Cardiology Research

Gazes Cardiac Research Institute

Founded in 1987, the Gazes Cardiac Research Institute brings together a diverse group of investigators interested in fundamental cardiovascular research and in the translation of basic scientific discoveries to clinical practice.

The Institute is composed of ten laboratories led by Onder Albayram, Ph.D., Catalin Baicu, Ph.D., Amy Bradshaw, Ph.D., Federica Del Monte, M.D. Ph.D., Kristine DeLeon-Pennell, Ph.D., Daniel Judge, M.D., Dhandapani Kuppuswamy, Ph.D., Sheldon Litwin, M.D., Donald Menick, Ph.D., and Michael Zile, M.D., each dedicated to understanding the biology of heart disease at its molecular level to allow for the successful development of new therapies.

The Institute has an illustrious history of discovery, including the identification of gene regulatory networks, key pathways, and molecular factors which contribute to heart disease, and the discovery of new prognostic indicators which will allow for the early detection and treatment of heart disease. The Institute has had a long history of outstanding funding from the NIH, VA, and American Heart Association. In addition, the Institute has one of the longest funded Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Training Grants from the NIH. This recognizes the Gazes Institute's well-documented history of training some of Americas most promising scientists, many of whom have gone on to careers as clinical and basic scientists in cardiovascular research, including the Chief of Cardiology for Washington University.

The Institute has a unique collaboration between basic scientists and clinical cardiologists. Because it is adjacent to the Medical University of South Carolina's (MUSC) new heart hospital, Ashley River Tower, it affords physicians the opportunity to connect the research with their own clinical experiences. It also underscores the urgency of discovering therapies for some untreatable cardiac diseases, and new therapies to supplant those with limited effectiveness.

About the Gazes Cardiac Research Institute

When the heart struggles to pump blood against an increased load, cardiac muscle cells respond by growing. Unfortunately, these enlarged cells often become abnormal, resulting in a major step on the road to heart failure, a problem facing up to four million patients in the United States, resulting in an economic burden that exceeds $11 billion each year.  

Understanding the subtle mechanisms that cause the cells to become abnormal has been the focus of long-running MUSC research efforts that helped attract more than $4 million in federal grants last year, making the Gazes Cardiac Research Institute one of the nation's leading centers for heart failure research. These grants also contributed to the growth of the university's overall research budget to more than $250 million, placing MUSC among the top 100 research institutions in the country.  

Named in honor of Peter Gazes, M.D., the Institute’s Director is Donald R. Menick Ph.D. The Institute operates within the adult cardiology division, headed by Tom Di Salvo M.D.  Included among its faculty are both clinical investigators (Federica Del Monte, M.D. Ph.D., Daniel Judge, M.D., Sheldon Litwin M.D., and Michael Zile, M.D.) and basic investigators (Onder Albayram Ph.D., Catalin Baicu, Ph.D., Amy Bradshaw, M.D., Kristine DeLeon-Pennell Ph.D., Dhandapani Kuppuswamy, Ph.D., and Donald Menick, Ph.D.). 

The Institute is housed in the first and third floor of the Strom Thurmond/Gazes Cardiac Research Institute building. Work on the first floor is focused on the evaluation of new treatment modalities in patients with heart failure. On the third floor, the basic research laboratories of MUSC and the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center concentrate on the altered cardiac properties that cause heart failure. The goal of these efforts is a tightly integrated attack on heart failure, including discovery of the critical molecular changes in the failing heart as well as the application of this knowledge in the prevention and cure of the disease.