Tallinna Tehnikaülikool

PhD Project in Physical Sciences

hesis title: Identification of the intracellular barriers
in heart muscle cells
PhD Programme: Physical Sciences
Supervisor: Marko Vendelin, Senior Research Scientist
Offered by: Department of Cybernetics,
Laboratory of Systems Biology

Heart muscle cells – cardiomyocytes – are responsible for mechanical work performed by the heart to pump the blood. This work requires energy transfer between intracellular structures responsible for performing mechanical work and the structures that convert biochemical energy into the form that can be used by the cellular processes. The energy transfer occurs through diffusion of several high-energy phosphates. Surprisingly, as we have shown in our earlier studies, diffusion of molecules is significantly restricted in cardiomyocytes with rather localized diffusion barriers.

The aim of this work will be to identify location of intracellular diffusion barriers in cardiomyocytes. For that, you would have to develop novel fluorescence microscopy techniques that would allow you to identify location and extend of the barriers. The envisioned technique will be based on statistical analysis of the recorded fluorescence signal by confocal microscope, in line with the fluorescence correlation spectroscopy approaches. Experiments will be performed on mouse cardiomyocytes – an experimental model established and routinely used in the laboratory.
All the required hardware is available in the laboratory. You will be assisted with writing software modules for our in house built confocal microscopy software ensuring that you will be able to program new experimental protocols and automate them.


  • MSc in physics or similar field
  • Programming experience
  • Background knowledge in biophysics, chemistry, microscopy, fluorescence is beneficial​​​​​​