Research in Cardiology

Cardiology research at the Heart Institute encompasses a broad range of clinical and basic/translational research. Peer-reviewed funding for operating grants for clinical research has increased significantly over the last 5 years.  Cardiology has had large CFI infrastructure grants for cardiac imaging and genetics. Personnel funding for investigators and trainees from peer-reviewed sources has also increased significantly as has productivity in terms of number of peer-reviewed papers in high-impact journals.

In basic/translational research, notable areas of success include the genetics of arrhythmias, a program directed by Dr.  Gollob, who has made seminal contributions to the field including the role of somatic mutations in connexin 40 in atrial fibrillation (NEJM & Circulation).  Dr. McPherson leads a strong program in the genetics of atherosclerosis and its metabolic precedents with recent publications in Science and Nature Genetics and collaborates with a number of UOHI basic scientists including Dr A Stewart.  Dr. O’Brien’s laboratory is focused on vascular biology and has made important findings related to the atheroprotective role of heat shock protein 27 published in Circulation Research, ATVB and Circulation. Dr. Leenen leads a large and well established basic and translational research program in hypertension with a recent focus on the genetic and physiological basis of salt-sensitive hypertension, culminating in multiple publications in top tier journal.  An emerging program in regenerative medicine includes clinician scientists with laboratory (Dr. Darryl Davis) and clinical (Dr. Glover) expertise.

In clinical research, the Division of Cardiology has a well established program in cardiac imaging (Drs. Beanlands, Chow, Ross Davies and Ruddy). Cardiac Imaging has a strong focus on cardiac PET, led by Dr. Beanlands, who has received a notable amount of infrastructure and program support in the last five years.  Cardiac Imaging has expanded to include state-of-the-art small animal imaging and encompasses a number of basic scientists (Drs. Bensimon, de Kemp, DaSilva, Fernando, Glenn Wells, and Wei) and off-campus collaborations culminating in several high impact publications.  Dr. Chow has, in a short period of time, developed a successful program in CT research with several notable publications in JACC and other journals.  MR imaging has become a future priority with the recent recruitment of Dr. Dick.  Interventional cardiology (Drs. Lemay, So, Labinaz) also has a strong and innovative clinical research program, the success of which is epitomized by Dr. Le May’s STEMI initiative (NEJM 2008).  Other interest of the interventional group include outcomes of STEMI patients undergoing primary PCI,  platelet function in patients undergoing PCI (Dr. So), stem cell therapy for acute MI (Drs. Glover and Stewart), vascular biology of restenosis (Dr. O’Brien), intervention in structural heart disease (Drs. Labinaz and Marquis) and role of MRI and CT imaging in cardiac interventions (Dr. Dick).