Matthew W. Kay

Photo of Professor Michael Kay

Matthew W. Kay


Department: Biomedical Engineering


Office Phone: (202) 994-2898
SEH 5670 | Office Hours: F: 5:00 – 6:30 pm (online)

Dr. Kay’s research team develops innovative technologies to study hypoxia, heart failure, and sleep apnea, with an emphasis on mitochondrial function, arrhythmia mechanisms, and recent emphasis in neurocardiology. His lab has specific expertise in high-speed optical assessments of organ level physiology, including optical mapping, time-resolved absorbance spectroscopy, and neurocardiac optogenetics. Panoramic optical mapping of membrane potential is used to study the spatiotemporal dynamics of arrhythmias. NADH imaging provides insight into mitochondrial metabolic fluctuations during myocardial ischemia and reperfusion. High-speed optical spectroscopy quantifies intracellular alterations of myoglobin oxygenation and mitochondrial redox state during high cardiac workloads and acute hypoxia.

Dr. Kay’s collaborative work is providing new insights into the relationship between cardiac ischemia, hypoxia, and workload, and their synergistic alteration of myocardial electrical activity and how that may cause arrhythmias. Other accomplishments of Dr. Kay’s team are in the control of the cardiac neuronal network using technologies that target specific populations of cells. Dr. Kay’s collaborative work in neurocardiology has demonstrated how specific expression of light activated channels (optogenetics) in the autonomic nerves of mice provides unparalleled spatiotemporal control of neurotransmitter release from cardiac neurons. Dr. Kay and his collaborators have also shown how increasing cardiac parasympathetic tone via viral expression of DREADDs (chemogenetics) in oxytocin secreting neurons of the hypothalamus improves cardiac function during myocardial infarction, heart failure, and sleep apnea. Each of these exciting accomplishments provides deeper insight into the development of new clinical devices and pharmaceutical therapies to prevent sudden cardiac death and to reduce the debilitating impact of sleep apnea and heart failure.

Collections of Dr. Kay’s publications can be found here:

Web of Science ResearcherID: AAH-7336-2019

ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2756-5055

  • B.S.M.E., North Carolina State University, 1993
  • M.S.B.E., North Carolina State University, 1996
  • D.S.B.M.E., Washington University in St. Louis, 2000
  • Postdoctoral, University of Alabama, 2001

A complete list of Dr. Kay’s publications can be found here: AAH-7336-2019

  • Dyavanapalli J, Gonzalez JR, dos Santos CR, Dwyer MK, Schloen J, Lee K, Wolaver W, Wang X, Michelini LC, Schunke KJ, Spurney CF, Kay MW, Mendelowitz D. Activation of oxytocin neurons improves cardiac function and mortality in a pressure overload model of heart failure. To appear in JACC: Basic to Translational Science, March 2020.
  • Dergacheva O, Fleury-Curado T, Polotsky VY, Kay MW, Jain V, Mendelowitz D. GABA and glycine neurons from the ventral medullary region inhibit hypoglossal motoneurons. SLEEP Journal, December 2019, 1-8.
  • Moreno A, Endicott K, Skancke M, Dwyer MK, Brennan J, Efimov IR, Trachiotis G, Mendelowitz D, Kay MW. Sudden Heart Rate Reduction Upon Optogenetic Release of Acetylcholine from Cardiac Parasympathetic Neurons in Perfused Hearts. Frontiers in Physiology, 10, 1–11, 2019.
  • Kuzmiak-Glancy, S, Covian, R, Femnou, AN, Glancy, B, Jaimes, R, III, Wengrowski, AM, Garrott, K, French, S, Balaban, RS, Kay, MW. Cardiac performance is limited by oxygen delivery to the mitochondria in the crystalloid-perfused working heart. Am. J. Physiol. - Hear. Circ. Physiol. 314, H704–H715, 2018.
  • Femnou AN, Kuzmiak-Glancy S, Covian R, Giles AV, Kay MW, Balaban RS. Intracardiac Light Catheter for Transmural Absorbance Spectroscopy of Perfused Myocardium: Measurement of Myoglobin Oxygenation and Mitochondria Redox State. Am. J. Physiol. - Hear. Circ. Physiol.313, H1199–H1208, 2017.
  • Garrott K, Dyavanapalli J, Cauley E, Dwyer MK, Kuzmiak-Glancy S, Wang X, Mendelowitz D, Kay MW. Chronic activation of hypothalamic oxytocin neurons improves cardiac function during left ventricular hypertrophy-induced heart failure. Cardiovascular Research 2017; 18:32–39.
  • Moreno A, Kuzmiak-Glancy S, Jaimes R, III, Kay MW. Enzyme-dependent fluorescence recovery of NADH after photobleaching to assess dehydrogenase activity of isolated perfused hearts. Nature Scientific Reports, 7: 45744, 2017.
  • Garrott K, Kuzmiak-Glancy S, Wengrowski A, Zhang H, Rogers JM, Kay MW. KATP channel inhibition blunts electromechanical decline during hypoxia in left ventricular working rabbit hearts. The Journal of Physiology, 595: 3799–3813, 2017.
  • GWU BME Department Associate Chair for Research and Graduate Affairs, 2015-2018
  • GWU SEAS 2016 Faculty Recognition Award
  • GWU SEAS 2011 Faculty Recognition Award
  • GWU SEAS Outstanding Young Researcher Award, 2011
  • Professional Engineer, 2000
  • NASPE Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology, 2000
  • Member: AHA, APS, HRS, BMES


Extramural Grant Support

Dr. Kay has an established record in successfully securing extramural funding for highly collaborative cross-disciplinary research projects. This includes the recent grants listed below.

  • The National Institutes of Health (R01-HL146169) 12/01/18 - 11/30/23. Matthew Kay’s role:  Principal Investigator
  • “Hypothalamic neuron activation to blunt myocardial remodeling during chronic sleep apnea”. This is a collaborative project with Key Personnel and Co-Investigator David Mendelowitz
  • The National Institutes of Health (R01-HL144157) 12/01/18 - 11/30/23. Matthew Kay’s role:  Multi-Principal Investigator with Emilia Entcheva (contact PI). “Scalable platform for optimizing human cardiac tissue engineering via optical pacing and on-demand oxygenation”
  • The National Institutes of Health (R01-HL133862) 06/01/16 - 05/31/21. Matthew Kay’s role:  Key Personnel and Co-Investigator. PI: David Mendelowitz, PhD. “Restoration of cardiac parasympathetic activity in heart failure”
  • The National Institutes of Health (R01-HL147279) 04/10/20 - 03/31/24. Matthew Kay’s role:  Multi-Principal Investigator with David Mendelowitz (contact PI). “Novel Mechanisms that Restore Cardiac Parasympathetic Activity Limits Arrhythmias and Cardiac Dysfunction After Myocardial Infarction”
  • The American Heart Association (18PRE34030376) 07/01/2018 - 06/30/2020. Predoctoral Fellowship for Frederick Zasadny, MSc. Matthew Kay’s role: Mentor to the PI (Frederick Zasadny, MSc). “Rapid spectral mapping of ventricular absorbance to quantify homeostatic energetics in failing hearts”
  • The American Heart Association (18CDA34080353) 07/01/2018 - 06/30/2021. Career Development Award for Kathryn Schunke, PhD. Matthew Kay’s role: Sponsor and mentor of the PI (Kathryn Schunke, PhD). “HIF-1 Activity can be inhibited by PRKCBP1 in the heart”


Reviewing Editor for the follow journals

  • AJP-Heart and Circulatory Physiology (Editorial Board Member), 2018-Present
  • Experimental Physiology, 2017-Present
  • Frontiers in Physiology, 2018-Present


Peer Review Service

  • Peer review activity available on Publons
  • More than 120 reviews provided for more than 20 scientific journals
  • Average of 435 words per review


 Recent GW and Professional Service (subset)

  • SEAS Personnel Subcommittee (2020 co-Chair)
  • GWU Office of Animal Research Faculty Advisory Committee (Chair)
  • Facilities Working Group of the OAR Advisory Committee (Chair)
  • Resource Allocation Working Group of Phase II of the GW Research Ecosystem Review (Chair)
  • Post-Award Working Group of Phase I of the GW Research Ecosystem Review (Chair)
  • GWU SEAS Research and Design Showcase (co-Chief Judge and Chair of Awards Comm)
  • GWU Institute of Biomedical Sciences 5-year Review Committee (co-Chair)
  • GWU Faculty Senate Research Committee (member and working group leader)
  • Internal Advisory Board for the SEAS Center for Women in Engineering (AB member)
  • BME Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (member)
  • BME Research Committee (member)
  • DC region chapter of the American Physiological Society (Chapter Advisory Committee Chair)
  • Substantial service as a peer reviewer for the NIH Center for Scientific Review, 2013-now


  • US Patent Number 9,014,789 (April 21, 2015): Mercader MA, Kay MW, Sarvazyan NA. Systems and methods for visualizing ablated tissue. All inventors provided equal intellectual contribution to this technology.
  • US CIP Patent Number 9,084,611 (July 21, 2015): Amirana, O, Armstrong, KC, Kay MW, Mercader M, Ransbury, T, Sarvazyan NA. Systems and methods for visualizing ablated tissue. All inventors provided equal intellectual contribution to this technology