Division of Cardiovascular Sciences

DCVS provides leadership and supports basic, clinical, population, and health services research on the causes, prevention, and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. DCVS represents the union of two previously existing divisions, the Division of Cardiovascular Disease (DCVD) and the Division of Prevention and Population Sciences (DPPS); both Divisions recently prepared detailed strategic plans (see http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/dcvd/index.htm and http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/dpps/strategicplan.htm).

The Division fosters research in disease areas, such as atherothrombosis, heart attack and heart failure, high blood pressure, stroke, atrial and ventricular arrhythmias, sudden cardiac death, adult and pediatric congenital heart disease, cardiovascular complications of diabetes and obesity, and other cardiovascular disorders. Technology development for the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disorders is also supported. Research also includes a number of well-known epidemiological cohort studies that describe disease and risk factor patterns in populations; clinical trials of interventions to prevent disease and to prevent or modulate risk factors; studies of genetic, behavioral, sociocultural, health systems, and environmental influences on disease risk and outcomes; and studies of the application of prevention and treatment strategies to determine how to improve clinical care and public health. The Division supports training and career development for these areas of research. In addition to the Office of the Director, the Division is organized operationally as 3 Offices and 3 Programs that oversee 8 Branches.

Michael Lauer, M.D., Division Director
E-mail: lauerm@nhlbi.nih.gov
301-435-0422

PROGRAM IN BASIC AND EARLY TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH

The Program supports and provides leadership for basic, pre-clinical and early translational studies on vascular biology and hypertension, cardiovascular surgery, and the development of advanced technologies for the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. The portfolio includes an integrated basic and clinical research program studying the biological basis for vascular diseases and hypertension, and their diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Research on cardiovascular surgery includes both basic and pre-clinical research on surgical approaches, and clinical trials to establish evidence-based surgical therapies. The development of diagnostics encompasses research on biosensors, imaging technologies, and the application of “omic” methodologies. Therapeutic development includes drug and nucleic acid delivery technologies, regenerative and reparative medicine, gene therapy, and device development. The Program also supports training and career development for these areas of research. The Program is divided into two branches: the Vascular Biology and Hypertension Branch, and the Advanced Technologies and Surgery Branch.

Denis Buxton, Ph.D., Associate Director
E-mail: buxtond@nhlbi.nih.gov
301-435-0513

PROGRAM IN ADULT AND PEDIATRIC CARDIAC RESEARCH

The Program supports and provides leadership for basic, translational, and clinical research on the development, maturation, and functioning of the heart throughout all stages of life. The research portfolio includes a broad array of science including cardiac development and maturation, myocyte structure and function, myocardial energetics and metabolism, cardiac electrophysiology, coronary artery structure and function, the failing heart, valvular heart disease, exercise physiology, nutrition and the heart, congenital heart disease from birth through adulthood, the intrauterine environment and cardiovascular risk, cardiomyopathy, and coronary artery disease. A key function of the Program is to provide collaborative leadership for the systematic oversight of clinical research across the Division, including clinical research information technology and standard but flexible operating procedures. The Program also supports training and career development for these areas of research. The Program is organized into three major components: the Heart Failure and Arrhythmias Branch, the Heart Development and Structural Diseases Branch, and the Atherosclerosis and Coronary Artery Diseases Branch.

Gail Pearson, M.D., Sc.D, Associate Director
E-mail: pearsong@nhlbi.nih.gov
301-435-0510

PROGRAM IN PREVENTION AND POPULATION SCIENCES

The Program of Prevention and Population Sciences supports and provides leadership for population- and clinic-based research on the causes, prevention, and clinical care of cardiovascular, lung, and blood diseases and sleep disorders. Research includes a broad array of epidemiological studies to describe disease and risk factor patterns in populations and to identify risk factors for disease; clinical trials of interventions to prevent disease; studies of genetic, behavioral, sociocultural, and environmental influences on disease risk and outcomes; and studies of the application of prevention and treatment strategies to determine how to improve clinical care and public health. The Program also supports training and career development for these areas of research. The Program is organized into three major components: the Epidemiology Branch, the Clinical Applications and Prevention Branch, and the Women's Health Initiative Branch.

Diane Bild, M.D., M.P.H., Associate Director
E-mail: bildd@nhlbi.nih.gov
301-435-0457

OFFICE OF RESEARCH TRAINING AND CAREER DEVELOPMENT

The Office of Research Training and Career Development supports training and career development programs in cardiovascular research, offering opportunities to individuals at all educational levels from high school students to academic faculty, including programs for individuals from diverse populations. The programs promote opportunities for investigators, early in their research careers and under mentorship from senior scientists, to perform basic, preclinical or clinical cardiovascular research and to take emerging and promising scientific and technological advances from discovery through preclinical and clinical studies. The Office also collaborates with the scientific community and professional organizations to ensure that training programs meet both the current and future needs of the cardiovascular research workforce. Programs supported by the Office include:

  • Institutional and individual research training programs and fellowships for training of promising cardiovascular scientists at the predoctoral, postdoctoral, junior faculty, and established investigator levels.
  • Diversity Supplements to ongoing research grants for support of young investigators from diverse backgrounds, from the high school to the junior faculty level.
  • The Pathway to Independence Program, which allows the recipient to bridge the gap between a career development award and a research award.
  • Career development programs specifically designed for clinical research or for minority researchers and institutions.

Jane Scott, Sc.D, M.S.N., Director
E-mail: scottj2@nhlbi.nih.gov
301-435-0535

OFFICE OF BIOSTATISTICS RESEARCH

The Office of Biostatistics Research (OBR) provides statistical expertise to members of all Divisions of the NHLBI and performs diverse functions in planning, designing, implementing and analyzing NHLBI-sponsored studies. The OBR has primary responsibility for providing objective, statistically sound, and medically relevant solutions to problems. When presented with a problem for which techniques are not yet available, the OBR is expected to provide a new and valid statistical solution. The OBR is concerned with designing efficient studies and monitoring data while studies are ongoing. All members of the professional staff have interests in statistical methodology relevant to clinical research studies. The OBR's methodological interest concern survival analysis, longitudinal data analysis, and efficient study designs, including the monitoring of ongoing clinical studies for efficacy and safety. Recently the OBR has made contributions to statistical genetics and has extended its expertise to bioinformatics.

Nancy Geller, Ph.D., Director
E-mail: gellern@nhlbi.nih.gov
301-435-0434

OFFICE OF SPECIAL PROJECTS

The Office of Special Projects will represent the DCVS on NHLBI and NIH policy committees, oversee and work with Division leadership on selected activities of the DCVS clinical studies portfolio, foster communication within DCVS by developing and/or coordinating Division-wide and Institute-wide interest groups on various topics, develop and implement specific cross-cutting projects, and provide expert consultation as needed for the larger-scale projects or initiative development.

David Gordon, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Specialist Assistant for Clinical Studies
E-mail: gordond@nhlbi.nih.gov
301-435-0564

ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES & SURGERY BRANCH

The Advanced Technologies and Surgery Branch conducts and manages an integrated basic and clinical research program to study innovative and developing technologies for the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of CVD. It promotes opportunities to translate promising scientific and technological advances from discovery through pre-clinical studies to clinical trials. Areas supported by the Branch include:

  • Diagnostics: proteomic, genomic, and other biomarker technologies and imaging modalities/agents to identify CVD and guide therapy.
  • Therapeutics: tissue, cell-, and gene-based/guided therapies; regenerative and reparative medicine; and devices for circulatory and cardiac support and repair.
  • Surgery: improved surgical and image-guided approaches and evidence-based clinical research to advance promising new cardiovascular therapies, technologies, and surgical practices into clinical use.
  • Enabling Technologies: bioinformatics, computational and systems biology, bioengineering, nanotechnology, materials research, and personalized medicine.

Marissa Miller, D.V.M., M.P.H., Branch Chief
E-mail: millerma2@nhlbi.nih.gov
301-594-1542

ATHEROTHROMBOSIS & CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE BRANCH

The Atherothrombosis and Coronary Artery Disease Branch conducts and manages an integrated basic and clinical research program to study the etiology, pathogenesis, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of CAD and atherothrombosis. It is responsible for translating promising scientific and technological advances from discovery through preclinical studies to networks and multisite clinical trials. Areas addressed by the Branch include:

  • Atherothrombosis: initiation, progression, and regression of atherosclerotic lesions in coronary arteries and other arterial beds; lesion instability and thrombosis; risk factor mechanisms; interaction of lipid fractions and other systemic and humoral factors with the arterial wall; biomarker and imaging diagnostics to quantify atherosclerotic disease and its progression; vulnerable plaques and vulnerable patients; and diabetes, obesity, other metabolic disorders, and diet and exercise related to atherothrombosis.
  • Coronary Artery Disease: acute and chronic coronary syndromes including myocardial infarction, acute ischemia and related events, angina, and silent ischemia; and percutaneous and surgical revascularization of stenotic and re-stenotic coronary lesions.

Yves Rosenberg, M.D., M.P.H., Acting Branch Chief
E-mail: rosenbey@nhlbi.nih.gov
301-435-0550

HEART DEVELOPMENT & STRUCTURAL DISEASES BRANCH

The Heart Development and Structural Disease Branch conducts and manages an integrated basic and clinical research program to study normal and abnormal cardiovascular development. It is also responsible for overseeing research related to the etiology, pathogenesis, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of pediatric and adult structural heart disease. The Branch is a focal point for coordination of activities and development of educational materials related to clinical research on pediatric CVD within the NHLBI and the NIH . It promotes opportunities to translate promising scientific and technological advances from discovery through preclinical studies to network and multisite clinical trials. Areas supported by the Branch include:

  • Heart Development: normal and abnormal cardiovascular development, molecular and genetic etiology of cardiovascular malformations, cardiomyogenic differentiation of stem cells, and gene-environment interactions in development of congenital heart disease.
  • Structural Disease: congenital heart disease from embryology through adulthood, valve disease and determinants of degeneration, myocardial response to valvular disease, neurodevelopmental outcome in congenital heart disease, exercise physiology in congenital heart disease, pediatric cardiomyopathy and heart transplantation, and pediatric cardiac inflammation and infection.

Gail Pearson, M.D., Sc.D, Branch Chief
E-mail: pearsong@nhlbi.nih.gov
301-435-0510

HEART FAILURE & ARRHYTHMIAS BRANCH

The Heart Failure and Arrhythmias Branch conducts and manages an integrated basic and clinical research program to study normal cardiac function and pathogenesis to improve diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of heart failure and arrhythmias. It promotes opportunities to translate promising scientific and technological advances from discovery through preclinical studies to multisite and network clinical trials. Areas supported by the Branch include:

  • Heart Failure: devices and medical and cell-based therapies targeting heart failure, myocardial protection, and pathogenesis and treatment of heart failure and cardiomyopathies.
  • Arrhythmias: arrhythmogenesis, genetic and environmental bases of normal cardiac electrical activity and arrhythmias, etiology of rare and common arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac death.
  • Myocardial Protection: myocardial preconditioning, amelioration and prevention of myocardial stunning and hibernation, and protection from ischemic/reperfusion injury.
  • Resuscitation Science: mechanisms and management of clinical and experimental pathophysiologic states of whole body oxygen deprivation; systemic hypovolemia and resulting multi-organ failure; organ preservation; and cell, tissue, and organ protection during cardiac arrest and traumatic shock.

David Lathrop, Ph.D., Acting Branch Chief
E-mail: lathropd@nhlbi.nih.gov
301-435-0507

VASCULAR BIOLOGY AND HYPERTENSION

The Vascular Biology and Hypertension Branch conducts and manages an integrated basic and clinical, extramural, research program to investigate vascular biology and the etiology, pathogenesis, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of hypertension and vascular diseases. It promotes opportunities to translate promising scientific and technological advances from discovery through preclinical studies to networks and multisite clinical trials. Areas supported by the Branch include:

  • Vascular Biology: biology of the vascular wall; vascular biology (related to hypertension; cerebrovascular, renal, and peripheral vascular disease; aneurysms; and lymphatic diseases); development of arteries, veins, lymphatics, and microcirculation; and angiogenesis.
  • Vascular Medicine: cerebrovascular, renal, and peripheral vascular disease; and aneurysms.
  • Hypertension: blood pressure regulation including central, renal, and vascular control; and cerebrovascular disease resulting from high blood pressure.

Eser Tolunay, Ph.D., Acting Branch Chief
E-mail: tolunaye@nhlbi.nih.gov
301-435-0560

CLINICAL APPLICATIONS AND PREVENTION BRANCH

The Clinical Applications and Prevention Branch supports, designs, and conducts research and supports training on behavioral, environmental, clinical, and healthcare approaches to reduce occurrence and consequences of cardiovascular diseases. Prevention research examines effects of interventions to slow or halt risk factor or disease development or progression; interventions use high-risk individual and population approaches, including medications, behavioral strategies, and environmental change. Studies examine lifestyle, nutrition and exercise, psychological and sociocultural factors, and environmental and genetic influences relevant to prevention. Clinical application research examines approaches to improve healthcare delivery and patient outcomes. Studies include clinical and community trials and selected observational studies.

Lawrence Fine, M.D., Branch Chief
E-mail: finel@nhlbi.nih.gov
301-435-0305

EPIDEMIOLOGY BRANCH

The Epidemiology Branch supports, designs, and conducts research and supports training in the epidemiology of cardiovascular, lung, blood, and sleep diseases and disorders. Studies are conducted to identify temporal trends and population patterns in the prevalence, incidence, morbidity, and mortality from these diseases and include single- and multi-center observational epidemiology studies of the development, progression, and treatment of cardiovascular, lung, blood, and sleep diseases and disorders. Studies identify environmental, lifestyle, physiological, and genetic risk factors for disease and risk factor development, including characterization of gene/gene and gene/environment interactions. The Branch also distributes data from all eligible NHLBI studies to researchers as a national data resource, adhering to guidelines that protect participant privacy and confidentiality.

Paul Sorlie, Ph.D., Branch Chief
E-mail: sorliep@nhlbi.nih.gov
301-435-0456

WOMEN'S HEALTH INITIATIVE BRANCH

The Women's Health Initiative Branch supports clinical trials and observational studies to improve understanding of the causes and prevention of major diseases affecting the health of women. Current studies focus on cardiovascular disease, cancer, and fractures, in collaboration with NCI, NIAMS, NIA, NINDS, and ORWH. The large multi-center observational epidemiology studies seek to identify risk markers for disease or better quantify known markers using questionnaire, clinical examination, and laboratory data. The large and long-term multi-center clinical trials test promising but unproven interventions such as hormone therapy, diet, and supplements to prevent major diseases and evaluate overall effects on health. The Branch has established an infrastructure to support the utilization of data and blood samples from the studies by the scientific community.

Jacques Rossouw, M.D., Branch Chief
E-mail: rossouwj@nhlbi.nih.gov
301-402-2900

July 2010

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