MCW Cardiovascular Center Signature Programs and Affinity Groups

Signature Programs and Affinity Groups of the CVC are designed to organize collaborative networks and to promote interactions among investigators with common and disease-oriented research interests. Accordingly, all Signature Programs and Affinity Groups will continue to serve as campus incubators in order to stimulate, exchange and nurture new ideas and develop novel research programs in basic, translational, and clinical research.

By design, Signature Programs are disease-oriented research programs, which are inclusively geared to transcend the chasm and to create opportunities from across MCW and all regional affiliated programs (e.g., Blood Research Institute, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Froedtert Health Systems, etc.). A formal affiliation with the CVC will not preclude scientists and clinical colleagues forging new collaborations that are dedicated to achieving the new objectives outlined below for the group.

MCW CVC Signature Programs | Classification SystemIn the spirit of the Olympics, each program received a classification of bronze, silver, or gold, with the higher medals being awarded to Signature Programs that have research with a more direct impact on clinical care, public policy, and community health, successful mentoring programs, acquisition of team-based grant funding, completion of clinical trials, and engagement of the community. The medal designation provides a consistent glide path to facilitate advancement toward the next medal, helps clarify resources needed to achieve these goals, and defines metrics used to assess success. By creating these programs (which are patient- or disease-specific, or both), we now have an incubator for driving the continuum of how research can be leveraged for quality patient care that improves the community’s cardiovascular health.

An essential requirement for the Affinity Groups is to become organized and further develop into a Signature Program. The size and composition of the Signature Program should contain investigators and clinician scientists/investigators who form critical alliances to enable these working groups to become the nucleus for a Program Project Grant, multiple PI/PD and multidisciplinary (U01) grants.

Signature Programs and Affinity Groups receive administrative support by the CVC and are eligible for CVC grants. The Cardiovascular Center recently offered multiple "Pre-PPG Awards" to promote team science. Please see the Funding and Scholarship Opportunities section of our website for more information.

This evolution of Affinity Groups should not discourage small groups of individuals functioning as extended lab meetings/journal clubs of labs working on interrelated problems. However, we believe these efforts for reorganization of Affinity Groups should accelerate the testing of new ideas in translational and health outcomes research while enhancing the success rate of research programs for extramural funding.

Signature Programs

Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis, & Vascular Biology

The Signature Program in Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis & Vascular Biology is designed to foster collaborations from which new scientific teams emerge to pursue fundamental and translational scientific investigation and to provide a resource for researchers who are interested in addressing the major causes of mortality and morbidity in Western countries through the study of lipid metabolism, inflammation, platelet biology, vascular biology and their clinical implications for cardiovascular health and disease. The Program promotes team science linking junior and senior faculty and trainees in a rich, nurturing, transdisciplinary research environment.

Leaders: Mary Sorci-Thomas, PhD | David Gutterman, MD

*Scheduled weekly meetings on Mondays, 9 - 10 a.m., HRC, 4th Floor, CVC Conference Room H4950

Cardiac Biology & Heart Failure

The Cardiac Biology & Heart Failure Signature Program is a platform built to support independent investigators working towards enabling their fundamental discoveries in the area of cardiac disease, to be translated into better science, clinical research, and clinical utility.

Leaders: Paul Goldspink, PhD | Jennifer Strande, MD, PhD


The Hypertension Signature Program's goal is to integrate hypertension research at MCW and foster better communication among scientists working in the field.

Leaders: Mingyu Liang, MB, PhD | Srividya Kidambi, MD

Precision Cardiovascular Medicine

The Precision Cardiovascular Medicine Signature Program builds on the Human Genome Project and the recent nationwide Precision Medicine Initiative to promote enhanced understanding, and opportunities to investigate and translate advances, in both diagnostics and therapeutics, for improved outcomes of individual patients while minimizing side effects.

Leaders: Ulrich Broeckel, MD | Ivor Benjamin, MD

Affinity Groups


The Cardio-Oncology Affinity Group studies the impact of cancer therapies on cardiovascular health and the long-term effects on cancer survivors

Leaders: Meetha Medhora, PhD | Andreas Beyer, PhD


The Microvesicle Affinity Group seeks to discuss ongoing and new research in the diverse microvesicle field to promote research collaborations amongst investigators in Southeast Wisconsin.

Leaders: Julie Freed, MD, PhD | Brian Hoffmann, PhD


The Prevention Affinity Group promotes collaboration amongst investigators who focus their research efforts to improve cardiovascular health and reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease through behavioral lifestyle interventions in the clinic and surrounding community.

Leader: Jacquelyn Kulinski, MD

Redox Biology & Medicine

The Redox Biology and Medicine Affinity Group's focus is to integrate and promote research related to free radicals.

Leaders: Balaraman Kalyanaraman, PhD | Marcelo Bonini, PhD

Please see our membership guidelines and application details for more information.