Margaret V. Westfall, PhD

Associate Professor of Cardiac Surgery
Associate Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology


Margaret Westfall's training is in integrated organ systems and cellular physiology/biophysics and her expertise is in cardiac physiology.

Research in Westfall lab focuses on understanding the contribution of the sarcomere to cardiac dysfunction and heart failure.  Studies integrate biochemical, biophysical, proteomic, cellular, and integrative physiological approaches.  The long-term goal of our research is to develop therapeutic strategies to attenuate or prevent cardiac dysfunction caused by chronic modifications of the sarcomeric proteins responsible for cardiac pump function.  Our current studies focus on cardiac troponin I (cTnI), a key molecular switch protein located in the thin filament of the sarcomere, which is also a downstream target for protein kinase C (PKC) signaling.   Chronic signaling via PKC pathway is consistently linked to heart failure.  Ongoing work is determining whether chronic PKC modification of cTnI directly causes impaired contractile function and the impact of this modification on the function of other sarcomeric proteins and other critical organelles.  


  • 1978 – Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO, BA, Biology
  • 1981 – University of Montana, Missoula, MT, MS, Microbiology
  • 1989 – Loyola University, Maywood, IL, PhD, Physiology
  • 1989-1993 – University of Illinois - Chicago, Chicago, IL, Physiology
  • 1993-1997 – University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, Physiology

Honors & Awards

Positions and Employment

  • 1997-2000 – Assistant Research Scientist, Dept. of Physiology, University of Michigan
  • 1999-2008 – Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, UM
  • 2000-2008 – Assistant Professor, Dept. of Surgery, Cardiac Surgery Section, UM
  • 2008-2012 – Associate Professor, Dept. of Surgery, Cardiac Surgery Section, UM
  • 2008-Present – Associate Professor, Dept. of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, UM
  • 2009-Present – Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, UM
  • 2012-Present – Associate Professor, Dept. of Cardiac Surgery, UM

Other Experience and Professional Activities:

  • 1998-2000 – American Heart Association ÐMichigan: Student Fellowships
  • 2001-2004 – American Heart Association Study Section: Cellular Cardiovascular Physiology and Pharmacology Study Group
  • 10/2004; 4/2005 – NIH PPG Special Review Committee
  • 03/2006; 11/2013 – NIH Ad hoc reviewer
  • 11/2006; 3/2007; 11/2007; 3/2008; 10/2008; 4/2009; 05/2009; 5/2011, 5/2012; 11/2013 – NIH ZRG1 CVS Special Review Committee
  • 06/2009-06/2010 – NIH CCHF Ad hoc reviewer
  • 07/2010-06/2014 – NIH CCHF Member
  • 2008-present – Editorial Board: American Journal of Physiology Heart and Circulatory Physiology: 2007-present; Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology:


  • 1996-97 – Basic Science Fellowship
  • 1996-98 – Schmitt Dissertation Fellowship
  • 1996-97 – National Research Service Award, NIH Grant HL-05059
  • 1992 – Travel Grant, International Society for Heart Research 14th World Congress
  • 1993 – Upjohn Young Investigator Finalist, Intl. Society for Heart Research

Published Articles or Reviews