The commitment to excellence through collaboration, teamwork, and innovation is the basis for success for the Frankel Cardiovascular Center research programs. Continuing efforts to support a culture of collaboration, encourage creative thinking, and maintain infrastructure for both basic science and clinical research allow the Frankel Cardiovascular Center to remain at the cutting edge of science and discovery.
When Heart-Assisting Implants Could Save a Life, Patients Who Are Black or Female Don’t Get Them As Often
Thomas Cascino, MD, MS and team find that Black people and women with severe heart failure who might be good candidates for a left-ventricular assist device have a lower chance of getting the surgery than white patients or male patients.
Daniel Goldstein, MD and colleagues provide fundamental information about a therapeutic which could translate to improved outcomes in older people infected with acute respiratory viruses.
Learn More About Our Research
Basic Science and Translational Research
Our Basic Science and Translational Research Strengths
- Cardiac Myocyte Biology
- Cardiovascular Genetics
- Tissue and Cell Regeneration
- Vascular and Thrombosis Biology
Our Clinical Research Strengths
- Acute and Chronic Cardiovascular Diseases
- Aging and the Cardiovascular System
- Aortic Disease
- Cardiac Imaging
- Health Services and Clinical Effectiveness
- Heart Failure and LVAD
- Pulmonary Hypertension
- Structural Heart Disease
- Thrombosis and DVT
Take Part in a Clinical Study
Our research studies require all types of volunteers, including:
- Patients with a specific heart diseases or conditions. Patients may either be inpatient at the hospital, receiving a procedure, or at a follow up appointment with their cardiologist. Volunteers are needed at all points during the course of care.
- Families of patients with a specific heart diseases or conditions may be asked to volunteer if the condition is genetic.
- Healthy volunteers play a key role in research studies. Healthy volunteers provide crucial health information that can be used as a comparison with individuals who have a specific disease or condition. Healthy volunteers often serve as the control group when researchers are developing a new technique such as a blood test or imaging device because healthy volunteers help define the limits of "normal."
Clinical Trials Support Unit
The Heart Vessel Blood Clinical Trials Support Unit (HVB-CTSU) enhances performance of cardiovascular, coagulation and nonmalignant hematologic clinical trials across the lifespan, including industry-sponsored, federally-sponsored and investigator-initiated clinical trials of acute or chronic disease. Drawing from the successful clinical trials programs, which have driven both clinical business and research, meaningful synergies within the HVB-CTSU foster a culture of collaboration.
Clinical Research Highlights
- The Heart Vessel Blood Clinical Trials Support Unit (HVBCTSU) enhances performance of cardiovascular, coagulation and nonmalignant hematologic clinical trials across the lifespan, including industry-sponsored, federally-sponsored and investigator-initiated clinical trials of acute or chronic disease.
- We are one of only a few sites in the nation to conduct the TRANSFORM clinical trial for the INTUITY valve system developed by Edwards Lifesciences.
Recent Research Highlights
A Novel Biomarker for Precision Hypertension Treatment
Precision medicine relies on biomarkers — to determine disease risk, prognosis and response to treatment. So a critical aspect of advancing precision medicine is developing and validating biomarkers for a wider range of conditions and disease subtypes.
One such effort is underway by J. Brian Byrd, MD, MS. He’s using an NIH K23 grant to look for a novel biomarker of a type of hypertension that would benefit profoundly from a precision medicine approach. This type of hypertension responds poorly to standard therapies because it is driven by a distinctive process —hormones produced in the adrenal gland called mineralo-corticoids. There are FDA-approved drugs that target the mineralocorticoid receptor, but because they come with significant side effects, physicians want to ensure they prescribe them only to patients likely to benefit.
Byrd thinks he has found a specific biomarker of miner-alocorticoid receptor activation and can reliably test for it in patients’ urine. “Different factors can lead to treatment-resistant high blood pressure,” says Byrd. “We want to make it possible for clinicians to figure out in whom activation of this receptor is driving the process, so they can treat those patients appropriately. Blood-pressure control is an immensely important goal because high blood pressure is the leading risk factor for death and disability around the globe. But mineralocorticoid receptor treatments come with risks, so we want to be sure they’re used only in patients whose blood pressure will be responsive to them.”
New Research Program Aims to Understand Mechanisms, Generate Therapies
We hope to make major leaps in our understanding and treatment of age-related cardiovascular disease with the launch of the Michigan Biology of Cardiovascular Aging Program. MBOCA for short, it aims to stimulate multidisciplinary, collaborative research that will generate breakthroughs along the basic-translational-clinical continuum.
Director, Dr. Daniel Goldstein's own work has helped reveal how aging fosters inflammation, and ultimately, disease. He’s been working to unravel the cellular and molecular processes involved, with an eye toward enabling the development of future therapies. Dr. Goldstein has focused on the role of aging in three inflammatory disease processes: the chronic inflammation of atherosclerosis and transplant vasculopathy, and the acute inflammation of respiratory viral infections. Among his more provocative findings is that — in contrast to the adaptive immune system, which has been shown to decline with aging — elements of the innate immune system can show exaggerated responses as we age. It is this over exuberant response that can make respiratory viruses so deadly to older patients and causes the vascular inflammation that can drive atherosclerosis. Using mouse models, he’s revealed some of the cell types and inflammatory mediators involved, and he’s hoping to expand this work within the collaborative environment of the MBOCA program.
Goldstein has already begun collaborating with U-M’s arrhythmia group to understand how aging, atrial fibrillation and atherosclerosis interact. “Working with arrhythmia experts like Jose Jalife and Hector Valdivia, we’ve generated data that potentially connects these issues, which could lead to new therapeutic options,” says Dr. Goldstein. “This is exactly the kind of synergistic collaboration we hope to catalyze through MBOCA. By bringing together researchers with complementary expertise, we hope to fill in parts of the puzzle as to how aging impacts the cardiovascular system."
Research Centers, Programs, and Initiatives
Cardiovascular Health Improvement Project (CHIP)
The Cardiovascular Health Improvement Project is a biorepository of DNA, plasma, serum, and aortic tissue samples as well as an extensive clinical database of medical and family history information. Learn more.
Cardiovascular Regeneration Core Lab
The Cardiovascular Regeneration Core Laboratory generates patient-specific human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) for basic science research purposes. Learn more.
Center for Advanced Models for Translational Sciences and Therapeutics (CAMTraST)
The Center for Advanced Models for Translational Sciences and Therapeutics strives to accelerate the “bench to bedside” process in biomedical research and drug development with the mission of developing advanced models for translational sciences and therapeutics as part of the University of Michigan Medical School. Learn more.
Center for Arrhythmia Research (CAR)
At the Center for Arrhythmia Research, scientists and physicians from a variety of disciplines work together to develop new methods of diagnosing and treating cardiovascular diseases, with the primary goal of preventing premature cardiac death. Our scientists have made major advances in understanding the molecular and cellular basis for and the fundamental mechanisms of complex, life-threatening arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. Learn more.
Michigan Biological Research Initiative on Sex Differences in Cardiovascular Disease (M-BRISC)
The Michigan Biological Research Initiative on Sex Differences in Cardiovascular Disease (M-BRISC) aims to increase investigation designed to understand the mechanisms of cardiovascular disease that differentially affect women and factors underlying the health of women. Learn more.
Michigan Biology of Cardiovascular Aging (MBoCA)
Michigan Biology of Cardiovascular Aging is a multidisciplinary science program focused on aging and cardiovascular disease that enhances collaborative research knowledge between established investigators, team members, and others whose work and interests closely relate. Learn more.
Multidisciplinary Aortic Program (MAP)
MAP is an interdisciplinary program with over 20 faculty representatives from cardiac surgery, vascular surgery, interventional radiology, cardiac imaging, medical genetics, and cardiovascular medicine. MAP faculty are conducting innovative research across a wide spectrum, including FDA-regulated trials, NIH-funded trials, Department of Defense contracts, and investigator-initiated projects, all specific to aortic disease.
Faculty Lab Websites
View our faculty lab websites.