Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Richmond, Virginia

Here at the VCU Pauley Heart Center, we're very excited about the research potential that we have in terms of improving the outcome for patients with cardiovascular disease specifically with coronary artery disease.

Our research spans basic clinical problems such as looking at the presentation of chest pain, the many factors that contribute to patients who have unstable angina and myocardial infarction, and attempting to understand what the risk factors are and how we can better manage those patients.

Going a bit more specific into the arteries and their changes that occur with the risk of cardiovascular disease, we have a young investigator who's actually obtaining cells from the blood vessels themselves during invasive cardiac procedures and growing those cells in a laboratory to understand what changes occur in the early development of diabetes and it's impact on vascular disease.

As we all know, vascular disease is a major component of our risk related to diabetes. And so, this opportunity to understand these cells is very important.

Lastly on a basic science level we're working with pre-conditioning. That is trying to understand what we can do to salvage heart muscle when a heart attack actually occurs. And drugs such as Viagra and other such similar type of agents have been very effective at improving in a basic science model the risk of adverse events after a heart attack.

We hope to be able to extend these studies in the near future into the human laboratory to better understand how we can better improve the outcome for patients that have a heart attack.