Aortic Surgery Research

The aortic translational research laboratories in the Knight Cardiovascular Institute aim to facilitate bench to bedside aortic research projects that address the fundamental molecular, cellular and physiologic mechanisms underlying diseases of the aorta.

Current projects of interest include:

  • Developing a blood test to detect aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection for clinical application.
  • Uncovering the impacts of tobacco induced arterial injury and its contribution to aortic aneurysm.
  • Determining the causes for increased risk of aortopathy in patients with Turner’s syndrome.
  • Multiple clinical device trials for the treatment of aortic aneurysm.

Translational research

Aortic translational research at the institute stems from a multidisciplinary collaboration of basic science cardiovascular researchers and clinicians with special expertise in aortic disease.

A major initiative within this program is built from the discovery of the most promising biomarker to date for identifying aortic aneurysm and dissection. Researchers at the institute are using this discovery to develop a commercial blood test that would identify this risk in a patient in a matter of hours, a potential life-saving diagnostic tool for use in emergency rooms when patients present with appropriate symptoms.

Our program uses novel scientific methods to identify the earliest signs of aortic damage caused by tobacco smoke and other insults. Our goal is to be able to identify patients with early aortic damage and halt or reverse the process before any signs or symptoms of the disease occur. These projects will enable us to identify patients at risk for developing aortic atherosclerosis and aneurysms and begin treatment before the disease ever develops.

Our Turner syndrome studies focus on increased susceptibility for aortopathy, advanced cardiovascular aging and sex-specific risk factors for the disease. The translational goals for this research are to develop biomarkers that are predictive of thoracic aortic aneurysm progression with minimally invasive methods and to develop therapeutic approaches that will halt or slow the progression of aortopathy in Turner syndrome. 

Clinical aortic research

Cook Inc. Zenith p-Branch Pivotal Study for Complex Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

The Zenith p-branch device endovascular aortic stent graft device was developed to provide an off the shelf treatment option for patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) arising close to the important arteries to the kidneys. Currently there are limited options in these kinds of aneurysm and patients either must have an open surgical operation or are refused repair because they are too high risk for open surgery. The primary objective of this clinical study is to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the Zenith p-Branch for treatment of pararenal and juxtarenal AAA. The ability to have access to this device has the potential to benefit many patients, especially those with very large AAA, and those that cannot be treated currently using available endovascular means. Because of Dr. Abraham's extensive experience in endovascular complex AAA repair in Canada, he has the most experience with these types of devices in Oregon and much of the United States. OHSU currently ranks in the top three nationally for patient enrollment amongst participating institutions in the U.S.

GORE TAG Thoracic Branch Endoprosthesis (TBE Device) in the Treatment of Lesions of the Aortic Arch and Descending Thoracic Aorta

Patients with complex aortic aneurysms or aortic dissection of the thoracic aorta currently require treatment with an endovascular thoracic stent graft that must cover an important artery to the left arm or the left side of the brain necessitating a separate surgical bypass in the neck to maintain blood flow to the arm and brain. The development of this clinical trial device is intended to replace this surgical operation, therefore allowing a much less invasive option to treat a complex thoracic aortic aneurysm. OHSU is currently screening and enrolling patients in this important clinical trial.


Postdoctoral and other research positions are available within the aortic laboratories of the Knight Cardiovascular Institute. Please review our faculty profiles below for further information about areas of focus and contact the faculty member directly to inquire about available positions associated with his or her laboratory.

For more information

Email to:

  • Partner on our research
  • Inquire about postdoctoral positions

For patients

Call 503-418-1964

Inquire about actively enrolling cardiovascular clinical trials.