Dr Christopher O'Shea PhD

Chris O'Shea

Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences
Henry Wellcome Fellow

Contact details

College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr O’Shea is a Research Associate at the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences. His primary research goal is to use computer sciences and physics to achieve detailed mechanistic understanding of cardiac arrhythmias. His work has resulted in open-source software for analysis of pre-clinical mapping datasets, which has been utilised in several laboratories worldwide and extensively covered in international press. 

Dr O’Shea has been awarded a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship to develop novel computational approaches for human cardiac mapping data, in collaboration with University of Birmingham, King’s College London, George Washington University and clinical centres in the UK and Germany. During this Fellowship, Dr O’Shea will utilise clinical, pre-clinical and computationally modelled datasets and advanced processing and analysis techniques, including cutting edge computational approaches to develop new analysis tools, and further understanding of atrial fibrillation. 


  • PhD in Physical Sciences for Health, University of Birmingham 2020
  • MSc in Physical Sciences for Health, University of Birmingham 2016
  • Mphys (Hons) in Physics, University of Bath 2015


Dr O’Shea graduated with a first class MPhys honours degree in Physics from the University of Bath in 2015.

Dr O’Shea then moved to the University of Birmingham to join the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Centre (EPSRC) funded Physical Sciences for Health doctoral training centre. He completed his PhD in 2020 under the supervision of Dr Davor Pavlovic, Professor Larissa Fabritz (Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences) and Dr Kashif Rajpoot (School of Computer Science). Chris worked on development of novel processing tools and methods for cardiac optical mapping, and application of these tools to dissect molecular mechanisms of cardiac arrhythmias.

In December 2019, Dr O’Shea was awarded a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust. Chris will work with Dr Davor Pavlovic, Dr Martin Bishop (King’s College London) and Professor Igor Efimov (George Washington University) to develop novel computational approaches for human cardiac mapping data and apply these methods to further treatment of atrial fibrillation. 



Dr O’Shea’s research focus is the use of a multi-disciplinary approach, combining computer sciences and physics, to achieve detailed understanding of cardiac arrythmias. Dr O’Shea’s research centres around electroanatomical mapping technologies, used to treat arrhythmias in the clinic, and pre-clinical optical mapping. 

Novel computational approaches for human cardiac mapping data

Electroanatomical mapping is a staple in electrophysiological clinics worldwide. Mapping provides high resolution recording of electrical activity in the heart, and over ten thousand ablation procedures (burning/freezing of cardiac tissue to treat arrhythmia) use mapping technologies in the UK each year. However, very little of this data is used for research and despite the use of the mapping data, many ablation procedures fail, and arrhythmia recurs.

Development of novel and open-source computational tools, using state of the art techniques including artificial intelligence approaches, will further our ability of effectively access and analyse mapping data. This will enable the use of this valuable clinical data to further our knowledge of cardiac arrythmias and how we can best prevent and treat their occurrence. Ultimately, this will allow us to advance treatment of arrythmias such as atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia, improving patient quality of life and reducing stroke, heart attack and sudden death.

Cardiac Optical Mapping

Optical mapping is a pre-clinical fluorescence-based technique that is used to visualise cardiac action potentials and calcium handling at a spatial resolution that is unmatched by other techniques. It has hence revolutionised many areas of cardiac electrophysiology. Our recent work involved the development of open-source software for analysis of the complex datasets produced during optical mapping experiments and has been used by ourselves and several groups worldwide of gain novel insights into arrhythmogenesis.

Research groups and centres


For most up to data full publications list please visit Chris O'Shea's Orchid page.

O'Shea C, Winter J, Holmes AP, Johnson DM, Correia JN, Kirchhof P, Fabritz L, Rajpoot K, Pavlovic D. Temporal irregularity quantification and mapping of optical action potentials using wave morphology similarity. Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2020 Nov;157:84-93. doi: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2019.12.004. Epub 2019 Dec 30. PubMed PMID: 31899215; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7607254.

O'Shea C, Kabir SN, Holmes AP, Lei M, Fabritz L, Rajpoot K, Pavlovic D. Cardiac optical mapping - State-of-the-art and future challenges. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2020 Sep;126:105804. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2020.105804. Epub 2020 Jul 15. PubMed PMID: 32681973; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7456775.

Mendonca Costa C, Anderson GC, Meijborg VMF, O'Shea C, Shattock MJ, Kirchhof P, Coronel R, Niederer S, Pavlovic D, Dhanjal T, Winter J. The Amplitude-Normalized Area of a Bipolar Electrogram as a Measure of Local Conduction Delay in the Heart. Front Physiol. 2020;11:465. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2020.00465. eCollection 2020. PubMed PMID: 32508676; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7248250.

O'Shea C, Pavlovic D, Rajpoot K, Winter J. Examination of the Effects of Conduction Slowing on the Upstroke of Optically Recorded Action Potentials. Front Physiol. 2019;10:1295. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.01295. eCollection 2019. PubMed PMID: 31681008; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6798176.

Dong R*, Mu-U-Min R*, Reith AJM*, O'Shea C*, He S, Duan K, Kou K, Grassam-Rowe A, Tan X, Pavlovic D, Ou X, Lei M. A Protocol for Dual Calcium-Voltage Optical Mapping in Murine Sinoatrial Preparation With Optogenetic Pacing. Front Physiol. 2019;10:954. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.00954. eCollection 2019. PubMed PMID: 31456689; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6698704. *Joint first authors

O'Shea C, Holmes AP, Yu TY, Winter J, Wells SP, Parker BA, Fobian D, Johnson DM, Correia J, Kirchhof P, Fabritz L, Rajpoot K, Pavlovic D. High-Throughput Analysis of Optical Mapping Data Using ElectroMap. J Vis Exp. 2019 Jun 4;(148). doi: 10.3791/59663. PubMed PMID: 31233017.

O'Shea C, Holmes AP, Winter J, Correia J, Ou X, Dong R, He S, Kirchhof P, Fabritz L, Rajpoot K, Pavlovic D. Cardiac Optogenetics and Optical Mapping - Overcoming Spectral Congestion in All-Optical Cardiac Electrophysiology. Front Physiol. 2019;10:182. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.00182. eCollection 2019. Review. PubMed PMID: 30899227; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6416196.

O'Shea C, Holmes AP, Yu TY, Winter J, Wells SP, Correia J, Boukens BJ, De Groot JR, Chu GS, Li X, Ng GA, Kirchhof P, Fabritz L, Rajpoot K, Pavlovic D. ElectroMap: High-throughput open-source software for analysis and mapping of cardiac electrophysiology. Sci Rep. 2019 Feb 4;9(1):1389. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-38263-2. PubMed PMID: 30718782; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6362081

Wen Q, Gandhi K, Capel RA, Hao G, O'Shea C, Neagu G, Pearcey S, Pavlovic D, Terrar DA, Wu J, Faggian G, Camelliti P, Lei M. Transverse cardiac slicing and optical imaging for analysis of transmural gradients in membrane potential and Ca2+ transients in murine heart. J Physiol. 2018 Sep;596(17):3951-3965. doi: 10.1113/JP276239. Epub 2018 Jul 26. PubMed PMID: 29928770; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6117587.

Winter J, Bishop MJ, Wilder CDE, O'Shea C, Pavlovic D, Shattock MJ. Sympathetic Nervous Regulation of Calcium and Action Potential Alternans in the Intact Heart. Front Physiol. 2018;9:16. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.00016. eCollection 2018. PubMed PMID: 29410631; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5787134

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