Research

The University of California, San Diego (UCSD) is recognized as one of the top 15 research universities worldwide and is in the top 10 institutions in the nation receiving research funding from the National Institutes of Health. The Heart Institute at Rady Children's Hospital, in affiliation with UCSD, has made research a major focus with a mission to conduct high-quality patient-oriented research including clinical trials, outcomes analysis and evaluation of clinical pathways, facilitate basic and translational research and foster a culture of collaboration to ultimately improve care for those with congenital heart disease.  Our faculty and fellows are currently involved in 45 ongoing research studies that include clinical trials to advance the understanding and application of pharmacological interventions, surgical procedures, electrophysiology procedures and transcatheter interventions in the treatment of children and adults with congenital heart defects. The Heart Institute was a participating center in a recently concluded large Pediatric Heart Network trial comparing Losartan with Atenolol in children and young adults with Marfan syndrome.

Our basic research program strives to unravel the genetic mechanisms of congenital heart disease in order to develop improved therapies and preventive strategies.  Dr. Paul Grossfeld​ is an international authority on Jacobsen syndrome and his laboratory is using a combination of human and animal genetic model systems to unravel the genetic mechanisms of congenital heart disease.  Dr. Eric Devaney directs the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery laboratory with a focus on the molecular mechanisms of heart failure  and uses induced pluripotent stem cell technology for cardiovascular studies and tissue engineering. Dr. Vishal Nigam is studying the molecular mechanisms by which biomechanical forces stimulate ventricular growth.

Several physicians from the Heart Institute, in collaboration with the UCSD Bioengineering department, are investigating cardiovascular flow dynamics and ventricular mechanics. In addition, they are developing a web accessible database of congenital heart disease models.

The Heart Institute also participates in the following registry studies:

  • Congenital Heart Surgeons Society's (CHSS) ongoing multi-institutional study of outcomes and practices.
  • Improving pediatric and adult congenital treatment (IMPACT) registry.
  • Pediatric Heart Network (PHN).
  • Congenital cardiac catheterization outcomes (C3PO) -quality improvement registry.
  • Pediatric Heart Transplant Study (PHTS) registry.

Our vision is to be a world renowned academic center committed to excellence and advancement in the field of congenital heart disease through innovative and cutting-edge research.