Cardiovascular Research Training
A central mission of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine is to provide our fellows with extensive opportunities to train in the full spectrum of cardiovascular research, from basic mechanistic studies to clinical trials and outcomes research.
Our Innovative Research Training Programs
Over the past several years, we have enhanced this rich research training experience with the establishment of the Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Center for Outcomes Research in Cardiology and the program in Personalized Genomics and Cardiometabolic Disease. These novel programs, together with our longstanding basic, translational and clinical research, provide fellows with a range of unique research opportunities.
Mentors and Research Electives for First-Year Fellows
During the first year of research training, fellows are assigned faculty mentors who help them identify their areas of interest and potential research preceptors. A new feature of our program allows participants a research elective in the first year of training, including one-on-one project brainstorming sessions with potential mentors and the division chief. In addition to the specific labs and programs outlined below, fellows have access to an almost limitless array of research opportunities in the broader BIDMC community, as well as through Harvard Medical School, Harvard University and other Boston-area biomedical institutions. We encourage thoughtful, interdisciplinary and inter-institutional training programs.
One of the Nation's First T-32 Training Programs
Catalyzing our research training is one of the first NHLBI-funded T-32 training programs in the country. Unlike many other training programs, the BIDMC T-32 program supports fellows across the entire spectrum of research endeavors, from basic research to population science.
State-of-the-Art Laboratory Facilities
Cardiovascular research is housed in a state-of-the art laboratory facility in the Center for Life Science (CLS) building, one of the largest research buildings in Boston's Longwood Medical Area. Medical-center wide, BIDMC consistently ranks as a national leader among independent hospitals in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. In total, research at BIDMC is a $200 million enterprise.
We invite you to explore our research programs. Please contact the leaders directly to learn more about a particular program.
Personal Genomics and Cardiometabolic Disease
Led by Robert E. Gerszten, MD, the program in Personal Genomics and Cardiometabolic Disease is a national leader in the use of metabolomics and proteomic technologies — and the integration of this information with human genetics — for the discovery of new biomarkers and pathways contributing to atherogenesis and its complications.
The Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Center for Outcomes Research in Cardiology
The Smith Center for Outcomes Research in Cardiology is an innovative program working to evaluate and transform the delivery of cardiovascular care. The Center is directed by Robert W. Yeh, MD, MBA, a national leader in outcomes research who has led seminal studies in the fields of cardiovascular epidemiology, health policy evaluation and comparative effectiveness research.
Basic laboratory research in BIDMC's Division of Cardiovascular Medicine emphasizes stem cell research and regenerative medicine. Novel investigations are focused on identifying genetic, molecular and functional determinants that underlie cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, with the goal of using these mechanistic insights to begin the process of developing new therapies to benefit patients and populations.
Cardiovascular Disease Prevention
Our active research program in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention is focused on developing leading-edge molecular and clinical epidemiological approaches to detect and prevent cardiovascular disease at its earliest stages. The program's physician-scientists are distinguished by expertise in epidemiology, basic research, clinical research and patient care.
BIDMC’s distinguished history of clinical innovation has contributed to some of cardiology’s major advances in cardiac imaging, interventional cardiology and electrophysiology, including the development of the implantable cardiac pacemaker. Our Clinical Research faculty include principal investigators of major clinical trials to test new procedures, drugs and devices.
Advanced Cardiac Imaging
Established in 1995 as only the second such center in the United States, the BIDMC Cardiac Magnetic Resonance (CMR) Center is a national leader in innovative cardiac imaging research. Under the leadership of scientific director Reza Nezafat, PhD, the CMR's Advanced Cardiac Imaging research program is dedicated to the development of CMR applications to the cardiovascular system.
PERFUSE Study Group
Founded by BIDMC Interventional cardiologist C. Michael Gibson, MD, the PERFUSE academic research organization now has over 25 years of experience in leading and providing core laboratory services to support more than 110 international multi-center trials in cardiovascular disease. As an international leader in the development of secure informational portals for clinical trials, PERFUSE creates novel on-line “communities” to foster enrollment, drive physician and site engagement and enhance trial awareness. T
Associated Research Programs
Framingham Heart Study (FHS)
The Framingham Heart Study (FHS), sponsored by the National Heart Lung Blood Institute, is the world's largest and longest running prospective cardiovascular disease epidemiology study. BIDMC cardiologist Connie Tsao, MD, helps to direct the Echo core lab at the FHS. Technologies include M-mode, 2-D, and Doppler echocardiography, Holter monitoring for arrhythmia and ST segments, computerized 12-lead ECGs, ambulatory blood pressure measurements and carotid ultrasonography. Data from these are part of a correlated database that includes up to 40 years of information. Current research includes:
- Incidence, prevalence and prognosis of atrial fibrillation
- Exercise treadmill results as predictive of coronary disease
- Blood pressure response to exercise as predictive of left ventricular hypertrophy
- Arrhythmias on ambulatory ECG monitoring (impact of age and sex)
- Left ventricular mass and risk for sudden death
- Left ventricular mass and risk for stroke
- Determinants of diastolic left ventricular function
- Characterization of echo patterns in subjects with congestive heart failure
- Prevalence of ultrasound documented carotid disease in subjects with MI
- Differences in early and late death from coronary disease in men vs. women
Baim Institute for Clinical Research
Collaboration with biostatisticians, epidemiologists, decision and cost effectiveness analysts, and clinical trialists is available at the Baim Institute for Clinical Research (formerly HCRI), an academic contract research organization specializing in the design and coordination of multi-center clinical trials as well as analysis of clinical research data from a wide variety of clinical disciplines, with special emphasis and expertise in cardiovascular diseases. The Baim Institute has conducted over 100 national and international medical device, pharmaceutical and biological trials, many leading to FDA approval for novel therapies, including intravascular brachytherapy, drug-eluting stents and distal-embolic protection devices.
The Baim Institute is named in honor of the late Donald Baim, MD, founder of the Interventional Cardiology program at Beth Israel Hospital and a pioneer in cardiology research.
Today, the Baim Institute is led by President and CEO C. Michael Gibson, MD, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and faculty member in BIDMC's Interventional Cardiology program. BIDMC interventional cardiologist Donald Cutlip, MD, serves as the institute's Chief Operating Officer. Robert W. Yeh, MD, MBA, and Peter J. Zimetbaum, MD.serve as Baim Institute faculty members and Ernest Gervino, ScD, FACSM, serves as Baim Institute faculty advisor.
Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH)
Over a dozen fellows from the BIDMC Cardiovascular Division have participated in the Program for Training in Clinical Effectiveness at the Harvard School of Public Health during the last decade. Seven-week, intensive sessions designed for physicians are offered in July and August with introductory and advanced courses in epidemiology biostatistics, decision analysis, clinical trials, measurement techniques, outcomes analyses, quality improvement, and health services research. Fellows who wish to receive a master's degree (MSc or MPH) can do so by attending classes full-time during two summers and/or part-time during the academic year. A parallel, non-degree granting summer program is also available through the Summer Institute at the School of Public Health. BIDMC faculty member Murray Mittleman, MD, DrPH, directs the MPH program at HSPH.
Harvard-Thorndike Electrophysiology Institute and Arrhythmia Service
Research studies in the Harvard-Thorndike Electrophysiology Institute and Arrhythmia Service include the basic science and clinical investigation of risk stratification for sudden cardiac death. The Institute has developed novel strategies such as T-wave alternans heterogeneity tests that allow simultaneous conduction and recovery to be assessed as a marker of risk. Other studies include epicardial and endocardial mapping to assess arrhythmogenic substrate, pericardial delivery of antiarrhythmic, anti-ischemic and angiogenic factors and prevention of sudden cardiac death in coronary artery disease with ablation techniques and substrate mapping. The Institute's facilities include an animal laboratory for whole animal experimentation in arrhythmogenesis.