Yingnan (Nancy) Zhang named ICM’s 2021-2022 Gakenheimer Fellow


Yingnan Zhang, a PhD candidate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, is the recipient of the 2021-2022 Gakenheimer Fellowship. The award will support Zhang’s research in the lab of Natalia Trayanova, Murray B. Sachs Professor of Biomedical Engineering.

The Gakenheimer Fellowship was established in 2013 by Johns Hopkins Engineering alumnus David C. Gakenheimer, PhD, who earned his undergraduate engineering degree at The Whiting School of Engineering, followed by a Masters and PhD at the California Institute of Technology. He is the principal developer of the Logion Caries Detector, an image analysis software program used in dental offices. Each year the Gakenheimer Fellowship supports an ICM PhD student whose research aim is to develop and advance heart diagnostic methods.

Zhang’s focus is to develop personalized, non-invasive computational electrophysiology models for patients with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), a leading inherited cause of ventricular arrhythmia (VA) in young adults, especially young athletes. In the clinic, radiofrequency ablation is a common medical treatment for ARVC-related VA. However, finding the targets may require extensive mapping. Zhang’s approach could provide the clinicians with a thorough pre-ablation evaluation of the arrhythmogenic substrate and identify the specific region(s) to target during the ablation procedure, saving time and lowering procedural risk. Zhang’s future plans are to integrate the ARVC computational models with large-scale experimental and clinical data using machine learning techniques. This amalgamation between computational simulation and data science will potentially bridge the gap between experimental findings and the clinics, drastically improving ARVC clinical management.

JHU - Institute for Computational Medicine