Logo: University of Southern California

Seeding a Center for Heart Disease Research

January 09, 2007 —
Tzung (John) Hsiai
Tzung (John) Hsiai, a biomedical engineer and cardiologist, has received a Zumberge grant to help establish a Cardiovascular Research Core involving seven departments in five schools at USC.
Hsiai holds the Mary G. and Robert G. Lane Early Career Chair at the Viterbi School and also has an appointment in Cardiovascular Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at USC.
In addition to Hsiai, USC faculty who will be involved in the Core include: 
  • Enrique Cadenas, Charles Krown/Alumni Professor and associate dean for research affairs, Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical Sciences in the USC School of Pharmacy;
  • Kelvin Davies, James E. Birren Professor of Gerontology, associate dean for research in USC’s Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and a professor of molecular & computational biology in the USC College;
  • Howard Hodis, Harry Bauer & Dorothy Bauer Rawlings Professor of Cadiology, Department of Medicine & Department of Preventive Medicine in the Keck School;
  • Fengzhu Sun, professor of biology in the College’s Molecular and Computational Biology Program; and
  • Mark Barr, associate professor and co-director of Cardiothoracic Transplantation, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery ate Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the Keck School.
The James H. Zumberge Research and Innovation Fund is the largest internal pool of research funding at USC and awards over half a million dollars each year through its annual James H. Zumberge Awards competition.
During the past four years Hsiai’s group has been working with the USC Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) group to develop tiny sensors with dimensions ranging down to about one-tenth the thickness of a human hair. In laboratory studies, the sensors have advanced the understanding of how fluid shear stress – blood flow – is related to the initiation of coronary artery disease. The sensors are now about to be deployed in animal models prior to human studies.
“Coronary artery disease will emerge as a global health issue within the next 15 years largely due to its accelerating prevalence in the developing nations and the parallel rising incidence of obesity and diabetes in the Western world,” says Hsiai
He says the theme of the Core will be to stem coronary artery disease with the introduction of novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches and its education plan will prepare 21st century global engineers, scientists and clinicians. Research and clinical activities will provide the basis for the development of interdisciplinary curricula as well as hands-on, lab-based and team-based learning models. Finally, the Core will establish a knowledge transfer program with open houses, seminars and national conferences.
One of the Core’s major goals will be to attract external funding to support a research center. To that end Hsiai plans on inviting distinguished speakers and program directors from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health to assess the Core and its faculty.
More information about Hsiai’s research can be found at: