Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Wei Chen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dennis K. Killinger, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Myung K. Kim, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Chun-Min Lo, Ph.D.


Biophysics, Electrophysiology, Na, K ATPase, Electric fields, Ionic concentration, Fluorescence


All living cells contain the electrogenic enzyme Na/K ATPase, whose function is to pump ions against the electrochemical gradient, in order to provide potential energy which is later used for cellular processes such as action potentials, muscle contraction and facilitated transport. Using a technique developed in our lab, exploiting the molecule's voltage dependence, it is possible to increase this pump function by many folds. Optical measurement of the membrane potential of living cells was made using a potentiommetric dye, with successful manipulation of the ionic concentration and membrane potential reported. Additional supporting results are presented, along with extension of this field to the study of cardiac Myocytes, representing a progression to Mammalian cells, with advantages to future clinical research evident. Successful manipulation of membrane potential was also achieved using cells in a two dimensional tissue matrix, which more closely approximates the living system, and hence is closer to an eventual clinical application. Also, expedited recovery from electrical injury was recorded, demonstrating a possible therapeutic application of the technique.