nature communications 7 (2016) 11542.

E. Entcheva, G. Bub, All-optical control of cardiac excitation: combined high-resolution optogenetic actuation and optical mapping, J Physiol 594(9) (2016) 2503-10.

J.C. Williams, E. Entcheva, Optogenetic versus Electrical Stimulation of Human Cardiomyocytes: Modeling Insights, Biophys J 108(8) (2015) 1934-45.

E. Entcheva, Cardiac optogenetics, Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 304(9) (2013) H1179-91.

P.M. Boyle, J.C. Williams, C.M. Ambrosi, E. Entcheva, N.A. Trayanova, A comprehensive multiscale framework for simulating optogenetics in the heart, Nature communications 4 (2013) 2370.

Z. Jia, V. Valiunas, Z. Lu, H. Bien, H. Liu, H.Z. Wang, B. Rosati, P.R. Brink, I.S. Cohen, E. Entcheva, Stimulating cardiac muscle by light: cardiac optogenetics by cell delivery, Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 4(5) (2011) 753-60.

  • Elected AIMBE Fellow for “pioneering work in cardiac optogenetics & spearheading the development and biophysical characterization of new bioengineering tools towards all-optical electrophysiology", 2016
  • Lead Judge for the National Finals of the Siemens Math and Science Competition for high school students, 2017
  • Organizer of a 4-week International Workshop “Integrative Cardiac Dynamics” at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP), University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, 2006 & 2018
  • Organizer of an international meeting on “Optogenetic Technologies and Applications”


Select Invited Speaker

  • Frequent seminar speaker nationally and internationally, session moderator, discussion leader at universities and professional meetings, 2019 & 2021
  • Invited Speaker, Featured “BiOS Hot Topics” at SPIE Photonics West, 2017
  • Invited Lecturer, Biophotonics Summer School, Island of Ven, Sweden, 2017


Editorial Board and Journal Reviewer

  • Editorial Board Member for Scientific Reports (Nature family of journals), 2013-now
  • Editor for Frontiers in Computational Physiology & Medicine, 2011-now
  • Ad hoc Associate Editor for PLoS Computational Biology
  • Reviewer for over 30 professional journals


Select Grant Review Panels

  • NSF CAREER grants
  • NSF IGERT grants
  • NSF Biophotonics grants
  • Member of the NIH ESTA (Electrical Signaling, Ion Transport and Arrhythmias) study section, 2013-2017
  • NIH Special Emphasis Panels for grants under NHLBI and NIBIB, for the Transformative Awards program, for the BRAIN Initiative, 2008-2019


Extramural Grant Support

  • NSF Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) grant, “EFRI: Human cardiac opto-epigenetics with HDAC inhibitors, Role: PI (Co-PIs: Z. Li, A. Villagra, S. Jia, R. Mazitschek), 2018-2022
  • NIH-NHLBI, R01 HL144157-01A1, “Scalable platform for optimizing human cardiac tissue engineering via optical pacing and on-demand oxygenation”, Role: Multi-PI contact with (MPI Kay MW, Co-I: Z. Li, A. Popratiloff, A. Horvath), 2019-2023
  • R01 NIH-NHLBI R01HL111649, “Cardiac optogenetics: A cell delivery approach”, Role: PI, 2012-2019
  • NSF-Partnerships for innovation (PFI), “PFI-TT: Automated platform for drug testing in human heart cells using light”, Role: PI, 2016-2019
  • NSF-Biophotonics, “Light-enabled gene control for cardiac applications”, Role: PI, 2017-202
  • NSF-Biophotonics, “All-optical interrogation system for cardiac dynamics”, Role: PI, 2015-2019
  • NIH-NIBIB, R21EB023106, “Near-infrared optogenetic control of the human heart”, Role: Multi-PI, 2016-2019
  • NIH-NHLBI, “Low-intensity ultrasound for control of cardiac electromechanics: a mechanistic investigation”, Role: Multi-PI, 2018-2021
  • Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada, “Neurally-Mediated Arrhythmogenesis”, Role: unpaid Co-I, PI: G. Bub, 2018-2021
  • Entcheva E, Klimas A, “Automated system for high-throughput all-optical dynamic cardiac electrophysiology”, No. 62/330,741, patent filled at GW on 05/02/2017.
  • Entcheva E, Bub G, “Optical interrogation and control of dynamic biological functions”, international patent WO 2016108049, patent filed jointly through University of Oxford, UK, and SBU 12/2015.
  • Entcheva E, Bien H, Jia Z, Lu Z and Cohen IS, “Optical control of cardiac function”, international patent WO/2012/054484.