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  • CVI Quarterly

    The Stanford Cardiovascular Institute (CVI) is pleased to an-nounce the appointment of Richard Lawn, PhD, as CVI Con-

    sulting Professor effective Nov. 1, 2013.

    Richard Lawn received a B.A. degree in astronomy from Harvard College and a PhD in molecular, cellular and devel-opmental biology from the University of Colorado. His post-doctoral research un-der Tom Maniatis at Caltech featured the construction of the first human genomic DNA library and the isolation and cloning of the globin genes.

    As a senior scientist for ten years at Genentech, his laborato-ry cloned and characterized a number of important genes and

    Richard Lawn, PhD, Joins CVI

    Fall 2013Cardiovascular Institute

    In This Issue:New Chair of CT Surgery page 1-2Richard Lawn, PhD page 1-2Exercise Prescription page 3Cancer Drug Might Help Diabetes page 3Athlete Dives in After Surgery page 4Virus Barometer of Immune System page 5Determing How Proteins Govern Genes page 5CVI Clinical Trial Manager page 6Recruiting for ixCell DCM and PACE trials page 6CVI Newsbeats page 7-8CVI Members at AHA page 8CVI Postdoc Travel Awards page 8CVI Seed Grant Recipients page 9CVI Frontiers Seminars / Recruiting page 10 CVI Publications page 11-13Upcoming Grants / Postdoctoral Awards page 14Upcoming Meetings page 15CVI Leadership page 16


    LAWN continues on p. 2


    Y. Joseph Woo, MD, a nationally rec-ognized heart surgeon and leading researcher in new approaches to car-diovascular care, has been appointed chair of the De-partment of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Stanford Uni-versity School of Medicine. He will start Jan. 1.

    Joe is an exceptional re-searcher, clinician and ed-ucator, who will lead our distinguished Department of Cardio-thoracic Surgery to new levels of excel-lence, said Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine. Stanford Medicine is fortunate to have been able to recruit someone with his talents and vision.

    Philip Oyer, MD, the Roy B. Cohn-The-odore A. Falasco Professor of Cardio-thoracic Surgery, has been acting as

    interim department chair since the former chair, Robert Robbins, MD, left Stanford a year ago to head up the Tex-as Medical Center in Houston.

    Amir Dan Rubin, president and CEO of Stanford Hospi-tal & Clinics, said, We are so thrilled to welcome Dr. Woo to Stanford, as he has been an innovator in advancing the leading edge of cardiac care while delivering highly co-ordinated, patient-centered

    care. Dr. Woo not only has built world-class programs, but has been a role model for treating patients with caring, compassion and consideration what we at Stanford call C-I-CARE.

    Woo, 46, is currently a professor of surgery at the University of Pennsylva-nia, where he has been on the faculty since 2002 and directs the Minimally

    Invasive and Robotic Cardiac Surgery Program and the Cardiac Transplanta-tion and Mechanical Circulatory Sup-port Program.

    He has led a successful career in the operating room, classroom and labora-tory. As a surgeon who performs 350 to 400 heart surgeries a year, he has built a thriving clinical practice, pioneering multiple, innovative procedures, in-cluding minimally invasive techniques for mitral and aortic valve repair and reconstruction.

    His research encompasses basic, translational and clinical projects. His laboratory, funded by the National Institutes of Health, investigates new paths to myocardial repair through angiogenesis the process through which new blood vessels form from pre-existing vessels stem cells and

    Y. Joseph Woo

    New Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery Named

    Richard Lawn

    WOO continues on p. 2

    CVI all F 2013

  • LAWN from p. 1


    CVI Quarterly is a newsletter that showcases the academic and re-search activities of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institutes members

    CVI Quarterly Editorial Team

    265 Campus Drive, G1120, MC-5454, Stanford, CA 94305Phone: 650-725-7964;

    Articles marked with z reprinted with permission fromStanfords Office of Communication & Public Affairs

    Articles marked with v reprinted with permission from Stanford Hospital & Clinics Office of Communications

    Janet Kalesnikoff David L. M. Preston

    Newsletter EditorCVI Associate Director

    Newsletter Copy-editorCVI Program Manger

    their recombinant proteins in the fields of hemostasis and atherosclerosis, including clotting factor VIII (now a standard treatment for hemophelia), anti-thrombin III, LCAT, CETP and Lp(a).

    Dr. Lawn then served as a Professor of Cardiovascu-lar Medicine at Stanford and Vice President, Discov-ery Research at CV Therapeutics, where he used the emerging techniques of RNA profiling to identify the defect in Tangier disease to reveal the role of the lipid transporter ABCA1 in the HDL cholesterol pathway.

    Dr. Lawn has also worked with biotech companies in the development of novel diagnostics using RNA profiling and proteomics. He continues his interest in joining basic research with biotech commitment to translate biomedical research into drug and diagnos-tic application.

    For more:

    tissue engineering. As an educator, he has mentored many future surgeons.

    Some of the most famous people in cardiac surgery have led the pro-gram at Stanford over the years, Woo said, citing the late Norman Shumway, MD, who performed the first successful heart transplant in the United States at Stanford in 1968. Its truly a privilege to become a part of this amazingly presti-gious, high-powered academic institu-tion.

    Woo said he hopes to continue that tradition of excellence and innovation, furthering basic research in the lab and bringing basic science discoveries into use in clinical trials. He has run several clinical trials involving the translational use of stem cells for treatment of heart disease, and said he hopes to see Stan-fords participation in clinical trials at the national level increase.

    He plans to lead exploration of the newest techniques and devices for heart care, such as innovative ap-proaches to valve repair; smaller, more efficient mechanical heart pumps; and operations performed without stop-ping the heart.

    Woo, who was born in Missouri and raised in New Jersey, earned a bach-elors degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a medical degree from the University of Pennsyl-vania, where he conducted his post-graduate surgical training. Woo also completed a postdoctoral research fel-

    lowship in novel molecular strategies for attenuating myocardial ischemic injury, for which he won the American Heart Association Vivien Thomas Young Investigator Award.

    Woo joined the Penn faculty in 2002 as the director of the Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery Program. He has ad-vanced the field of complex valve repair and serves as principal investigator for several clinical device trials and trans-lational scientific clinical trials, such as delivering stem cells during coronary artery bypass grafting and mechanical heart pump implantation.

    Apart from the name confusion, Im very excited Joe is coming, joked Jo-seph C. Wu, MD, PhD, whose name is pronounced the same as Woos.

    I think he epitomizes the rare breed of cardiothoracic surgeon whos a triple threat, said Wu, professor of cardiovas-cular medicine and of radiology, and director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute. He excels at academic med-icine. Clinically, hes world-renowned in mitral valve repair and the use of mechanical devices. From a research perspective, hes one of the few CT sur-geons I know who has continuous NIH funding. As an educator, he is passion-ate in training the next generation of thought leaders in CT surgery.

    Im looking forward to working closely with him to take the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute and cardiotho-racic surgery to the highest level to be internationally recognized as the best program in the world.

    Woo is married and has two teenage children. z

    For more: and

    WOO from p. 1

    I think he epitomizes the rare breed of cardio-thoracic surgeon whos a

    triple threat.


    Two recently-published studies provide new insight on diabetes and show how a cancer drug was used to treat the disorder in animal models.

    The studies, done in mice, identify a previously unex-pected link between a low-oxygen condition called hypox-ia and the ability of cells in the liver to respond to insulin. The drug, aflibercept (marketed as Eylea or Zaltrap), is used to treat metastatic colorectal cancer and a form of macular degeneration. Aflibercept is a member of a fami-ly of proteins that inhibit the vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF, pathway. It works by blocking the growth of the blood vessels into tumors and starving them of ox-ygen.

    The lab of Calvin Kuo, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, identified a series of protein interactions that link VEGF inhibitors and blood glucose levels. We were surprised

    to find that this drug currently used in patients for cancer treatment had beneficial effects on diabetes in laboratory mice and could, potentially, in humans, said Kuo, senior author of one of the Nature Medicine papers.

    Together, the studies explain an observation made several years ago by Kuo and his lab members that VEGF inhibitors, such as aflibercept, could lower blood glucose levels in mice. There have been intriguing hints that these inhibitors could