RPhil - The exquisite machine: the new science of the heart
20th March 2024 7:30 pm
Sian Harding is Emeritus Professor at Imperial College London. She was Head of the Cardiovascular Division there, as well as Director of the British Heart Foundation Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine Centre. Her scientific work has focused on the cardiomyocyte in heart failure, and the new techniques of gene and cell therapy.
In her recent book, “The Exquisite Machine”, Sian has tried to refocus our view away from cardiac disease and celebrate the tireless perfection of the human heart. Around half of the individual cardiac muscle cells within the heart will be with us from birth until death, resisting the many dangers in our world (both known and newly discovered). She shows the subtle complexity of the heart which can swiftly respond to, but also create, our feelings. She argues that the precise engineering of the heart, honed over 500 million years of evolution, has stymied our efforts either to reproduce or repair its intricate precision. The failure to produce a complete artificial heart over 60 years of research, and the struggles of cardiac regenerative medicine, illustrate this point as well us teaching us more about the superb design of the heart itself
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