Bidomain Modeling of Electrical and Mechanical Properties of Cardiac Tissue

Brad Roth
3 min readNov 12, 2021


This week Biophysics Reviews published my article “ Bidomain Modeling of Electrical and Mechanical Properties of Cardiac Tissue” (Volume 2, Article Number 041301, 2021). The introduction states

This review discusses the bidomain model, a mathematical description of cardiac tissue. Most of the review covers the electrical bidomain model, used to study pacing and defibrillation of the heart. For a book-length analysis of this topic, consult the recently published second edition of Cardiac Bioelectric Therapy. In particular, one chapter in that book complements this review: it contains a table listing many bidomain predictions and their experimental confirmation, includes many original figures from earlier publications, and cites additional references. Near the end, the review covers the mechanical bidomain model, which describes mechanotransduction and the resulting growth and remodeling of cardiac tissue.

The review has several aims: to (1) introduce the bidomain model to younger investigators who are bringing new technologies from outside biophysics into cardiac physiology; (2) examine the interaction of theory and experiment in biological physics; (3) emphasize intuitive understanding by focusing on simple models and qualitative explanations of mechanisms; and (4) highlight unresolved controversies and open questions. The overall goal is to enable technologists entering the field to more effectively contribute to some of the pressing scientific questions facing physiologists.

My manuscript traveled a long and winding road. The initial version was a personal account of my career as I worked on the bidomain model ( Russ Hobbie and I discuss the bidomain concept in Chapter 7 of Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology), and was organized around ten papers I published between 1986 and 2010, with an emphasis on the 1990s. My first draft (and all subsequent ones) benefited from thoughtful comments by my former graduate student, Dilmini Wijesinghe. After I fixed all the problems Dilmini found, I sent the initial version to the editor. He responded that the journal board wanted a more traditional, authoritative review article. That was fine, so I transformed the paper from a memoir into a review, and submitted it officially to the journal. Then the reviewers had a couple rounds of helpful comments, leading to more revisions. Next, there were changes in the page proofs to fulfill all the journal editorial rules. At last, it was published.

The final version is unlike the initial one. I changed the perspective from first person to third; added figures; increased the number of references by almost 50%; and deleted all the reminiscences, colorful anecdotes, and old war stories.

I hope you enjoy the peer-reviewed, published article. If you want to read the original version (the one with the war stories), you can find it here.

I made a word cloud based on the article. The giant “Roth” is embarrassing, but otherwise it provides a nice summary of what the paper is about.

Biophysics Reviews is a new journal, edited by my old friend Kit Parker. Long-time readers of this blog may remember Parker as the guy who said “ our job is to find stupid and get rid of it.” Listen to him describe his goals as Editor-in-Chief.

Kit Parker, Editor-in-Chief of Biophysics Reviews, introduces the journal.

Originally published at



Brad Roth

Professor of Physics at Oakland University and coauthor of the textbook Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology.