Welcome to the IFMBE Scientific Challenge Competition of the 9th European Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing Conference (EMBEC 2024). In this edition of the IFMBE Scientific Challenge, the goal is to predict responses of genetically modified HEK (human embryonic kidney cells) to pulsed electric fields. The motivation includes finding new relationships between the shape and size of the cells and their influence on the response of intracellular Ca2+ concentrations as a response to stimulation with pulsed electric fields.
Electroporation is a phenomenon in which the permeability of the cell membrane to ions and small molecules is temporarily increased after exposure to high intensity electric field pulses. Electroporation is used in various fields of medicine. The electrical pulses used in electroporation-based treatments have been shown to affect the excitability of muscle and nerve cells. However, understanding the interplay between electroporation and electrophysiological response of excitable cells is complex because both ion channel gating and electroporation depend on dynamic changes in transmembrane voltage. In the context of cell excitation, calcium ion influx is also particularly important for muscle cells because it is directly involved in the molecular machinery responsible for muscle cell contraction.