The Division of Pediatric Cardiology is home to some of the country's best research aimed at understanding the molecular etiology of cardiac malformations and in the regulation of pulmonary vascular development. Other research interests include the molecular basis and genetics of sudden infant death syndrome, regenerative medicine/stem cell differentiation and tissue engineering, personalized medicine with particular emphasis on antiarrhythmic medications, and beta-blocker therapy versus angiotensin-2 receptor blocker therapy in individuals with Marfan syndrome.
Please see below to learn more about our investigators and their research efforts.
Dr. Baldwin's research efforts have concentrated on delineating the molecular basis of vascular development in the mammalian embryo as an approach to understanding the etiology of congenital heart diseases. His laboratory efforts are based on the hypothesis that the developing vasculature provides important patterning information that directs subsequent cardiac and pulmonary morphogenetic events. Dr. Baldwin is a principle investigator in the SysCode NIH Roadmap initiative, which focuses on harnessing the potential of normal developmental processes to inform the creation of tissue-engineered organs.
Dr. Brown is interested in the basic cell and molecular mechanisms involved in the formation of the heart and its connections to the blood vessels. His lab uses the mouse as a model system to study how the formation of the aorta and pulmonary arteries occurs normally, and in cases where specific genes have been altered resulting in defects. The two main areas of interest in the laboratory are the role of the transcription factor Tbx1, and the role of a family of signaling proteins called Semaphorins in cardiac development.
Dr Dees' research focus is to identify and characterize novel proteins involved in embryonic muscle development. Her current major project is study of the LEK proteins, which interact with key regulators of embryonic cell division and differentiation. By understanding how these proteins function together in the embryonic heart, and how they are silenced in the mature heart, her group hopes to better understand how embryonic muscle growth and development is controlled.
Dr. Dodd is Director of the Pediatric Heart Transplant Program. Vanderbilt's transplant program has a particular interest in transplantation of the infant and young child. Dr. Dodd has experience in noninvasive rejection surveillance techniques and steroid-free maintenance immunosuppression. She is interested in cardiac muscle dysfunction (cardiomyopathies), including its cause and its management medically and surgically.
Dr. Doyle is the Director of Pediatric Interventional Catheterization. He has special expertise in interventional and diagnostic cardiac catheterization techniques, balloon valvuloplasty, embolization, angioplasty, stent implantation, and device closure of atrial septal defects. Other areas of clinical interest include pulmonary hypertension and mediastinal fibrosis.
Dr. Fish's research interests are in clinical electrophysiology and pharmacology. In addition to invasive and transesophageal electrophysiology studies, he has been involved in tilt studies for clinical and research evaluation of patients with unexplained syncope and co-directing radiofrequency ablation at Vanderbilt. Research activities include pharmacologic studies of antiarrhythmic drugs, autonomic interventions, and tilt studies.
Dr. Johns' research interests are primarily in the clinical management of arrhythmias, with a particular focus on pacing. He is interested in application of new pacing technologies to pediatric patients, long-term performance of pacing leads, and effects of pacing on hemodynamics in complex congenital heart disease. In addition, he has an interest in application of computer technology to care for pediatric patients with heart disease.
Dr. Kannankeril's research investigates the genetic components of heart rhythm disorders. Dr. Kannankeril also directs the murine electrophysiology lab at Vanderbilt. He performs intracardiac electrophysiology studies in transgenic mouse models of cardiomyopathy, conduction system disease, and ion channelopathies. Clinical research continues with a focus on electrophysiology, genetic arrhythmia syndromes, catheter ablation, device thearpy, and public access defibrillation.
Dr. Markham's research centers on the application of clinical trials to Pediatric Cardiovascular medicine. Dr, Markham is the site investigator for the National Institutes of Health Pediatric Heart Network (PHN) multi-center trial comparing the treatments of the angiotensin receptor blocker, Losartan, with the current standard therapy of the beta blocker, Atenolol in Marfan syndrome. Dr. Markham also is investigating the impact of various forms of cardiomyopathy associated with neuromuscular disorders and long term care issues of adults with congenital heart disease.
Dr. Kavanaugh-McHugh is Director of the Echocardiography Laboratory. Her clinical interests are in the areas of transthoracic, transesophageal and fetal echocardiography. Her research interests include the assessment of pulmonary hypertension and applications to treatment in postoperative patients, as well as intraoperative monitoring of the fetus during prenatal surgical procedures.
Dr. Moore's primary research focus is in the area of pediatric pulmonary hypertension. He is currently the primary investigator for two clinical multi-institutional prospective registries investigating the outcome of various therapies used in the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension. He is actively investigating the outcomes of therapy for pulmonary hypertension associated with chronic lung disease of prematurity and is co-investigator in a project assessing factors responsible for pulmonary hypertension in children with Down syndrome. New directions for collaborative research include assessment of genetic modulators of acute and chronic pulmonary hypertension in children and investigation of novel chronic therapies.