The Division is actively conducting various research projects under the oversight of its Cardiovascular Research Unit (CRU), directed by Dr. Ray Matthews (Medical Director) and Dr. Leonardo Clavijo (Associate Director). Areas of research include carotid artery disease, coronary artery disease, ischemic heart disease and myocardial infarction, congenital heart disease, heart failure and electrophysiological heart disorders. The CRU specializes in cutting-edge technology for pacemaker and cardiac devices and oversees all investigator-initiated, federal, foundation and industry-sponsored studies in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, working closely with the USC Clinical Trials Office (CTO), Department of Contracts and Grants (DCG) and the USC Health Sciences Campus Institutional Review Board (IRB). The Division also has an active technology development program and has worked closely with the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation and outside entities to develop new technology and use of modern communication modalities to diagnose cardiovascular disease and fully engage patients and patients’ families and caregivers. Currently, the Division has 48 federal, foundation and industry sponsored protocols and 10 investigator-initiated protocols.

Research Highlights

Ray V. Matthews, MD
Dr. Ray Matthews’ research interests include high risk percutaneous coronary intervention and the devices that provide hemodynamic support during these procedures. He is the Principal Investigator for the Shield II study, which is a multicenter randomized trial between the HeartMate PHP and the IMPELLA® 2.5 for hemodynamic support during the performance of high risk coronary intervention. Dr. Matthews has lectured nationally and internationally on this topic.

Catheter interventions for structural heart disease are also an interest of Dr. Matthews. He serves as Co-Principal Investigator for the PORTICO study. This is a randomized trial between commercially available transcatheter aortic valves and the PORTICO transcatheter valve in patients at high risk for surgical aortic valve replacement. Dr. Matthews is a physician educator and proctor for the performance of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) and has lectured nationally and internationally on the topic. Dr. Matthews and USC have also been selected to be part of an early experimental trial of transcatheter mitral valve replacement scheduled to begin in 2017.

Leslie A. Saxon, MD
Dr. Saxon founded the USC Center for Body Computing (CBC) in 2006. The Center helps extend the reach and depth of CVTI research by working with outside entities as diverse as Apple, VSP Global, Qualcomm, Proteus Digital Health, St. Jude Medical, the United States Army Research Lab and the NFL. Collaborating with the CVTI and the Keck School of Medicine of USC, the CBC is conducting feasibility studies with state-of-the-art devices that can wirelessly monitor patients remotely, in addition to creating social networks, mobile apps and virtual care providers to help extend the reach of the CVTI cardiovascular specialists to our patient populations locally, and one day, nationally.

Faculty Research Areas

Uri Elkayam, MD
Congestive Heart Failure
Cardiovascular Pharmacology
Heart Disease in Pregnancy
Valvular Heart Disease

Parveen K. Garg, MD
Peripheral Artery Disease
Cardiovascular Epidemiology
Inflammatory Biomarkers

Antreas Hindoyan, MD
Percutaneous Cardiac Support Devices
Coronary Artery Disease
Advanced Cardiac Imaging

Howard N. Hodis, MD

Ray V. Matthews, MD
Supported High Risk Coronary Intervention
Non-Invasive Cardiac Pressures Determination by SmartPhone
Percutaneous Therapy of Structural Heart Disease

Vivian Y. Mo, MD
Cardiac Imaging by Echocardiography
Cardiovascular Disease in Women
Right Ventricular Function

Leslie A. Saxon, MD
Digital Health and Virtual Care Models
Augmented and Immersive Technology, Virtual Human Agents and Artificial Intelligence for Medicine
Mobile Application Implementation and Research for Medical Applications
Wearable and Implantable Sensor Technology and Big Data Analytics
Elite Athletic & Military Performance & Resiliency Evaluation

 Jerold S. Shinbane, MD
Advanced Cardiac Imaging of Cardiovascular Substrates
Heart Failure and Cardiac Devices

Jina Sohn, MD
Echocardiography and Application in Clinical Settings

Helga Van Herle, MD
Preventative Cardiology
Cardiovascular Disease in Women
Cardiac Evaluation of Solid Organ Transplant Candidates
Application of Information Technology in Medicine
Signal processing for Improvement of Echocardiographic imaging

Contact Us

Cardiovascular Research Unit (CRU)
University of Southern California
Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
1510 San Pablo St, Suite 322
Los Angeles, CA 90033
Phone: 323-442-6863
Fax: 323-442-7610