Cardiothoracic Research Laboratory

The Cardiothoracic Research Lab (CTRL) of the Emory University School of Medicine conducts basic and translational research in cardiac surgery, cardiothoracic diseases and treatment; trains basic science and clinical investigators in cardiothoracic research and therapeutics; and develops innovative strategies and devices to treat cardiothoracic diseases.


Dr. Robert Guyton

DIRECTOR: Robert A. Guyton, MD

Throughout Dr. Guyton's career at Emory, which has included his tenure as chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery from 1990-2017, he has been involved in the creation and refinement of numerous cardiothoracic surgical techniques. Beginning in 2007, he joined former Emory CT surgeon scientist Dr. Vinod Thourani and Emory cardiologists Dr. Vasilis Babaliaros and Dr. Peter Block as one of the local surgical co-PIS  of the multi-center PARTNER I trial of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). The results of the national trial influenced FDA approval of the SAPIEN transfemoral transcatheter heart valve in 2011.

In 2014, Dr. Guyton was inducted into Emory's Millipub Club for being co-author of a paper that has been cited more than 1,000 times in the literature: "Transcatheter aortic-valve implantation for aortic stenosis in patients who cannot undergo surgery," published in the October 2010 edition of New England Journal of Medicine. The paper reported the results of comparing TAVR to such standard therapies as balloon aortic valvuloplasty, and concluded that the reduced mortality among patients treated with TAVR as opposed to traditional methods was significant.

Dr. John Calvert

John W. Calvert, PhD

Dr. Calvert's lab focuses on different mechanisms of cardioprotection in the setting of acute myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury and heart failure. Currently, his team is investigating the cardioprotective signaling mechanisms of hydrogen sulfide in heart failure and the diabetic heart, as well as the cardioprotective signaling mechanisms of exercise. Dr. Calvert's work has demonstrated that a concentrated administration of hydrogen sulfide either prior to ischemia or at reperfusion significantly ameliorates in vivo myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury in mice, with a clear reduction in myocardial infarction, oxidative stress, apoptosis, and contractile dysfunction.

Grant awards from such organizations as the National Institutes of Health and the American Diabetes Association have supported Dr. Calvert's research since he established his independent laboratory in 2008, and his findings have been published in such high impact journals as Circulation, Circulation Research, and Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.

Dr. Muralidhar Padala

Muralidhar Padala, PhD

Dr. Padala and his team are investigating the pathogenesis of heart valve disease and its impact on heart function and failure, including the basic mechanisms of valve pathophysiology, clinical techniques to repair valves, and the development of innovative heart valve repair/replacement technologies.


Basic Science: With the objective of discovering the optimal timing of heart valve repair/replacement, Dr. Padala's team is studying the impact of mitral valve and tricuspid valve regurgitation on structural and functional remodeling of the heart. This work was initially funded by a Leducq Fondation Career Development Award to Dr. Padala (2011-2014). Current funding is provided by a Scientist Development Grant he received from the American Heart Association (2014-2018).

Clinical Science: By studying the inadequacies of existing repair methods, the lab is working to develop new techniques to repair the mitral and tricuspid valves and the injured left ventricle associated with these valve diseases. Funding has been provided by the Carlyle Fraser Heart Center (2012-2015).

Innovations: Dr. Padala's lab is dedicated to translating scientific concepts into patents and prototypes and is conducting the pre-clinical work required to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the lab's innovations. This work is funded by an NIH STTR grant (2012-2014), the Georgia Research Alliance (2012-2015), and the Wallace Coulter Foundation (2011-2013). Dr. Padala received the Innovation of the Year award from the Emory Office of Technology Transfer in 2011 for certain achievements in this area.

Visit Dr. Padala's website for his Structural Heart Research and Innovation Lab.

««return to top