Building upon a tradition of over half a century of leadership in cardiovascular disease, the Miami Heart Research Institute has embarked upon an exciting and ambitious research agenda. We recognize the overwhelming need for resources devoted to developing new and promising initiatives, as well as the emerging role of institutional collaboration.

Miami Heart Research Institute is actively pursuing research programs in stem cell research, cardiovascular genetics, innovations in congestive heart failure, cardiac care of the elderly, emerging imaging capabilities, stress reduction, heart disease in the Hispanic population, long-term follow-up after heart surgery, dietary prevention of heart disease and noninvasive cures for coronary heart disease.

In order to pursue such a vigorous program we’ve combined the efforts of our outstanding staff of skilled researchers with experts from the Mayo Clinic, Columbia University, Mount Sinai and the University of Miami. By combining these sophisticated efforts with our active programs of outreach, education and prevention, we are able to rapidly transmit scientific advancement into community service. The future of cardiac research is very bright and exciting, and at Miami Heart Research Institute, it is now!

THE 2017 RESEARCH RECIPIENTS/PROJECTS ARE:

  • Dr. Jose A Adams, MD, Mount Sinai Medical Center, "Whole Body Periodic Acceleration (pGz) in Heart Failure" will investigate the use of pGz (the back and forth motion of the body in a head to foot direction utilizing a bed-like platform) in models of the most common causes of heart failure. The study will determine whether or not pGz will improve heart function after established heart failure and will seek to determine if such improvement in heart function is related to the effects of pGz on heart scarring, excess inflammation and other biochemical pathways.
  • Raul Mitrani, MD, University of Miami, "Anti-arrhythmic Effects of Mesenchymal Stem Cell Injection in a Swine Model of Post Myocardial Infarct Ventricular Tachycardia".  The purpose of this study is to create a heart attack in a swine model and then induce the abnormal heart rhythms VT/VF (ventricular tachycardia and Ventricular fibrillation) in  a controlled setting.  VT and VF are potential lethal arrhythmias that may occur in patients following heart attacks and are a known cause of sudden cardiac arrest.  He will then test whether MSC (Mesenchymal Stem Cell) injection can prevent inducibility of VT/VF in this swine model of post heart attack VT.
  • Nanette Bishopric, MD, University of Miami, "Restoration of Heart Function by Novel Chemical Probes Targeting Remodeling in the Ischemic Heart". With the support of MHRI, last year's research project uncovered a molecular pathway that controls the development of pathological hypertrophy. During the last year, it was shown that we can block this disease pathway with a novel small molecule and also showed that this highly targeted approach prevents and reverses hypertrophy even after it has been established, and more importantly, restores normal heart function and reduces scarring.  This new study will follow this lead to understand the role of abnormal hypertrophy in the worsening function of the heart after a heart attack, and to identify the differing genes and pathways that modulate adaptive vs harmful adaptations to stress.  If successful, this work will open up a new frontier in the treatment of heart attacks and heart failure.
  • Jeffrey J Goldberger, MD, MBA, University of Miami, "4D Flow MRI for Assessment of Left Atrial Stasis". Stroke is a serious complication of atrial fibrillation (a rapid heart rhythm disorder) and occurs because of diminished blood flow (stasis) that occurs in the top chamber of the heart (left atrium) in atrial fibrillation (AF). Current treatment to prevent stroke in patients with AF who are deemed to be at substantial risk is a blood thinner (anticoagulant) which has significant risk of bleeding complications. Blood thinner use must balance the benefit of stroke prevention against the risk of bleeding complications. Currently, this is done with use of a score based on the presence or absence of certain clinical factors, such as age and high blood pressure. These scores have only mediocre predictive value. Improving our ability to predict who is at risk for a stroke to merit anticoagulant treatment will likely require a more direct evaluation for stasis within the left atrium.  With the development of a novel MRI technique, the first such non-invasive technique, that can measure the blood flow velocities within the left atrium, it may be very effective in identifying which patients with AF have diminished blood flow (stasis). This technique will implemented at UM and will evaluate the effect of AF vs normal rhythm which will allow in this current study. for further development and provide a platform for a multi-institutional collaboration to test this new technique in a large clinical study.
  • Lina Shehadeh, PhD, University of Miami, "The Role of Osteopontin in Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction". Heart failure is a major public health problem with an incidence of more than 5.8 million in the United States and more than 23 milion worldwide.  Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is a type of heart failure in which the heart is mostly failing during its relaxation phase.  Importantly, HFpEF accounts for more than half of all heart failure cases.  To date, there is no cure for HFpEF. This study seeks to open a new arena of potential targets for HFpEF treatment in a new animal model. The findings of this study may lead to new understanding of the biological mechanisms regulating HFpEF and hence the development of new therapeutic agents for prevention and/or treatment of HFpEF.
  • Natalie Cain, MD/MPH Candidate 2018, "Positive Predictive Value of Electrocardiographic Right Bundle Branch Block and Left Anterior Fascicular Block for the Diagnosis of Chagas' Disease in the United States". MHRI has awarded a grant to Natalie Cain, a 3rd year MD/MPH student to study Chagas' disease. Chagas, a parasitic illness endemic to Latin America, may be common among hispanic immigrants in Miami.  It can cause severe heart problems and premature death.  This study will evaluate the capability of the electrocardiogram in the diagnosis of the disease. 

2016 RESEARCH PROJECTS FUNDED:

  • Dr. Nanette Bishopric is investigating molecular changes seen in cardiac hypertrophy (enlargement/thickening of the heart), looking into the signal that leads to this abnormal thickening and ways to inhibit that kind of heart condition.
  • Dr. Chunming Dong is studying the molecular mechanisms by which cocaine effects the cardiovascular system, thereby laying the groundwork for targeting interventions. Cocaine use increases both heart rate and blood pressure, while it constricts the arteries supplying blood to the heart, decreasing oxygen supply. This often causes a heart attack even in healthy people. Cocaine accounts for almost one-third of emergency room visits for drug abuse.
  • Dr. Robert Myerburg plans to study family members of patients who have Long-QT syndrome to identify the genetic mutation that underlies this condition.  The Long-QT syndrome is a defect of the heart's electrical activity that may cause dangerous, fast and chaotic heartbeats (arrhythmias) that can result in sudden death.
  • Dr. Lina Shehadeh is looking into the cellular mechanisms underlying fibrosis of the heart which is a pathologic thickening of the heart which leads to abnormal relaxation of the muscle, a process that contributes to the development of heart failure.

2013-2014 RESEARCH PROJECTS FUNDED:

  1. Bilateral Internal Mammary Artery (BIMA) Grafting in Elderly Patients - Malcolm J. Dorman, MD; Paul A. Kurlansky, MD; Ernest A. Traad, MD; David L. Galbut, MD; Melinda Zucker, BSN; George Ebra, EdD
  2. Cell Model - Jose Adams, MD, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Miami Beach
  3. Combined Gene and Engineered Stem Cell Therapy Treatment of Acute Myocardial Infarction – Keith Webster, PhD, University of Miami
  4. Decoding Repair Signatures in Cardiopoitic Stem Cell Treated Heart Failure Patients (Stem Cell Based Heart Repair) – Andre Terzik, MD, PhD, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  5. Periodic (pGz) Acceleration and Cardiac Enzymes - Jose Adams, MD, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Miami Beach
  6. Smooth Muscle Cell Transdifferentiation: A New Paradigm for Cardiac Regeneration – Lina Shehadeh, PhD, University of Miami
  7. The Contrast Nephropathy and Nitrates Trial – Gervasio A Lamas, MD, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Miami Beach
  8. The Role of C-Myc in Pulmonary Hypertension – Claudia Rodrigues, PhD, University of Miami