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Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular Disease

Our Preclinical Cardiovascular Expertise

  • Translational research on atherosclerosis-related vascular disease
  • Cardiovascular disease and aging
  • Nonhuman primate spontaneous and diet-induced atherosclerosis
  • Glycemic, lipid, inflammation and insulin sensitivity assessments
  • Diabetogenic, Western and Mediterranean diets available to model human dietary patterns or stimulate disease progression
  • Pathological assessments associated with disease states
  • Nutrition and diet laboratory
  • Long-term quarantine
  • State-of-the-art imaging modalities, including MRI, CT, DXA and PET
  • Core laboratory facilities: Biomarker Core Lab, Clinical Non-invasive Hemodynamics Core Lab and Molecular & Cellular Biology Core Lab
  • Transgenic animals and instrumentation

Atherosclerosis-related vascular disease

The faculty and research programs at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have been at the forefront of cardiovascular disease research for over 50 years. Today, we continue to innovate in this area through our renowned basic, translational and clinical research programs.

Faculty at Wake Forest Baptist have pioneered the development and application of numerous preclinical models, especially nonhuman primates and transgenic mice, to the investigation of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis. Our experience includes: formulation of specialized diets; highly refined approaches to behavioral assessment; the use of advanced imaging modalities and surgical techniques; and extensive validation of cardiovascular biomarkers.

We are capable of evaluating the effect of a wide range of therapeutic interventions on vascular structure and function in studies of any scale and using models ranging from rodents to nonhuman primates. These studies are supported by state-of-the-art animal housing and surgical facilities, an internationally recognized group of veterinary pathobiologists and proven analytical methods.

Cardiovascular Disease-focused Faculty Available for Collaboration

Hypertension Research

Debra Diz, PhD, is an established preclinical and clinical researcher who investigates hypertension and how neural and renal systems impact blood pressure regulation. She leads research efforts at Wake Forest Baptist in cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

Patricia Gallagher, PhD, and Ann Tallant, PhD,, Professors of Hypertension with expertise and interest in cancer research; cardiac function; cell growth; vascular diseases; women’s health issues; and specific expertise in Angiotensin(1-7)

Jasmina Varagic, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Hypertension with research interests in cardiac function; diabetes; hypertension; women’s health issues; and therapeutic agents

Bridget Brosnihan, PhD, Professor of Hypertension with research interests in hormones, cytokines and signaling; hypertension; maternal & children’s health; model development; radiology imaging and nuclear medicine; and women’s health issues

Mark Chappell, PhD, Professor of Hypertension with research interests in diabetes; hypertension; and women’s health issues

Katherine Cook, PhD, Assistant Professor of Hypertension with research interests in cancer and metabolism

Matthew Corriere, MD, Associate Professor of Vascular & Endovascular Surgery with research interests in vascular diseases and trauma

Leanne Groban, MD, Professor of Anesthesiology with research interests in aging; cardiac function; fitness; transgenics; women’s health issues; and vascular diseases

Hossam Shaltout, PhD, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology with research interests in cardiac function and vascular diseases

David Soto Pantoja, PhD, Assistant Professor of Hypertension with research interests in cancer; cell growth; differentiation; and metabolism

Liliya Yamaleyeva, MD, Assistant Professor of Hypertension with research interests in hormones, cytokines and signaling; maternal & children’s health; radiology imaging and nuclear medicine; women’s health issues; cell growth; differentiation; and genetics and the genome

Basic Science

Tom Register, PhD, Professor of Pathology – Comparative Medicine with research interests in atherosclerosis and thrombosis; biotechnology; cardiac function; therapeutic agents; bioengineering; genomics and proteomics; growth & development; hormones, cytokines and signaling; medical technology and devices; metabolism; and molecular biology and molecular medicine

Giselle Melendez Zapata, Assistant Professor of Cardiology with research interest in cardiac function

Susan Appt, DVM, researches the effects of diet and reproductive hormones on chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease. She works with nonhuman primate animal models of menopause to study risk factors in women across the transition from premenopause to postmenopause and functions as the scientific director of the Diet Laboratory and associate director of Preclinical Translational Services.

Jay Kaplan, PhD, directs the Wake Forest Center for Comparative Medicine Research, a leading research center that investigates diseases of human relevance. Kaplan has spent over 35 years researching the most prevalent diseases of Western society. A trained biological anthropologist, Kaplan places great emphasis on exploring and accounting for environmental factors that impact disease, such as psychosocial behavior, status and diet.

Carol Shively, PhD, Professor of Pathology – Comparative Medicine with research interests in atherosclerosis and thrombosis; mental disorders and psychiatry; neurosciences and behavior; obesity; radiology imaging and nuclear medicine; women’s health issues; aging; degenerative disorders; and metabolism

James Jordan, PhD, has over twenty years of experience in large animal surgical models studying cardiovascular-related issues. He is currently the in vivo team leader for a project centered on a novel tissue-engineered heart valve, and places emphasis in his research on cardiovascular solutions for pediatric patient populations. Overall, Jordan offers a vast amount of expertise in utilizing surgical models and testing cardiovascular therapeutics and devices.

Koudy Williams, DVM, Professor in the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine with research interests in aging; cardiac function; degenerative disorders; diabetes; bioengineering; growth & development; prevention; and women’s health issues

Che-Ping Cheng, MD, PhD, Professor of Cardiology with research interests in cardiac function; therapeutic agents; and molecular biology and molecular medicine

Explore Industry Research Collaboration at Wake Forest

  • Our Preclinical Translational Services surgical group provides high-caliber investigative surgical services.
  • We offer customized research teams of renowned scientists, cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons, experienced technicians and an industry-supportive alliance management team.
  • We have the institutional expertise and resources to design customized cardiovascular disease preclinical studies and develop animal model cohorts with natural or induced cardiovascular disease.
  • Industry-sponsored and contract preclinical research studies conducted here utilize the latest in basic science and imaging technologies available from Wake Forest Baptist’s core labs and imaging facilities.