Professor Arun Holden


(a) The Computational Biology laboratory constructs detailed computer models of muscular organs - the beating heart, and the pregnant uterus - that are based on data from membrane, cell and tissue experiments, and from clinical data. These models are validated by their prediction of normal organ behaviour, and abnormal behaviours seen in disease. They are applied to dissect, in space and time, physiological and pathological mechanism, to prescreen drugs, and to contribute to the drug design and discovery process, and the design of physical interventions.

(b) Most of our research has been in the construction of cardiac virtual tissues, and these are now being applied to biomedical problems. Application areas include the normal pacemaking of the heart and its pharmacological control; the genetic engineering of pacemaking activity in the ventricles, as an alternative to implanted electronic pacemakers; the initiation and control of re-entrant arrhythmias in the atria and ventricles; the effects of drugs on propagation phenomena within the heart; and the effects of electrical and very large magnetic fields on the behaviour of the in situ heart. The same methodology, of developing and applying virtual tissues, is being applied to model uterine activity and possible mechanisms in premature and normal labour.

(c) An important new development has been the extraction of structural data, (geometry, cell orientation) from diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging of tissues; this allows the reconstruction of a 3-D detailed digital map of an organ in a few days, rather than the months-years necessary for histological reconstruction.

Funding Computational Biology Leeds is funded by project, programme and network grants from the BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC, BHF, EU and Sun Microsystems 

  • Regional differences in the electrical activity of SAN tissue (BHF) and acidotic ventricular tissue (BHF)
  • Engineering virtual cardiac tissue (EPSRC, MRC)
  • Reentrant arrhythmias and fibrillation (EPSRC)

BA (Oxford, UK); PhD (Alberta, Canada) has been at Leeds since 1971, and retired in 2012. He continues to supervise undergraduate project, and postgraduate research students in applications of computational electrophysiology to cardiac and uterine physiology, and in the analysis of clinical electrophysiological recordings and magnetic resonance imaging data. Current research is mostly focused on ante-natal and adult cardiac arrhythmia.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BA, Oxford; PhD 1971, Alberta.

Student education

Computational modelling of normal & abnormal heart function.Visualisation of cardiac motion; interpretation of electrical activity during ventricular fibrillation

Studentship information

Undergraduate project topics:

  • Visualisation of cardiac motion; interpretation of electrical activity during ventricular fibrillation

Postgraduate studentship areas:

  • Computational modelling of normal & abnormal heart function.

See also: