Research in Pediatric Cardiology

The Division of Pediatric Cardiology supports research and innovation to drive improvements in quality of care and outcomes for children with heart disease, spanning basic science, translational, and clinical investigation.

Pediatric cardiology faculty research is funded by the NIH, foundation and industry funding, philanthropy, and the University of Michigan. The University of Michigan is also a core Pediatric Heart Network site.

The Michigan Congenital Heart Outcomes Research and Discovery (M-CHORD) program supports research across the Division.  Dedicated staff work with investigators to efficiently design and conduct studies across the spectrum of clinical investigation.

A wide range of research education opportunities are available including monthly division research conferences, journal club, and a formal research curriculum within the Pediatric Cardiology Fellowship Program.

View our research and innovations page to learn more about research in the Division of Pediatric Cardiology and across the University of Michigan Congenital Heart Center.

John R. Charpie, M.D., Ph.D.

John R. Charpie, M.D., Ph.D. is a subspecialty board certified pediatric cardiologist whose research focuses on myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury in infants and children undergoing cardiac operations, and vascular endothelial dysfunction in children with congenital and acquired heart disease.  As Medical Director of the pediatric cardiothoracic intensive care unit, Dr. Charpie is also interested in examining early and late outcomes following congenital heart disease surgery, and specific interventions aimed at improving morbidity and mortality including antioxidant therapies and therapeutic hypothermia.  Dr. Charpie also serves as site Principal Investigator or Co-investigator for several multi-institutional, industry-sponsored drug trials in pediatric cardiology.

Mark W. Russell, M.D.

Mark W. Russell, M.D. is a subspecialty board certified pediatric cardiologist whose research focuses on the growth and maturation of the heart during development and on the repair of heart muscle in response to injury. Dr. Russell directs an NIH, and Muscular Dystrophy Association, funded laboratory that is studying mechanisms of muscle fiber assembly, alignment and structural support, topics central to the causation of, and development of new therapies for, cardiomyopathy, muscular dystrophy and congestive heart failure. Recent work in his laboratory has identified and characterized a new family of proteins that are required for the assembly and organization of new muscle fibers. The long term goal of the project will be to use these novel proteins to help protect the heart and skeletal muscle from injury and promote healing of damaged tissue.

Dr. Russell was recently installed as the Aaron Stern Professor of Pediatric Cardiology. The resources of this professorship will be used to expand the laboratory’s research effort into the mechanisms that direct heart growth before a baby is born. The laboratory is characterizing the signaling pathways that direct heart growth with the goal of augmenting these signals in patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and other severe cardiac defects. His clinical studies are directed at understanding the genetic causes of heart disease, including both congenital heart defects and inherited forms of cardiomyopathy.

Mary E. van der Velde, M.D.

Dr. van der Velde is a subspecialty board-certified pediatric cardiologist whose research interests include fetal cardiology, echocardiography, ventricular function, and the natural history of congenital heart disease. As director of the fetal echocardiography program at Children's Hospital in Boston until 2003, she participated in the early trials of fetal cardiac intervention. Her current research interests include prenatal natural history of fetal cardiac disease, prediction of outcome using Doppler assessment of hemodynamics, and the effect of prenatal intervention on altering natural history.

Dr. van der Velde is the U-M cardiologist investigator for the multicenter Chronic Kidney Disease in Children Cohort Study (CKiD). This study, sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (in collaboration with NINDS, NICHD, and NHLBI), is a prospective epidemiological study of children with chronic kidney disease in an effort to determine the risk factors for decline in kidney function, how this decline impacts neurocognitive function and behavior, the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and growth failure and its associated morbidity. Cardiovascular evaluation includes echocardiographic assessment of cardiac function and hypertrophy, and aortic strain, distensibility and stiffness.

Dr. van der Velde is also the U-M echocardiographer for SVRII, the multicenter Single Ventricle Reconstruction Extension Study coordinated by the Pediatric Heart Network and funded by the NHLBI. She previously participated in a multicenter trial sponsored by NIAMSD assessing the efficacy of maternal dexamethasone treatment in preventing fetal congenital heart block.