Trainees

Current Trainees

 

Daniel K. Fox, M.D., Ph.D.

Cardiology Fellow, Washington University School of Medicine

Our primary area of study is focused on studying the spillover effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on cardiovascular care. We have focused our efforts on ascertaining how this viral pandemic affects utilization and outcomes for cardiovascular conditions (HF, AMI, stroke, arrhythmia), with the hypothesis that deferred care during COVID is associated with worsening clinical outcomes.

A second area of study is focused on understanding how value-based and alternative payment models impact utilization and outcomes. Specifically, we are examining the impact of the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement-Advanced initiative on cardiovascular outcomes. We are also focused on determining which hospitals succeed (teaching, non-teaching), which patients succeed (young, old), whether there are differences in inpatient vs. outpatient Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), and whether there are unintended consequences for patient populations (poor, frail).

Gmerice Hammond, MD, PhD

The goal of my research is to understand the impact of health care policy on vulnerable populations challenged by social determinants of health. I seek to understand how health care policies, particularly value based payment models positively or negatively influence health care systems to address the needs of socially high risk populations. My work also examines ways to bring social determinants of health into clinical risk prediction models in order to reduce inequities in cardiovascular risk prediction and the resultant inequitable distribution of preventive services and treatments.

Recent Publication:

Hammond G, Joynt Maddox KE. A Theoretical Framework for Clinical Implementation of Social Determinants of Health. JAMA Cardiol. 2019;4(12):1189-1190. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2019.3805

Hammond G, Luke AA, Elson L, Towfighi A, Joynt Maddox KE. Urban-Rural Inequities in Acute Stroke Care and In-Hospital Mortality. Stroke. 2020;51(7):2131-2138. doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.120.029318

Hammond G, Johnston K, Huang K, Joynt Maddox KE. Social Determinants of Health Improve Predictive Accuracy of Clinical Risk Models for Cardiovascular Hospitalization, Annual Cost, and Death. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2020;13(6):e006752. doi:10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.120.006752

Jesus Jimenez, MD, PhD

Overarching goal is to understand how CD40 signaling, an emerging immune checkpoint target, reshapes cardiac macrophage composition and behavior in the context of two common cardiac comorbidities, hypertensive heart disease and myocardial infarction.

Recent Publication:

Lipovsky CE*, Jimenez J* et al. Chamber-specific transcriptional responses in atrial fibrillation. JCI Insight. 2020;135319.

Jimenez J, Rentschler SL. DNA damage prediction tool: Don’t go breaking my heart. JACC Basic Transl Sci. 2019 Oct 28;4(6):681-683.

Jimenez J, Rentschler SL. Transcriptional and Epigenetic Regulation of Cardiac Electrophysiology. Pediatr Cardiol. 2019 Oct;40(7):1325-1330.

Benjamin Kopecky M.D. Ph.D.

Macrophages are the most abundant donor immune cell at the time of transplant.  Recent paradigm shifting studies have shown remarkable heterogeneity among tissue resident macrophages.  I am working toward broadening our understanding of donor macrophage activation and interaction with the recipient immune populations at the time of heart transplantation.  Insights gained can be translated towards prevention or earlier intervention of primary graft dysfunction and acute cellular rejection.

Recent Publication:

Kopecky BJ, et al. Role of donor macrophages after heart and lung transplantation. Am J Transplant. 2020 May;20(5):1225-1235.

David Rawnsley, M.D. Ph.D.

My research focuses on the role of lysosomes and autophagy in immune cells and cardiomyocytes in the setting of myocardial injury and repair.

Recent Publications:

Rawnsley DR., et al. Lysosome impairment as a trigger for inflammation in obesity: The proof is in the fat. EBioMedicine. 2020 Jun;56:102824.

 

Erica Young, MD

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the leading cause of mortality worldwide and is heritable. Numerous genetics studies have identified common variants that are associated with CAD risk in European populations, but our knowledge of the biological mechanisms that lead to CAD remains incomplete. My research uses whole genome sequencing data from multi-ethnic populations to advance our understanding of the pathogenesis of CAD and improve our ability to predict disease risk.

Recent Publication:

Young EP and Stitziel NO. Capitalizing on Insights from Human Genetics to Identify Novel Therapeutic Targets for Coronary Artery Disease. Annu. Rev. Med. 2019. 70:19-32.

 

 

Former Trainees

Luigi Adamo, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Johns Hopkins University

“B lymphocytes are the second most prevalent leukocyte population in the heart and they have been shown to play a key role in the myocardial response to injury. Surprisingly very little is known about them. I am working to broaden our understanding of the biology of myocardial B lymphocytes with the goal of the developing innovative B cell focused therapies for the treatment of heart failure.”

Recent Publications:

Adamo L, et al. The Emerging Role of B Lymphocytes in Cardiovascular Disease. Annu Rev Immunol. 2020 Apr 26;38:99-121.

Adamo L, et al. Myocardial B cells are a subset of circulating lymphocytes with delayed transit through the heart. JCI Insight. 2020 Feb 13;5(3):e134700.

Joshua Brettmann, PhD

Senior scientist at Millipore Sigma

Kir2.1 is crucial for setting the resting membrane potential and misregulation of this channel have significant impact on the timing of cardiac action potentials, with mutations leading to both long and short QT syndromes. My project looks to understand the molecular mechanism of this crucial channel by using single molecule FRET to determine the structural and dynamic consequences of lipid binding.

Recent Publications:

Wang S, et al. Studying Structural Dynamics of Potassium Channels by Single-Molecule FRET. Methods Mol Biol. 2018;1684:163-180.

Brettmann JB, et al. Role of protein dynamics in ion selectivity and allosteric coupling in the NaK channel. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Dec 15;112(50):15366-71.

Peter Crawford, MD, PhD

Professor, Departments of Medicine, and Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics
Vice Chair for Research, Department of Medicine
Director, Division of Molecular Medicine
University of Minnesota

 

Our group performs studies in animal models and humans to learn how alterations of ketone metabolism and related pathways may serve as diagnostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets for obesity, diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD/NASH), and heart failure. We leverage recent advances in stable isotope tracer based NMR and mass spectrometry-based untargeted metabolomics technologies to study metabolism on a systems level, and we also employ established techniques in molecular cell biology and biochemistry to reveal phenotypic shifts at the cellular level.

Recent Publication:

d’Avignon DA, et al. Hepatic ketogenic insufficiency reprograms hepatic glycogen metabolism and the lipidome. JCI Insight. 2018 Jun 21;3(12).

Sharon Cresci, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine (Tenured) and Associate Professor of Genetics, Washington University School of Medicine

 

The focus of my research is the association of genetic variation with clinical outcomes in patients with cardiovascular disease and in the variable response to pharmacologic treatment. I have specific interest in (1) the contribution of genetic variation to racial disparities in response to medical treatments used to treat coronary syndromes and in outcomes in patients with coronary artery disease and (2) defining the functional mechanism of these genetic associations; the ultimate goal of my research is to promote and advance precision medicine approaches.

Recent Publication:

Cresci S, et al. Cytochrome p450 gene variants, race, and mortality amongclopidogrel-treated patients after acute myocardial infarction. Circ CardiovascGenet. 2014 Jun;7(3):277-86.

Slava Epelman, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine
University of Toronto
Loretta Rogers Chair in Immunobioengineering
Toronto General Hospital Research Institute
Peter Munk Cardiac Centre

 

We study cardiac immune cell heterogeneity and the role of individual immune cell subsets in cardiac tissue injury, repair and regeneration.

Recent Publication:

Clemente-Casares X, et al. A CD103(+) Conventional Dendritic Cell Surveillance System PreventsDevelopment of Overt Heart Failure during Subclinical Viral Myocarditis.Immunity. 2017 Nov 21;47(5):974-989.

Brian Finck, PhD

Associate Professor in Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine

 

The Finck lab studies basic aspects of intermediary metabolism in heart, skeletal muscle, and liver. We have ongoing projects to study the role of key proteins that control lipid synthesis and mitochondrial metabolism of fatty acids and pyruvate.

 

Recent Publication:

McCommis KS, et al. Loss of Mitochondrial Pyruvate Carrier 2 in the Liver Leads to Defects in Gluconeogenesis and Compensation via Pyruvate-Alanine Cycling. Cell Metab. 2015 Oct 6;22(4):682-94.

Christopher Holley, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Duke University

 

The goal of my laboratory at Duke University is to understand how emerging aspects of RNA biology contribute to cardiovascular health and disease, then translate those findings into novel therapeutic approaches for patients. Right now, I am particularly interested in studying how non-coding RNAs and RNA modifications play a role in heart failure.

Recent Publication:

Fry NJ, et al. N(6)-methyladenosine is required for the hypoxic stabilization of specific mRNAs. RNA. 2017Sep;23(9):1444-1455.

Ali Javaheri, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine

Ali Javaheri’s research broadly focuses on the role of lipoproteins in inter-organ cross talk and organ injury. The laboratory is presently focused on the role of apolipoprotein M, a lipoprotein that binds the bioactive lipid sphingosine-1-phosphate. The Javaheri laboratory utilized human, murine, and in vitro models to better understand the role of lipoproteins in disease relevant models ranging from heart failure, chemotherapy-induced cardiotoxicity to sepsis.

Recent Publication:

Javaheri A, et al. Circulating Ceramide 16:0 in Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2020 May 5;75(17):2273-2275.

Javaheri A, et al. TFEB activation in macrophages attenuates postmyocardial infarction ventricular dysfunction independently of ATG5-mediated autophagy. JCI Insight. 2019 Nov 1;4(21):e127312.

David Lanfear, MD

Head, Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology, Professor of Medicine, Henry Ford Hospital

 

Research focus is genomics and precision medicine for heart failure, HF clinical trials, and the care of the adv. Hf patients (LVAD outcomes, pt selection, etc.).

 

 

Recent Publication:

Lanfear DE,et al.Targeted Metabolomic Profiling of Plasma and Survival in Heart Failure Patients. JACC Heart Fail. 2017 Nov;5(11):823-832.

Kory Lavine, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, Washington University School of Medicine

The primary goal of our laboratory is to identify new approaches to treat patients with heart failure. Specific projects in the laboratory are focused on unraveling the mechanisms that initiate disease pathogenesis using a precision medicine approach and defining the role of the immune system in cardiac tissue homeostasis, heart failure progression, and myocardial tissue repair.

Recent Publication:

Bajpai G, et al.Thehuman heart contains distinct macrophage subsets with divergent origins andfunctions. Nat Med. 2018 Jun 11. doi: 10.1038/s41591-018-0059-x. [Epub ahead ofprint].

Chien-Jung Lin, MD, PhD

My work focuses on the role of extracellular matrix on the development and remodeling of blood vessels.

Recent Publications:

Lin CJ, et al. Genetics of the extracellular matrix in aortic aneurysmal diseases. Matrix Biol. 2018 Apr 12. [Epub ahead of print].

Lin CJ, et al. Insurance access in adults with congenital heart disease in the Affordable Care Act era. Congenit Heart Dis. 2018 Feb 26. [Epub ahead of print].

Reinhardt S, et al. Non-invasive cardiac testing versus clinical evaluation alone in acute chest pain. JAMA Int Med. 2018 Feb 1;178(2):212-9.

Lin CJ, et al. Cardiomyopathy in patients after posttransplant cyclophosphamide–based hematopoietic cell transplantation. Cancer. 2017 Mar 15;123(10):1800-9.

Jonathan Moreno, MD PhD

Instructor of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine

My research focus is on utilizing computational approaches to mathematically describe the biology of ion channels, which are critically important for cellular excitability. These models allow us to design better treatment strategies for the pharmacological management of heart failure and arrhythmia. Using computational tools and clinical datasets, I also am interested in drug-repositioning – using old drugs for new targets in novel ways. My current project is focused on building a computational model of the cardiac Na+ channel that incorporates voltage clamp fluorometry data (VCF) to track voltage-sensing domain (VSD) movement of the Na+ channel during an action potential. By incorporating VSD kinetics into a multi-scale model of the heartbeat, we can better understand the molecular movements that drive antiarrhythmic efficacy (or failure) of certain long-QT mutation carriers in response to commonly prescribed anti arrhythmic drugs.

Recent Publication:

Moreno JD, et al. A Molecularly Detailed NaV1.5 Model Reveals a New Class I Antiarrhythmic Target. JACC Basic Transl Sci. 2019 Oct 28;4(6):736-751. 

Moreno JD, et al. Predicting Patient Response to the Antiarrhythmic Mexiletine Based on Genetic Variation. Circ Res. 2019 Feb 15;124(4):539-552.

Babak Razani, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine -and- Pathology/Immunology
Washington University School of Medicine

 

Babak Razani’s research broadly focuses on the mechanisms of atherosclerosis and related
metabolic conditions. We have taken a particular interest in the autophagy-lysosome system
as it is a cellular process that appears to be affected in a variety of these diseases.

Recent Publication:

Sergin I, et al. Exploitingmacrophage autophagy-lysosomal biogenesis as a therapy for atherosclerosis. NatCommun. 2017 Jun 7;8:15750.

Michael Sack, MD, PhD

Chief, Cardiovascular Branch, Division of Intramural Research NHLBI and Director of Laboratory of Mitochondrial Biology and Metabolism

 

Studying the role of nutrient sensing and acetylation in the control of mitochondrial biology and metabolism. My laboratory has extended this work into the translational space exploring these concepts in the control of immune function and inflammation.

 

Recent Publication:

Wang L, et al. GCN5L1modulates cross-talk between mitochondria and cell signaling to regulate FoxO1stability and gluconeogenesis. Nat Commun. 2017 Sep 12;8(1):523.

Joel Schilling, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Pathology & Immunology

 

My lab is focused on understanding the effects of obesity and diabetes on macrophage function. Our goal is to dissect the biology of distinct macrophage populations in vivo to design novel approaches to treat complications of metabolic disease.

 

 

Recent Publication:

He L, et al. Inhibition of mTOR reduces lipotoxiccell death in primary macrophages through an autophagy-independent mechanism. JLeukoc Biol. 2016 Nov;100(5):1113-1124.