Joseph M. Starobin, Ph.D.

Joseph M. Starobin, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Nanoscience

Phone: (336) 285-2871
Curriculum Vitae: PDF, December 2017

Prof. Starobin’s professional career has been devoted to the application of methods of theoretical, mathematical and computational physics to cardiovascular research. In collaboration with his colleagues at MIT and Naval Research Laboratory he has developed an exactly solvable reaction-diffusion model. The Chernyak-Starobin-Cohen model allows one to determine analytically the stable steady-state wave-train solutions and to compute basic cycle length curves that describe the underlying properties of wave propagation in excitable media. A major product of his earlier research was the development and implementation of the theoretical analysis of reaction-diffusion media for predicting cardiac ischemia and malignant cardiac arrhythmias under conditions of quasi-stationary exercise.

The emphasis of Prof. Starobin’s current research is on improving the quality of electrophysiological data collection with MEMS and nano-enabled sensors. This work along with the extensive mathematical modeling of the dynamics of non-linear waves will eventually result in clinical implementation of the methods that he has developed so far using smaller, smarter and less costly electrophysiological devices.

  1. Development of noninvasive methods and miniature devices for assessing cardiovascular stress in asymptomatic population
  2. Experimental and theoretical methods of non-invasive diagnostics of coronary artery disease and cardiac arrhythmias.
  3. Design and control of peripheral neural interfaces
  4. Mathematical modeling of cognitive processes and memory in the brain
  5. Theory of nonlinear waves in excitable media.

UNC Board of Governors teaching award article Heart Research supported by NSF I-Corps grant article


2016, 2015      Honoree, Faculty Excellence in Research and Creative Activity

2015                 UNC Board of Governors Teaching Excellence Award

2012, 2014      Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering Teaching Excellence Awards


  1. J.M.Starobin, S.S.Gilani, S.Aravamudhan Applications of micro/nanotechnology to design and control of neural interfaces. In: Kelkar A. (ed.) Advances in Nanoscience and Nanoengineering.CRC Press, 2014: 51-65
  2. J.M. Starobin, Y. B. Chernyak, A role of a critical excitation length scale in dynamics of reentrant cardiac arrhythmias, Herz Schrittmachertherapie & Electro-physiologie, 1999, 10(2): 119-136
  3. Y.B.Chernyak and J.M.Starobin, Characteristic and critical excitation length scales in 1D and 2D simulations of reentrant cardiac arrhythmias using simple two-variable models. Critical Reviews in Biomedical Engineering, 1999, 27: 359 – 414
  4. C.F.Starmer and J.M.Starobin, Antiarrhythmic and proarrhythmic mechanisms in cardiac tissue: Linking spiral waves, reentrant arrhythmias and electrocardiographic patterns. In: Spooner P.M., Joyner R.W., Jalife J. (eds.) Discontinuous Conduction in the Heart. Futura Publishing Company, Armonk, NY, 1997, pp.321-394


    1. S.R.Meier, J.L.Lancaster, D. Fetterhoff, R.A.Kraft, R.E.Hampson and J.M.Starobin The relationship between Nernst equilibrium variability and the multifractality of interspike intervals in the hippocampus, Journal of Computational Neuroscience, 2016, DOI 10.1007/s10827-016-0633-5
    2. K.Kosaraju, J.L.Lancaster, S.R.Meier, S.Crawford, S.Hurley, S.Aravamudhan and J.M.Starobin Non-invasive evaluation of cardiac repolarization in mice exposed to single-wall carbon nanotubes and ceria nanoparticles via intratracheal instillation, Environmental Science: Nano, 2016, 3, 611-618
    3. M. S. Hazari, J. L. Lancaster, J. M. Starobin, A. K. Farraj and W. E. Cascio. Diesel exhaust worsens cardiac conduction instability in dobutamine-challenged Wistar-Kyoto and spontaneously hypertensive rats, Cardiovascular Toxicology, 2016.
    4. S.R.Meier, J.L.Lancaster, J.M.Starobin, Bursting regimes in a reaction-diffusion system with action potential-dependent equilibrium. PLoS ONE, 2015, 10(3):e0122401. Doi:10.1371/journal. Pone. 0122401
    5. J.L.Lancaster, T.Antonijevic, J.M.Starobin, Odering and stability in lipid droplets with applications to low-density lipoproteins. Physical Review E, 2014, 89:062708
    6. S.A.Vance, E.Zeidan, L.B.Williams, J.M.Starobin, and M.G.Sandros, An easy method to synthesize carbon-coated quantum dots. Nano LIFE, 2013, 3: 1340006(1-6)
    7. J.M.Starobin and V.Varadarajan, Entrainment of marginally stable excitation waves by spatially extended sub-threshold periodic forcing. Nonlinear Biomedical Physics, 2011, 5:8
    8. C.P.Danford, V.Varadarajan, A.J.Starobin, V.N.Polotski, and J.M.Starobin, Cardiac restitution and electrographic stress testing. J. of Electrocardiology, 2009, 42: 619
    9. J.M.Starobin, C.P.Danford, V.Varadarajan, A.J.Starobin, and V.N.Polotski, Critical scale of propagation influences dynamics of waves in a model of excitable medium. Nonlinear Biomedical Physics, 2009, 3:4
    10. V.N.Polotski , V.Varadarajan, A.J.Starobin, C.P.Danford , W.E. Cascio, T.A.Johnson, and J.M.Starobin, Relation between cardiac restitution and flow limitation in an experimental model of coronary artery disease. J. of Electrocardiology, 2008, 41: 646
    11. J.M.Starobin, W.E. Cascio, A.H.Goldfarb, V.Varadarajan, A.J.Starobin, C.P.Danford and T.A.Johnson, Identifying coronary flow reduction and ischemia using quasi-stationary QT/RR interval hysteresis measurements. J. of Electrocardiology, 2007, 40: S91 – S96
    12. M.S.Lauer, C.E.Pothier, Y.B.Chernyak, R.Brunken, M.Lieber, C.Apperson-Hansen and J.M.Starobin, Exercise-induced QT/RR interval hysteresis as a predictor of myocardial ischemia. J. of Electrocardiology, 2006, 39: 315-323
    13. I.B.Schwartz, I.Triandaf, J.M.Starobin and Y.B.Chernyak, Origin of quasiperiodic dynamics in excitable media. Phys. Rev. E, 2000, 61: 7208 – 7211
    14. Y.B.Chernyak, J.M.Starobin and R.J.Cohen, Where do dispersion curves end? A basic question in theory of excitable media. Phys. Rev. E, 1998, 58: 4108-4111
    15. Y.B.Chernyak, J.M.Starobin and R.J.Cohen, Class of exactly solvable models of excitable media. Phys. Rev. Letters, 1998, 80: 5675-5678
    16. J.M.Starobin, C.F.Starmer and A.J.Starobin, Boundary-layer analysis of a spiral wave core: Spiral core radius and conditions for the tip separation from the core boundary. Phys. Rev. E, 1997, 56: 3757-3760
    17. J.M.Starobin and C.F.Starmer, A common mechanism links spiral wave meandering and wavefront-obstacle separation. Phys. Rev. E, 1997, 55: 1193-1196
    18. C.F.Starmer and J.M.Starobin, Spiral tip movement: The role of the action potential wavelength in polymorphic cardiac arrhythmias. International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos, 1996, 6, 1909-1923
    19. J.M.Starobin and C.F.Starmer, Boundary layer analysis of waves propagating in an excitable medium: Medium conditions for wavefront-obstacle separation. Phys. Rev. E, 1996, 54: 430-437
    20. J.M.Starobin, Y.I.Zilberter, E.M.Rusnak and C.F.Starmer, Wavelet formation in excitable cardiac tissue: The role of wavefront-obstacle interactions in initiating high frequency fibrillatory-like arrhythmias. Biophysical Journal, 1996, 70:581-594
    21. Y.I.Zilberter, C.F.Starmer, J.M.Starobin and A.O.Grant, Background sodium current and electrical instabilities in cardiac cells. Biophysical Journal, 1995, 68, part 2, A158
    22. C.F.Starmer, D.N.Romashko, R.S.Reddy, Y.I.Zilberter, J.M.Starobin, A.O.Grant and V.I.Krinsky, Proarrhythmic response to potassium channel blockade: Numerical studies of polymorphic tachyarrhythmias. Circulation, 1995, 92:595-605
    23. S.V.Biryukov, V.A. Il’in, M.D. Kitaigorodskii, I.A.Semin, N.V.Soina, J.M.Starobin, Absorption of microwave radiation by end-coupled Josephson junctions in the wideband-detection regime. J. of Communications Technology and Electronics, 1994, 34(12):105-107
    24. Y.I.Zilberter, C.F.Starmer, J.M.Starobin and A.O.Grant, Late Na channels in cardiac cells: The physiological role of background Na channels. Biophysical Journal, 1994, 67:153-160
    25. J.M.Starobin, Y.I.Zilberter and C.F.Starmer, Vulnerability in one-dimensional excitable media. Physica D, 1994, 70:321-341
    26. V.N.Polotskii and J.M.Starobin, Maximum efficiency of peristaltic transport, Fluid Dynamics, 1993, 28(2):289-293
    27. J.M.Starobin, N.V.Soina, S.V.Biryukov and A.B.Ozherel’ev, Electromagnetic characteristics of the superconducting microwave waveguide elements in the resistive state. Superconductivity, 1990, part 1, 3(10):1611-1619
    28. V.N.Aleksandrov, E.M.Gershenson, G.N.Gol’tsman, J.M.Starobin and V.N.Trifonov, Optimization of the sensitive element of a superconducting film bolometer. Superconductivity (Sov. Sverkhprovodimost’: Fizika, Khimiya, Tekhnika), 1990, part 1, 3(8):1407-1415
    29. J.M.Starobin, On the influence of edge effects on the scattering of electromagnetic waves by a thin metallic strip in a rectangular waveguide. J. of Communications Technology and Electronics, 1990 35(14):131-134
    30. J.M.Starobin, Scattering of electromagnetic waves by a resistive metal strip grating on a dielectric substrate in a rectangular waveguide. J. of Communications Technology and Electronics (Sov. Akademiya Nauk, Radiotekhnika I Elektronika), 1991, 36(7):24-29
    31. J.M.Starobin, Electromagnetic wave scattering by metal resistive strips grating on a dielectric substrate. University News, Radio Physics, 1990 33(5):639-642
    32. S.V.Biryukov, N.V.Soina and J.M.Starobin, Mathematical modeling of electromagnetic wave scattering on film waveguide bolometers. Electrical Engineering: UHF Electronics, 1989, 2(416):23-25 (in Russian)
    33. S.V.Biryukov and J.M.Starobin, Mathematical modeling of electromagnetic wave scattering by resistive strips in a rectangular waveguide. Electrical Engineering: UHF Electronics (Sov. Elektronnaya tekhnika: Seriya 1, Elektronika SVCh), 1989 1(415):28-31 (in Russian)
    34. J.M.Starobin, N.V.Soina and S.V.Biryukov, Scattering of electromagnetic waves by a thin conductive strip in a rectangular waveguide. University News, Radio Physics (Sov. Izvestiya Vuzov, Radiofizika), 1988 31(12):1536-1539
    35. J.M.Starobin, Comparative analysis of viscous flows in cavities and channels containing axisymmetrical obstacles. Fluid Dynamics, 1988, 23(3):372-377
    36. J.M.Starobin, S.P.Lupachev, R.V.Dolgopolov and Yu.A.Morov, Analysis of hydrodynamics losses for various types of aortic valves. Mechanics of Composite Materials, 1985 21(3):349-354
    37. J.M.Starobin and V.M.Zaiko, Numerical modeling of blood flow in the ventricular cavity of the artificial heart. Artificial Organs, 1983, 7(1):122-125
    38. J.M.Starobin and V.M.Zaiko, Mathematical modeling of blood flow in cavities with moving boundaries. In: Modern Problems of Biomechanics (Sov. Sovremennye Problemy Biomekhaniki), Riga Academy Press, 1983, 1:59-72 (in Russian)
    39. V.M.Zaiko, J.M.Starobin, A.N.Sharikov and Yu.V.Saakyan, Computerized system of scientific research in artificial heart problems II. Methods and Software. In: Problems of Cybernetics, Implementation of mathematical methods and computers in cardiology and surgery (Sov. Voprosy Kibernetiki, Primenenie Matematicheskikh Metodov I Vychislitel’noy Tekhniki v Kardiologii I Khirurgii), Science, Moscow, 1983, 65-87 (in Russian)
    40. J.M.Starobin, Flow of a viscous liquid in a bent tube of finite length undergoing deformation. Fluid Dynamics, 1981, (16)2:301-304
    41. J.M.Starobin, Flow of a viscous liquid in the gap between a moving and a fixed sphere at low Reynolds numbers. Fluid Dynamics (Sov. Izvestiya Akademii Nauk, Mekhanika Zhidkosti I Gaza), 1980, 15(6):938-941
    42. V.M.Zaiko, A.V.Utkin and J.M.Starobin, Numerical modeling of the peristaltic fluid flow in a tube with a wall that deforms according to a harmonic law. Mechanics of Composite Materials, 1979, 15(5):597-600
    43. J.M.Starobin and V.M.Zaiko, Numerical study of the flow of a viscous fluid through a deforming tube. Mechanics of Composite Materials, 1979, 15(4):427-431
    44. V.M.Zaiko, J.M.Starobin and A.V.Utkin, Numerical simulation of the movement of a viscous fluid (blood) in a tube with an actively deforming wall. Mechanics of Composite Materials (Sov. Mekhanika Kompozitnykh Materialov), 1979, 15(3):301-306
    45. V.I.Shumakov, V.M.Zaiko and J.M.Starobin, Numerical modeling of the motion of a disk mitral valve in the left cardiac ventricle. Polymer Mechanics (Sov. Mekhanika Polimerov), 1978, 14(3):407-412
  1. J.M. Starobin, V. Varadarajan, W. Krassowska Neu, and S.F. Idriss, Method and system for evaluating stability of propagation reserve, U.S. Patent Application No.14/130,363, Published: August 28, 2014 (pending)
  2. J. M. Starobin and V. Varadarajan, Method and system of stimulation of nerve tissue with a sequence of spatially distributed resonant sub-threshold electrical stimuli, U.S. Patent No. 8, 855,787, 2014
  3. J.M.Starobin and Y.B.Chernyak Method and system for evaluating arrhythmia risk with QT-RR interval data sets, US Patent No.7,123,953, 2006
  4. J.M.Starobin and Y.B.Chernyak Method and system for evaluating cardiac ischemia with an exercise protocol, US Patent No.7,104,961, 2006
  5. J.M.Starobin and Y.B.Chernyak Method and system for evaluating cardiac ischemia with heart rate feedback, US Patent No.6,768,919, 2004
  6. J.M.Starobin and Y.B.Chernyak Method and system for evaluating and locating cardiac ischemia, US Patent No. 6,648,829, 2003
  7. J.M.Starobin and Y.B.Chernyak Method and system for evaluating cardiac ischemia with an abrupt stop exercise protocol, US Patent No. 6,648,830, 2003
  8. J.M.Starobin and Y.B.Chernyak Method and system for evaluating cardiac ischemia with RR-interval data sets, US Patent No.6,652,467, 2003
  9. J.M.Starobin and Y.B.Chernyak Method and system for evaluating cardiac ischemia with RR-interval data sets and pulse or blood pressure monitoring, US Patent No. 6,656,126, 2003
  10. J.M.Starobin and Y.B.Chernyak Method and system for evaluating cardiac ischemia, US Patent No. 6,663,572, 2003
  11. J.M.Starobin and Y.B.Chernyak Method and system for evaluating cardiac ischemia, US Patent No. 6,361,503, 2002
  12. S.P.Dolgopolov, G.V.Morov, and J.M.Starobin Hydrodynamic device for testing the heart artificial valves, 1986, USSR patent No. 1299586
  13. J.M.Starobin and V.M.Zaiko Method of testing the cardio-vascular system during cardio-surgical operations, 1986, USSR patent No. 1263223