Matthew Kay, Associate Professor

Office: Phillips Hall 619
Phone: 202-994-2898, Fax: 202 994-0227
Lab: Ross Hall 456 Lab Phone: 202-994-0621
Email: phymwk[at]gwu[dot]edu


B.S.M.E. 1993, North Carolina State University, NC
M.S.B.E. 1996, North Carolina State University, NC
D.S.B.M.E. 2000, Washington University in St. Louis, MO


My research interest is to understand the spatiotemporal dynamics of cardiac electrical activity during normal and disease conditions - with an overall goal of improving heart disease therapies. Fluorescence and electrical imaging of animal hearts (ex-vivo) and two and three dimensional cultures of cardiac cells (in-vitro) is used with custom image and signal processing algorithms to test hypotheses and identify mechanisms of cardiac electrical pathologies. Recent projects have investigated the role of rotor formation in maintaining ventricular fibrillation, electrical vorticity during atrial fibrillation, mechanisms of anti-tachycardia pacing in rabbit hearts and cell cultures, the effect of tissue structure on electrical conduction, and the role of regional ischemia on the induction of ventricular fibrillation.

Selected Professional Activities

  • Reviewer of grants submitted to the NIH.
  • Reviewer of conference papers for the Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.
  • Reviewer of manuscripts submitted to the following journals: IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, Annals of Biomedical Engineering, Journal of Biomedical Optics, Heart Rhythm, American Journal of Physiology, Journal of Applied Physiology, Physics in Medicine and Biology, Physiological Measurement.

Selected Publications

  • Kadota S, Kay MW, Magome N, Agladze K. Curvature dependent excitation propagation in cultured cardiac tissue. Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics Letters, to appear in 2011.
  • Asfour H, Swift LM, Sarvazyan NA, Dorslovacki M, Kay MW. Signal decomposition of transmembrane voltage-sensitive dye fluorescence using a multiresolution wavelet analysis. Submitted to IEEE Trans on BME, Sept 2010.
  • Asfour H, Soller W, Gillum N, Kay MW. Low frequency impedance spectroscopy of cell monolayers using the four electrode method. Proc 2010 International Conference on Electrical Bioimpedance, Gainesville, FL, 2010.
  • Gillum N, Karabekian Z, Swift LM, Brown RP, Kay MW, Sarvazyan NA. Clinically relevant concentrations of di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) uncouple cardiac syncytium. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol., 236(1): 25-38, 2009.<
  • Kay MW, Swift LM, Zderic V. Dual-mode imaging of acute cardiac ischemia and reperfusion using contrast echocardiography and fluorescence imaging. IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium, Rome, Italy, 2009.
  • Kay MW, Swift LM, Sangave A, Zderic V. High resolution contrast ultrasound and NADH fluorescence imaging of myocardial perfusion in excised rat hearts. IEEE EMBS 30th Annual International Conference, Vancouver, Canada, 2008.
  • Swift LM, Martell BS, Khatri V, Arutunyan A, Sarvazyan NA, Kay MW. Controlled regional hypoperfusion in Langendorff heart preparations. Physiological Measurement, 29: 269-279, 2008.
  • Kay MW, Swift LM, Martell BS, Arutunyan A, Sarvazyan NA. Location of ectopic beats coincides with spatial gradients of NADH in a regional model of low-flow reperfusion. Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol., 294: H2400-H2405, 2008.
  • Rogers JM, Walcott GP, Gladden JD, Melnick SB, Ideker RE, Kay MW. Epicardial wavefronts arise from widely distributed transient sources during ventricular fibrillation in the isolated swine heart. New J. Physics, 10 (015004): 1-12, 2008.
  • Agladze KI, Kay MW, Krinsky VI, Sarvazyan NA. Interaction between spiral and paced waves in cardiac tissue. 2007. Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol., 293: 503-513, 2007.
  • Rogers JM, Walcott GP, Gladden JD, Melnick SB, Kay MW. Panoramic optical mapping reveals continuous epicardial reentry during ventricular fibrillation in the isolated swine heart. Biophys J. 2007; 92(3):1090-5.
  • Byrd IA, Kay MW, Pollard AE. Interactions between paced wavefronts and monomorphic ventricular tachycardia: implications for antitachycardia pacing. J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol. 2006, 17(10):1129-39.
  • Schuessler RB, Kay MW, Melby SJ, Branham BH, Boineau JP, Damiano RJ Jr. Spatial and temporal stability of the dominant frequency of activation in human atrial fibrillation. J. Electrocardiol. 2006, 39(4 Suppl):S7-12.
  • Kay MW, Walcott GP, Gladden JD, Melnick SB, Rogers JM. Lifetimes of epicardial rotors in panoramic optical maps of fibrillating swine ventricles. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2006, 291(4):H1935-41.
  • Kay MW, Walcott GP, Gladden JD, Melnick SB, Rogers JM. Epicardial rotors in panoramic optical maps of fibrillating swine ventricles. Invited talk for IEEE EMBS 28th Annual International Conference, New York, NY, 2006.
  • Kay MW, Gray RA. Measuring curvature and velocity vector fields for waves of cardiac excitation in 2D media. IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng., 52(1): 50-63, 2005.
  • Kay MW, Amison PM, Rogers JM. Three-dimensional surface reconstruction and panoramic optical mapping of large hearts. IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng., 51(7): 1219-1229, 2004.
  • Nanthakumar K, Walcott GP, Melnick S, Rogers JM, Kay MW, Smith WM, Ideker RE, Holman W. Epicardial Organization of Human Ventricular Fibrillation. Heart Rhythm, 1(1): 14-23, 2004.

Recent Extramural Grant Support

  • The National Institutes of Health (R01-HL095828A1) 04/19/10 - 03/31/15. Matthew Kay's role: Principal Investigator. "Low flow reperfusion after acute myocardial ischemia: when too little is too much" Goals: To study mechanisms of ischemia and reperfusion arrhythmias from a new perspective: that of connecting local changes in tissue metabolism caused by perturbations in coronary flow to the resulting disturbances in electrical activity.
  • American Heart Association, Beginning Grant in Aide: 7/1/06-6/30/08, no-cost extension until 6/30/2009. Matthew Kay's role: Principal Investigator. "Arrhythmogenicity of partially perfused myocardium: can impaired flow be more dangerous than none?" Goals: To identify differences in the spatiotemporal evolution of ischemic electrophysiology that is induced by partial coronary artery flow.
  • The Whitaker Foundation, Biomedical Engineering Research Grant: 09/1/03 - 08/31/06. Matthew Kay's role: Principal Investigator. "New macrostructural determinants of cardiac conduction." Goals: To show the effects of fiber gradients and epicardial surface curvature on the dynamics of electrical wave conduction using panoramic optical mapping and excised animal hearts.
  • The National Institutes of Health (R01 HL64184) 09/1/03 - 08/31/08. Matthew Kay's role: Investigator and Consultant (PI: Jack Rogers, PhD). "Mechanisms for maintenance of ventricular fibrillation." Goals: To clarify the mechanisms by which ventricular fibrillation is maintained. The project uses optical and electrical mapping of isolated hearts to investigate the determinants of propagation block and the roles of various wave front propagation patterns.