Utah Cardiac Recovery Program – UCAR

Our ongoing research is focused on understanding the clinical, metabolic and molecular profile of the failing and recovering heart. By utilizing biological information derived from studies in humans, small and large animal models we are trying to understand, predict and manipulate myocardial recovery. Our lab was the first to challenge the widely held view that ventricular assist device induced mechanical unloading is associated with disuse myocardial atrophy. Currently, we are performing metabolome, proteome, and transcriptome profile analyses along with metabolic flux experiments using stable isotope tracers in heart failure patients undergoing cardiac mechanical support and/or heart transplant. Our human myocardial tissue findings are guiding our basic science experiments to knockout, inhibit or overexpress these specific targets in vitro and in vivo.

We have published original work generated both in the clinical arena and in our laboratory which led to the founding and establishment of the award-winning multidisciplinary Utah Cardiac Recovery Program (UCAR). Part of our ongoing research is focused on cardiac recovery associated with unloading and mechanical circulatory support (MCS) in the chronic heart failure (HF) setting and the acute setting (i.e. acute HF/cardiogenic shock). The research initiatives of UCAR are developed in close connection and alignment to the development of its clinical aspects. This parallel development facilitates a full circle bidirectional synergy which is mutually beneficial to the research and clinical potentials.

To fulfill this vision our research team brings together lab-based and clinical investigators. To keep advancing the UCAR program we have been systematically catalyzing research and clinical interactions: (A) Inter-departmentally: CVRTI, Cardiology, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Molecular Medicine, Cardiac Pathology and Bioengineering, (B) Inter-institutionally: Locally - U of Utah Health, Intermountain Heart Institute, Salt Lake VA Medical Center, Nationally - Wash U, UCSD, UTSW, MGH, U of Cincinnati and other, Internationally - Karolinska/Sweden, Heidelberg University/Germany, U of Athens & Onassis Center/Greece, Sichuan Academy of Medical Sciences/China, and other.

Dr. Drakos is a Nora Eccles Treadwell Investigator and Professor of Medicine and Director of Cardiovascular Research for the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Univ. of Utah. He is the Co-Chief Heart Failure and Transplant Section and Medical Director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support Program. Univ. of Utah Healthcare. He is co-chairing the NIH/NHLBI Working Group “Advancing the Science of Myocardial Recovery with Mechanical Circulatory Support” - its executive summary and member list can be found at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/events/2016/nhlbi-working-group-advancing-science-myocardial-recovery-mechanical-circulatory) Along the same lines Dr. Drakos is co-directing the Annual International Utah Cardiac Recovery Symposium (UCARS) - for more info please visit:  http://medicine.utah.edu/cardiacrecoverysymposium/

RESEARCH SUPPORT/FUNDING

Dr. Drakos has received peer-reviewed extramural research support as Principal Investigator (PI) from the NIH (R01, CTSA, and other), AHA (HF SFR Network, CV Genome Phenome, and other), European Union/Marie Curie-FP7, Doris Duke Foundation, Department of Veterans Affairs, Intermountain Research Medical Foundation, Leventis and Bodossaki Foundations (Large Animal Research) and others.

  • CVRTI
  • School of Medicine
  • University of Utah