Conversations in Convergence: Stephanie Protze, PhD, and Eric Strohm, PhD

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Join us for our Conversations in Convergence series which is an interactive discussions between Medicine by Design researchers who study similar questions using different approaches.

The goal is to foster cross-disciplinary discussions in support of convergence, which is the integration of approaches from engineering, science, medicine and other fields to expand knowledge and spark innovation. The researchers will discuss how their unique perspectives, knowledge and ideas inform their work, and how their diverse approaches intersect and complement one another to advance regenerative medicine.

Our speakers will be:

  • Stephanie Protze, PhD – Principal Investigator, McEwen Stem Cell Institute, at the University Health Network and Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto
  • Eric Strohm, PhD – Post-Doctoral Fellow, Craig Simmons Cellular Mechanobiology Lab, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto

Dr. Protze studies how the human heart develops with a specific focus the cardiac conduction system that regulates the heartbeat. Her lab uses pluripotent stem cells, single cell transcriptomics, and electrophysiology assays to study heart development and diseases in a petri-dish. In addition, her team explores the application of the stem cell-derived conduction system cells in cell therapy approaches to treat heart rhythm disorders.


Dr. Strohm post-doctoral fellow work uses microscale ultrasound to measure the contractile forces of cardiomyocyte cells and tissues. Using a custom-built system, the contractions are rapidly measured using ultrasound with sub-micrometer precision to determine the forces exerted. The system is highly versatile and can measure cell contractility in a range of platforms, including standard cell culture plates and specialized heart-on-a-chip systems. Applications include evaluating drug cardiotoxicity, screening drug candidates to treat heart failure, and quantifying stem cell-based therapies for regenerative cardiac repair.

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