Research

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The cardiology division at ZSFG has a highly successful program in research and discovery. Much of this research is funded through highly competitive peer-reviewed grants, primarily from the National Institutes of Health. The cardiology division has a state-of-the-art Center of Excellence in Vascular Research which provides detailed assessment of vascular function in humans. The mission of this Center is to bring knowledge derived from basic science to clinical application, including improving understanding of cardiovascular diseases and discovery of new therapies. The following are examples of cardiovascular research at ZSFG:

  1. Cardiovascular disease in HIV: Dr. Priscilla Hsue (ZSFG; Priscilla Hsue | UCSF Profiles) was among the first to describe the high risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with HIV, nearly 15 years ago. She is one of the few cardiologists with clinical and research expertise in HIV and is an  international leader in this field, currently investigating the reasons behind the high rates of cardiovascular disease in HIV and testing potential new treatments. Dr. Hsue also studies the role of inflammation in atherosclerosis. 

 

  1. Proteomics: Dr. Peter Ganz (ZSFG; Peter Ganz | UCSF Profiles) is an expert in the study of proteins (proteomics). He has shown that levels of specific proteins in blood can predict the risk of cardiovascular diseases and provide a biological explanation for these diseases. In addition, he has shown that blood levels of proteins after treatments are initiated can predict whether these treatments will prove to be beneficial or harmful for patients. Thus, through Dr. Ganz’s research, proteomics has become an important tool of precision medicine.

 

  1. Health policy: Dr. Dhruv Kazi (ZSFG, Dhruv Kazi | UCSF Profiles) is an expert in the optimization of health care expenditures to maximize societal value. He is investigating the best use for scarce resources when considering various diagnostic or therapeutic strategies for a given disease or a range of commonly encountered diseases.

 

  1. New therapeutics (basic science): Dr. John Chorba (Dhruv Kazi | UCSF Profiles) uses chemical tools to probe biological mechanisms of disease, with the ultimate goal of developing a better understanding of heart disease to develop novel therapeutics. Currently, his work focuses on the processing mechanisms of PCSK9, a protein that causes elevated cholesterol levels, so as to develop new drug targets against atherosclerosis.

 

  1. New therapeutics (clinical science): Dr. David Waters (UCSF Cardiology | Faculty Profiles) has been instrumental in the development and testing of numerous cardiovascular drugs, many of which became important treatments for patients. He has served on the steering committee of many clinical trials and has been a prolific author.

 

  1. Tobacco and nicotine:    Dr. Neal Benowitz’ (Neal Benowitz | UCSF Profiles) research focuses on the human pharmacology of nicotine in relation to pathogenesis of and individual differences in vulnerability to tobacco-related disease, and the use of pharmacologic data as a basis for public health policies to prevent and reduce such disease.

 

  1. Human vascular and endothelial biology: Dr. Peter Ganz (ZSFG; Peter Ganz | UCSF Profiles) and Dr. Priscilla Hsue (ZSFG; Priscilla Hsue | UCSF Profiles) are experts in human vascular biology. They co-direct the Center of Excellence in Vascular Research which provides detailed assessment of vascular function in humans, including endothelial function, carotid artery intima-media thickness, echo arterial stiffness, echocardiogram, and endothelial biopsies. Over 25 years ago, Dr. Ganz was instrumental in establishing the research field of human endothelial biology.  The Center of Excellence is used by investigators in many different disciplines including Rheumatology, Center for Tobacco Research, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Positive Health Program, Nephrology and General Internal Medicine.