The Exquisite Machine: The New Science of the Heart: Sian E. Harding

How science is opening up the mysteries of the heart, revealing the poetry in motion within the machine.

Your heart is a miracle in motion, a marvel of construction unsurpassed by any human-made creation. It beats 100,000 times every day—if you were to live to 100, that would be more than 3 billion beats across your lifespan. Despite decades of effort in labs all over the world, we have not yet been able to replicate the heart’s perfect engineering. But, as Sian Harding shows us in The Exquisite Machine, new scientific developments are opening up the mysteries of the heart. And this explosion of new science—ultrafast imaging, gene editing, stem cells, artificial intelligence, and advanced sub-light microscopy—has crucial, real-world consequences for health and well-being.

Harding—a world leader in cardiac research—explores the relation between the emotions and heart function, reporting that the heart not only responds to our emotions, it creates them as well. The condition known as Broken Heart Syndrome, for example, is a real disorder than can follow bereavement or stress. The Exquisite Machine describes the evolutionary forces that have shaped the heart’s response to damage, the astonishing rejuvenating power of stem cells, how we can avoid heart disease, and why it can be so hard to repair a damaged heart. It tells the stories of patients who have had the devastating experiences of a heart attack, chaotic heart rhythms, or stress-induced acute heart failure. And it describes how cutting-edge technologies are enabling experiments and clinical trials that will lead us to new solutions to the worldwide scourge of heart disease.


“How the heart works, how it fails and what can be done about it. A remarkable read from a world renowned researcher.”
—Stephen Westaby, author of the Sunday Times best sellers Fragile Lives and The Knife’s Edge

“This lively account on recent advances in heart research stands out by its accessibility to a broader audience—I just loved her analogies to pastry or “the heart as a city”!”
—Elisabeth Ehler, Professor of Cardiac Cell Biology, King’s College London, author of Cardiac Cytoarchitecture

“Exquisitely packed with facts, this book relates all you need to know about the heart and shares a scientist’s crystal ball of future treatments.”
—Roy Taylor, Professor of Medicine and Metabolism, University of Newcastle, and author of Life Without Diabetes

About the Author

Sian E. Harding, a recognized authority in cardiac science, is Emeritus Professor of Cardiac Pharmacology in the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London, where she led the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences and the BHF Centre for Cardiac Regeneration.

Sian Harding is Emeritus Professor at Imperial College London. She has been Head of the Cardiovascular Division there, as well as Director of the British Heart Foundation Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine Centre. Her work has focused on the myocardium in heart failure, especially beta-adrenergic mechanisms.

She was Scientific PI on the first UK Gene therapy Trial in LVAD patients, aimed at improving cardiac contractility. She has studied the pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte, both for disease modelling and cardiac repair. Professor Harding is former President of the European Section of the International Society for Heart Research and Board member of the British Society of Gene and Cell Therapy.

She was Special Advisor to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee on Regenerative Medicine. Sian has been given a Lifetime Achievement award from the European Society of Cardiology HFA and will receive the Imperial College Medal this year. Her book on the heart “The Exquisite Machine” is to be published in September

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ The MIT Press (September 20, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 232 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0262047144
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0262047142
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 13 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.56 x 0.8 x 8.31 inches

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