Bo Schembechler

To date, the Heart of a Champion Research Fund has granted awards to five impressive investigators. Their work has already begun to have a substantial impact on cardiovascular research at Michigan. Their examples epitomize the vision that drives the Heart of a Champion Research Fund.



Katherine Gallagher2013 Award Winner:

Kathrine Gallagher, M.D. | The Role of Stem Cells in Diabetic Wound Healing

Despite significant advances in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and peripheral vascular disease in recent years, doctors have made little progress in addressing the disease's impact on poor wound healing. For patients living with diabetes, nerve damage, narrow arteries and a weakened immune system can turn a minor injury into a life-threatening medical complication. Diabetes is responsible for more than 65,000 leg and foot amputations each year, which are associated with a significant increase in patient mortality. Meanwhile, the total cost of treating diabetic wounds is more than $10 billion per year, so even small improvements in care could lead to significant cost savings in addition to improvements to individuals' quality of life. This is exactly what assistant professor of surgery, Dr. Katherine Gallagher is focusing her research on: finding therapies and ways to improve healing in diabetic wounds so they don't progress to the point of requiring amputation.Read more>



Thor Thorsson2012 Award Winner:

Thor Thorsson, M.D. | Searching for the Genetic Origins of Heart Defects

Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect, impacting about one in 100 live births. Babies born with severe defects such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) face the greatest risk. Advances in surgical and medical care—many of them pioneered here at Michigan—have greatly improved the outcomes for these vulnerable patients, but research indicates that survival rates have plateaued in recent years. To make further improvements, many more questions must be answered about what causes these defects. 2012 Heart of a Champion award-winner Thor Thorsson is the right person to ask these questions, and Michigan is the right place to answer them. Read more>


Dr. Meurer2011 Award Winner:
Will Meurer, M.D., M.S. | Stroke and the
Brain-Heart Connection

Assistant professor of both neurology and emergency medicine. Dr. Meurer cares for stroke patients every day at University Hospital. Every stroke is a critical emergency but not all strokes are the same. Small subsets of patients suffer a severe episode known as a subarachnoid hemorrhage, caused by the bursting of one of the primary blood vessels to the brain. During this event the heart is impacted as well, the result of distress signals sent from the brain to the heart. Science has yet to explain this current brain-heart connection but Dr. Meurer is out to change that. Read more>



Oliver Kripfgans2010 Award Winner:
Oliver Kripfgans, Ph.D. | Cardiac Imaging

Research assistant professor of radiology. Dr. Kripfgans is investigating a non-invasive approach for estimating cardiac output: a 3-dimensional ultrasound method that can be used to measure blood volume flow in a wide variety of clinical applications, including estimation of cardiac output in adult, pediatric and prenatal patients. His work is advancing the study of the one organ that is in constant motion - the heart. Read more>



Adam Stein2009 Award Winner:
Adam Stein, M.D. | Epigenetics

Clinical lecturer in cardiovascular medicine. Dr. Stein has found that epigenetics - the study of factors in addition to DNA that can be inherited and can impact cellular appearance and function - is providing answers to how the heart ages and how it responds to disease. His lab is working to determine whether changing specific epigenetic markers may be able to improve heart function. Read more>


University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center

Executive Officers of the University of Michigan Health System: Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D., Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs; James O. Woolliscroft, M.D., Dean, U-M Medical School; Douglas Strong, Chief Executive Officer, U-M Hospitals and Health Centers; Kathleen Potempa, Dean, School of Nursing.

Regents of the University of Michigan: Mark J. Bernstein, Julia Donovan Darlow, Laurence B. Deitch, Shauna Ryder Diggs, Denise Ilitch, Andrea Fischer Newman, Andrew C. Richner, Katherine E. White, Mary Sue Coleman, ex officio.

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