Research Opportunities

Cardiovascular surgery plays an important role in the creation of modern cardiac and vascular medicine.

The tradition at Houston Methodist that began with the work of pioneers, such as Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, continues today with leaders like Dr. Alan Lumsden  at Methodist Cardiovascular Surgery Associates. Our research includes cardiovascular surgery clinical research trials  that can mean hope for patients who have struggled with standard therapies and methodologies.

Vascular Biology and Therapeutics Program
Director: Mark G Davies, MD, PhD, MBA

The Vascular Biology and Therapeutics Program focuses on the biology of the vessel wall and in vivo/in vitro cell signaling of vascular smooth muscle cells. The emphasis of the program is to understand the responses of the vessel wall to injury, flow and atherogenic environments. Using in vitro and in vivo models of flow disturbance, arterial injury and vein grafting, the program provides a suitable environment for translational research in key areas of vascular biology. A better understanding of the cell biology of the vessel wall should lead to improved patency rates after intervention or bypass. 

The program provides researchers with the most modern techniques in molecular and cell biology and systems biology. It integrates these disciplines with physiological, pharmacological, pathological and therapeutic approaches to answer clinically relevant questions in vessel wall biology.

This program currently focuses on three areas of research interest:

  • Biology and role of proteases in vascular smooth muscle cells
  • Signal biology of phospholipids in vascular smooth muscle cells
  • Signal biology of diabetes and metabolic syndrome in the vasculature

Cardiac Biology and Regenerative Medicine Program

The Cardiac Biology and Regenerative Medicine Program focuses on the biology of the myocardial extracellular matrix during heart failure progression and its reversal during mechanical assist device support or following stem cell therapy. The major emphasis of this program is to understand the mechanism of myocardial remodeling that occurs during these treatments, and more importantly the final effects on clinical function. Using human cardiac tissue samples and animal models of heart failure, the program provides a solid clinical base for translational research. Understanding the mechanism of cardiac improvement and remodeling following device support and stem cell therapy could lead to clinical programs "tailored" for myocardial recovery. The program also provides its investigators with modern techniques in molecular and cell biology. 

This program has three current areas of research interest:

  • Biology of the cardiac extracellular matrix and role of infiltrating monocytic cells
  • Histologic and molecular changes that occur in unloaded hearts
  • Pre-conditioning of bone marrow stem cells and their paracrine effects after intra-myocardial injection

Clinical Innovation and Outcomes Program
The Clinical Innovations and Outcomes Program is a multidisciplinary program designed to foster the development of principal investigator-initiated clinical trials, participate and recruit for industry sponsored clinical trials and report on the outcomes of cardiovascular procedures. This program is integrated with the clinical research arm of The Methodist Hospital Research Institute and provides administrative and biostatistical support for investigators to carry out clinical research in cardiovascular disease. 

The program offers a research fellowship and provides residents and students both training and faculty mentoring in clinical research. The focus areas are cardiovascular imaging and simulation, minimally-invasive and robotic cardiovascular surgery, aortic aneurysmal disease, dialysis access, lower extremity arterial and venous interventions and vascular progenitor cell therapy. 

Innovative collaboration occurs with the oil and gas and biotechnology industries through the Annual Pumps and Pipes symposia. The program brings biomedical researchers together with oil and gas scientists to allow the free exchange of ideas and develop projects. It also provides opportunities for MBA students to study health care finances and the business of medicine.

For Additional Information

Contact us: 713.790.3333
Outside Houston: 877.790.3627
International: +1.713.441.2340