HCE/Research & Working Groups/Doctoral Theses

Electrophysiological modeling and experimental analysis of excitable and non-excitable cells

This doctoral thesis deals with the field of electrophysiology. The main emphasis is the investigation of excitable and non-excitable cell types and the representation of their observed ion channel activity in computational cell models. The stimulation and modelling of excitable cells will focus on optoelectronic stimulation, while non-excitable cell types shall be investigated regarding the interplay of their ion channel activity and immune response.

While different cell types in this doctoral thesis are used for different target applications, they have two major common goals. First, to show that each cell type has certain ion channel activities. Second, to represent the diverse responses to stimuli in computational models that can be validated based on literature and experimentally recorded data.

 Excitable cells and optoelectronic stimulation

Optoelectronic stimulation will be utilized for excitable cell types, like heart cells. The stimulation devices used in this work are light-sensitive photocapacitors. The major challenge is to close the gap between having a detailed picture of how the external stimulation with these organic optoelectronic devices works and how to trigger action potentials with this novel technology. A well implemented and validated model is needed, which includes everything from external stimulation to cellular polarization. Therefore, a detailed elaboration of the technical methods and their interaction with different cell types is necessary.

A standardized technical analysis will be developed and shall further serve as a basis for the behavior of photocapacitors in modelling.

Non-excitable cells and their interaction with the immune system

Besides the modelling of excitable cells, which usually respond in the form of action potentials, it is also of great interest to model the electrical cell responses of non-excitable cells. Already at the end of the 90s a relationship between erythrocytes, hemoglobin and the immune system having an active role in the immune response to pathogens was hypothesized. This area that has not yet been extensively researched. In this thesis, I would like to give further insights and information on the interaction of the immune system with non-excitable cell types like red blood cells (RBCs). 



  • Stoppacher, S. (2020). Modeling External Stimulation of Excitable Cells Using a Novel Light-Activated Organic Semiconductor Technology. Austria: Studies in Health Technology and Informatics. DOI: 10.3233/SHTI200068.
Sara Stoppacher
Dipl.-Ing. BSc

Institut für Health Care Engineering mit Europaprüfstelle für Medizinprodukte
Stremayrgasse 16/II
8010 Graz

+43 316 873 - 7397
+43 316 873 - 107397