Update from the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

The following is a guest post from Barry London, MD, PhD, Director of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. It is part of an ongoing 2019 series of division updates.

The Division of Cardiovascular Medicine continues to excel and promote great research, education, and clinical service.

Clinical Updates

Our clinical service in the Heart & Vascular Center continues to grow, with increasing volumes in outpatient clinics at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, Iowa River Landing (IRL), and in outreach locations, in procedures and imaging. General Cardiology visits were up 11% from FY18 to FY19, with help from our 48-hour new patient appointment campaign that kicked off in the Fall of 2018. Electrophysiology (EP) and Interventional procedure growth continues, with EP procedures showing a 12% growth from FY18 to FY19. Echo Imaging also realized an 8% growth from FY18 to FY19, and currently through FY20, shows an 18% overall increase from the same period last year.

Denice Hodgson-Zingman, MD, has accepted the position of Director of the Electrophysiology Section, effective July 1, 2019. She continues to show great skill and dedication in her clinical, educational, and research roles and shows great promise as Section Head.

Paulino Alvarez, MD, accepted the position of Interim Director of the Cardiomyopathy Section, effective July 1, 2019. He has played a central role in all aspects of the heart failure, transplantation, and advanced mechanical circulatory support programs.

Dr. Hodgson-Zingman
Dr. Alvarez

Our new clinical faculty and staff in FY19 include:

  • Georgios Christodoulidis, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Noninvasive cardiology
  • Promporn Suksaranjit, MD, MS, Clinical Assistant Professor, Noninvasive cardiology
  • Kristine Yumul, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Cardiomyopathy
  • Kongkiat Chaikriangkrai, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Noninvasive cardiology
  • Ernesto Ruiz, MD, Associate, Cardiomyopathy
  • Amgad Mentias, MD, Associate, Interventional/Noninvasive cardiology
  • Katie Halbmaier, DNP, ARNP, FNP-BC, General Cardiology & Genetics
Dr. Christodoulidis
Dr. Suksaranjit
Yumul~ Kristine
Dr. Yumul
Dr. Chaikriangkrai

Dr. Ruiz

Dr. Mentias

Mahi Ashwath, MD, and Isabella Grumbach, MD, PhD, have started a new cardio-oncology program, to treat cardiac complications of patients that result from the growing array of cancer therapies. The program continues to show growth.

Our Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center in the Cardiovascular Genetics Program was recognized as a Center of Excellence by the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association (HCMA) in 2019. This is a great achievement and congratulations are owed to Ferhaan Ahmad, MD, PhD, who directs the program.

Dr. Ashwath
Dr. Grumbach
Dr. Ahmad

Research Updates

Our research program saw great achievements, with the following faculty receiving grants since July 2018:


  • Ryan Boudreau, PhD, (NIH, R01): Regulation and Role of the Cardiac Sodium Channel in Heart Failure
  • Ryan Boudreau, PhD, (NIH, R01): The Genomic Interface of MicroRNA Regulation and Heart Failure
  • Frank Faraci, PhD, (NIH, R01): Central RAAS and Brain Small Vessel Disease – NINDS
  • Alexander Greiner (NIH, F30 MSTP Fellowship; Mentor: London): Assessing the Impact of MSX1 in Cardiac Fibrosis and Sudden Cardiac Death
  • Denice Hodgson-Zingman, MD, (NIH, R21): A New Pacing Approach for Cardioprotection and Repair in Heart Failure
  • Barry London, MD, PhD; Kaikobad Irani, MD; and Charles Brenner, PhD, (NIH, R01): Evaluating NAD Supplementation as a Novel Treatment for Arrhythmias
  • Daniel Matasic (NIH, F30 MSTP Fellowship, Mentor: London): Post-Translational Crosstalk in Cardiac Sodium Channels and Arrhythmogenesis
  • Long-Sheng Song, MD, MS, (VA, Merit): Understanding the Multifaceted Functions of MG53 in Heart Failure Pathogenesis
  • Robert Weiss, MD, (NIH, R01): Propagation and Resolution of Injury in Calcific Aortic Valve Disease
  • Leonid Zingman, MD, (VA, Merit): Myokine Musclin and Exercise Induced Cardiac Conditioning
CV update 1.jpg
(top, l to r) Dr. Boudreau, Dr. Faraci, Greiner, Dr. Hodgson-Zingman, Dr. London
(bottom, l to r) Matasic, Dr. Song, Dr. Weiss, Dr. Zingman


  • Ravinder Gaddam, PhD, (AHA, Fellowship, Mentor: Vikram): Gut-Microbiota Regulated Vascular MicroRNA-204 Promotes Endothelial Dysfunction in Diabetes
  • Isabella Grumbach, MD, PhD, (AHA, Innovative Award): Novel Models of Radiation Endotheliopathy
  • Modar Kassan, PhD, (AHA, Career Development Award; Mentor: Irani): miR-204/Sirt1 Axis Induces Endothelial Dysfunction by Targeting Vascular Serotonin in Diabetes/Obesity
  • Long-Sheng Song, MD, MS, (AHA, Innovative Award): Determining the Roe of Junctophilin-2 in Vascular Smooth Muscle Physiology and Disease
  • Long-Sheng Song, MD, MS, (AHA, Transformational Project Award): MG53: A Double-edged Sword in Cardiac T-tubule Damage and Repair
  • William Thiel, PhD, (AHA, Innovative Award): Generation of Cardiac Specific Aptamer Ligands
  • Ajit Vikram, PhD, (AHA, Career Development Award; Mentor: Irani): Gut-Microbiota Regulated Vascular miR-204 Promoted Diabetes-Associated Endothelial Dysfunction
  • Robert Weiss, MD, (AHA, Innovative): Targeting Transient Receptor Potential Cation Channel Subfamily V Member 4 Signaling in Aortic Valve Disease
CV update 2.jpg
(top, l to r) Dr. Gaddam, Dr. Grumbach, Dr. Kassan, Dr. Song
 (bottom, l to r) Dr. Thiel, Dr. Vikram, Dr. Weiss


  • Chad Grueter, PhD, (Carver Trust, Pilot): Targeting Cyclin C Dependent Regulation of Cardiac Transcription and Metabolism in Ischemic Heart Disease, Carver Internal Funding Initiative 2018
  • Chad Grueter, PhD, (Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center, Pilot): Nuclear Regulation of Mitochondria
  • Isabella Grumbach, MD, PhD, (Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, Mezhir Award): Radiation Exposure and Cardiac Arrhythmias: Mechanisms and Mitigation
  • Long-Sheng Song, MD, MS, (FOEDRC, Pilot): Metabolic Regulation of Junctophilin-2
Dr. Grueter
Dr. Grumbach
Dr. Song

Our new research faculty in FY19 include:

  • Karima Ait-Aissa, PhD, Research Assistant Professor
  • Modar Kassan, PhD, Research Assistant Professor
  • William Thiel, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Tenure Track
  • Shunguang Wei, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Tenure Track
  • Jin-Young Yoon, PhD, Associate
Dr. Ait-Aissa
Dr. Kassan
Dr. Thiel
Dr. Wei
Dr. Yoon

Top papers with a high-impact factor include:

  • Vikram A, Lewarchik CM, Yoon JY, Naqvi A, Kumar S, Morgan GM, Jacobs JS, Li Q, Kim YR, Kassan M, Liu J, Gabani M, Kumar A, Mehdi H, Zhu X, Guan X, Kutschke W, Zhang X, Boudreau RL, Dai S, Matasic DS, Jung SB, Margulies KB, Kumar V, Bachschmid MM, London B, Irani K. Sirtuin 1 regulates cardiac electrical activity by deacetylating the cardiac sodium channel. Nat Med. 2017 Mar;23(3):361-367.
  • Zhang X, Yoon JY, Morley M, McLendon JM, Mapuskar KA, Gutmann R, Mehdi H, Bloom HL, Dudley SC, Ellinor PT, Shalaby AA, Weiss R, Tang WHW, Moravec CS, Singh M, Taylor AL, Yancy CW, Feldman AM, McNamara DM, Irani K, Spitz DR, Breheny P, Margulies KB, London B, Boudreau RL. A common variant alters SCN5A-miR-24 interaction and associates with heart failure mortality. J Clin Invest. 2018 Mar 1;128(3):1154-1163.
  • Guo A, Wang Y, Chen B, Wang Y, Yuan J, Zhang L, Hall D, Wu J, Shi Y, Zhu Q, Chen C, Thiel WH, Zhan X, Weiss RM, Zhan F, Musselman CA, Pufall M, Zhu W, Au KF, Hong J, Anderson ME, Grueter CE, Song LS. E-C coupling structural protein junctophilin-2 encodes a stress-adaptive transcription regulator. Science. 2018 Dec 21;362(6421). pii: eaan3303.
  • Dukes K, Bunch JL, Chan PS, Guetterman TC, Lehrich JL, Trumpower B, Harrod M, Krein SL, Kellenberg JE, Reisinger HS, Kronick SL, Iwashyna TJ, Nallamothu BK, Girotra S. Assessment of Rapid Response Teams at Top-Performing Hospitals for In-Hospital Cardiac Arrest. JAMA Intern Med. 2019: In Press.

Educational Updates and Achievements

After ten years as Director of the Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship Program, Paul Lindower, MD, stepped down as Director. Dr. Lindower was a great advocate for fellows and is an incredible teacher and leader. He will still be involved in the program as we transition the directorship to Ferhaan Ahmad, MD, PhD.

François Abboud, MD, and Kaikobad Irani, PhD, were among the Internal Medicine faculty members that were honored at UI Carver College of Medicine Wall of Scholarship in March 2019. The Wall of Scholarship was established to highlight biomedical research by acknowledging a distinct group of current UI Carver College of Medicine faculty members whose published research articles have made a significant impact on a particular field of science or medicine.

Mahi Ashwath, MD, was elected President of the Iowa Chapter of the American College of Cardiology (ACC). Her term will begin in 2020. In addition, she won the Lewis E. January teaching award, as voted on by the Fellows of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. The award is voted annually and honors excellence in clinical teaching.

Dr. Lindower
Dr. Abboud
Dr. Irani
Dr. Ashwath

Donald Brown, MD, won the Laureate Award in October 2018 from the Iowa Chapter of the American College of Physicians. Since 1987, the Laureate Awards have been given annually by the Iowa Chapter of the American College of Physicians as a mark of honor and recognition for achievement of excellence in internal medicine in the State of Iowa.

Colleen Campbell, PhD, MS, CGC received the Strategic Leader Award from the National Society of Genetic Counselors. The award is presented annually to one individual who has done an outstanding job of promoting the genetic counseling profession as a recognized and integral part of health care delivery, through such avenues as education, research, and public policy. In addition, she was instrumental in getting genetic counselor licensure approved by the state.

Mark Chapleau, PhD, received the 2019 Iowa Physiological Society Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of a career devoted to science and to the professional society. He has gained national and international recognition for his work on the neural control of hypertension, the highest risk factor in cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Brown
Dr. Campbell
Dr. Chapleau

FY18 & FY19 Promotions:

  • Ramzi El Accaoui, MD: Promoted to Clinical Associate Professor
  • Milena Gebska, MD, PhD: Promoted to Clinical Associate Professor
  • Chad Grueter, PhD: Promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure
  • Isabella Grumbach, MD, PhD: Promoted to Professor with Tenure
  • Byron Vandenberg, MD: Promoted to Clinical Professor
Dr. Accaoui
Dr. Gebska
Dr. Grueter
Dr. Grumbach
Dr. Vandenberg

The Division of Cardiovascular Medicine will continue to grow and promote great research, education, and clinical service. We look forward to the year ahead.

2 Responses

Leave a Reply