Cardiovascular Center

Allen Cowley, Jr., PhD, Harry and Gertrude Hack Term Professor in Physiology, the James J. Smith and Catherine Welsch Smith Professor in Physiology, and Chair of the Department of Physiology, is Director of the Cardiovascular Center.

The College’s Cardiovascular Center, one of the largest in the country, comprises the activities of more than 190 physicians and scientists who treat patients, conduct research, and train the next generation of medical professionals, with a focus on cardiovascular disease. The Center ranks among the top 10 centers receiving cardiovascular funding from the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

The Cardiovascular Center has been at the forefront of translational research working with physicians and scientists from many departments at The Medical College of Wisconsin - Medicine, Anesthesiology, Pediatrics, Surgery, Physiology, Pharmacology/Toxicology and their associated subspecialties - taking discoveries learned from the laboratory to the bedside of patients.

Important contributions by Medical College faculty to the understanding and cure of cardiovascular disease include:

  • Development of stem cells to replace damaged or diseased cells in adult cardiac tissue and their use to determine the effects of genetic mutations upon normal cardiovascular functions
  • Discovery of endogenous cardiac factors related to oxygen radicals and other reactive oxygen species that inhibit human coronary vasodilation in heart disease
  • Exploration and discovery of endogenous factors that control pulmonary vascular tone and with pulmonary hypertension and lung diseases
  • Discovery of novel endogenous factors and cellular pathways involved in vascular endothelial dysfunction in the development of hypertension and atherosclerosis
  • Discovery of abnormal signaling by a family of small intracellular enzymes (GTPases) contained in vascular muscle cells that can contribute to several diseases, including asthma, hypertension and atherosclerosis.