Cardiovascular Research Programs

Image of research equipment in a lab, with small test tubes in a tray

The OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute is an integrated center for translational research, clinical care, professional training and outreach in all aspects of heart and vascular disease. Areas of research excellence include cardiovascular imaging, cardiovascular device design, cardiac surgery and transplantation, and epigenetics – the study of fetal origins of chronic adult diseases.

The institute aims to accelerate new prevention, diagnostic and treatment strategies being developed in the laboratory and transition them into patient care clinics as rapidly as possible. Under the umbrella of a multidisciplinary institute, researchers and clinicians collaborate together on projects while building strategic partnerships with pharmaceutical and medical device developers.

Key research strengths


  • OHSU is a national leader in studying the developmental origins of disease, such as how certain factors in the prenatal environment can make people more susceptible to heart disease and obesity.


  • OHSU brings internationally respected experts in ultrasound, MRI, CT, PET and other imaging modes together to create better ways to diagnose and treat heart attacks and artery diseases.
  • Sanjiv Kaul, M.D., developer of the powerful microbubble-based myocardial contrast echocardiography (MCE) technique, directs the West Coast’s only MCE program.


  • OHSU heart researchers are identifying the genetic and biochemical underpinnings of heart valve defects, vascular disease, rhythm disorders and other potential targets for drug therapies.
  • A multi-institutional team at OHSU is exploring key questions in the genetics of heart disease.
  • Scientists across OHSU have identified biological markers and promising drug candidates for treatment of cardiac and stroke damage.