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 directs the Structural Heart Research Program in the Cardiothoracic Research Laboratory, where his team is focused on understanding the mechanobiologic mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of heart valve disease, heart failure, and atherosclerosis. These mechanisms are studied in novel animal models by surgically manipulating valves, myocardium, and vessels so that these tissues experience different mechanical forces. The tissues' adaptive responses are then measured.

Dr. Padala and his team have developed several new implants and devices that can alter the mechanical force environment on cardiovascular tissues, so that normal tissue homeostasis can be restored. His research is funded by several R01 grants from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, American Heart Association, Coulter Foundation, Georgia Research, and industry.

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

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