Research

The SFVA faculty are active in basic science, clinical and translational research, and health services research. Research is supported by VA, NIH, professional societies, and industry.

Anthony Baker, PhD  is a cardiac muscle physiologist interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate cardiac muscle contraction and relaxation in health and disease. Current projects focus on the distinctive biology of the right ventricle and investigation of a novel therapy to treat right ventricular failure.

Sanket Dhruva MD is a cardiologist and health services researcher focused on the generation of real-world evidence that informs regulatory, insurer, and clinical decision-making for pharmaceuticals and medical devices. He is particularly interested in novel methods for data generation, including mobile health technologies and the application of advanced analytic methods to large data sets.

Laura Flink MD is interested in women’s cardiovascular health. She is partnering with the Women Veteran Cohort Study to look at the risk of cardiovascular disease in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Jorge Kizer MD has a research program that leverages molecular epidemiology and cardiovascular imaging to identify risk factors for heart disease and stroke, with the aim of advancing understanding of pathogenesis, prognostication, and treatment of these disorders. With funding from AHA and NIH, he has been an active investigator in several prospective cohort studies, including the Cardiovascular Health Study, the Hispanic Community Health Study / Study of Latinos, the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, and the Women’s Interagency HIV Study.

Chris Lau, PhD is a molecular geneticist interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of cardiovascular development and pathogenesis of diseases using advanced genetic, genomic, proteomic, and transgenic modeling strategies. Current research focuses on sexual dimorphisms and the influences of the Y chromosome genes in cardiovascular and other developmental diseases.

Rakesh Mishra MD conducts outcomes research utilizing the Heart and Soul Study database. His interests include the predictive abilities of NT-proBNP and echocardiographic parameters in patients with stable coronary artery disease.

Cara Pellegrini MD is a cardiac electrophysiologist who specializes in the management of atrial fibrillation. Her research interests include the impact of marijuana use on atrial fibrillation and the utilization and clinical impact of cardiac ambulatory ECG monitoring.

David Schopfer MD performs outcomes research aimed at improving the delivery of high quality, cost-effective cardiovascular care to those with ischemic heart disease and heart failure. His primary focus is the utilization and impact of cardiac rehabilitation. He is currently examining the variation in VA home-based cardiac rehabilitation programs, with an eye toward identifying best practices and ultimately improving implementation.

Sanyog Shitole, MBBS, MPH  has a primary interest in biomarkers and cardiac imaging in cardiovascular epidemiology.  He focuses on the role of inflammatory markers in risk prediction modeling and incident cardiovascular outcomes. He is also interested in statistical applications of advanced epidemiological methods

Kendrick Shunk MD PhD has partnered with industry on multiple large clinical trials assessing different coronary intervention strategies. He was part of the executive committee of the PRESERVE Trial, which was recently published in the NEJM, and showed no significant benefit in incidence of acute kidney injury or related outcomes with IV sodium bicarbonate or oral acetylcysteine prior to coronary angiography.

Paul C Simpson MD has a basic-translational lab studying heart failure.  NIH and the VA have funded his lab continuously for almost 4 decades. Experiments over recent years validated a molecular target for a small molecule to treat heart failure in animal models. Current work aims to extend these results to a first clinical trial.

John Teerlink MD is a leader in acute heart failure trails. Ongoing and recent trials in which he has played a pivotal role include: STANDUP-AHF investigating Nitroxyl donor infusion, GALACTIC-HF and COSMIC-HF, clinical trials of Omecamtiv Mecarbil, and RELAX-AHF-2 which examined the role of serelaxin in acute heart failure.

Jeffrey Zimmet MD PhD has held leadership roles with the Clinical Assessment, Reporting, and Tracking System for Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories (CART-CL), a national repository of VA-wide data cataloguing the use and outcomes of diagnostic and interventional cardiac catheterization procedures. He is interested in leveraging this data to improve outcomes for patients undergoing coronary catheterization procedures.