University of Nottingham

£1.9m to make heart models to test drug safety


A mathematical biologist at the University of Nottingham has received funding of over £1.9m from Wellcome to develop mathematical models to test whether new pharmaceutical drugs will have side-effects on the heart.

Reducing animal-based safety experiments 

Dr Gary Mirams, currently a Wellcome & Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellow in the Centre for Mathematical Medicine & Biology in the School of Mathematical Sciences, has spent much of his academic career working on simulations of cardiovascular biology – creating mathematical models of the heart and software packages to run simulations that allow pharmaceutical companies to test the safety of new drugs on the heart. His research has helped change the way new drugs are tested and made a significant reduction in the number of animal-based cardiac safety experiments. 

Dr Mirams said: “Our work to date has proved the usefulness of cardiac simulations in assessing drug safety for the heart. It has also made good progress in improving the reliability of models for this application. But simply making predictions is not good enough for use in safety-critical situations: developing models reproducibly, tracking the derivation of their choice of equations and parameter sets from data, and quantifying our uncertainty in their predictions is also crucial. My Wellcome Senior Research Fellowship will advance this research agenda for cardiac electrophysiology models in drug safety studies.” 

Read the University's press release for more