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

David M. Shavelle, MD
Dr. Shavelle is involved in several research studies: he is a Principal Investigator and is on the National Steering Committee for the post FDA approval CardioMEMS study that is evaluating the use of the CardioMEMS HF device in patients with class III NYHA heart failure. He is a Co-Investigator for the PARACHUTE IV clinical trial that is evaluating the use of a novel device placed within the left ventricular apex to improve cardiac function in patients with class III NYHA heart failure and participates in multicenter registry evaluating the use of the AngioVac system. He is an advisor to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) of Los Angeles County and is involved in several ongoing research projects related to the treatment of out of hospital cardiac arrest and ST elevation myocardial infarction.

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.

Leonardo C. Clavijo, MD, PhD
Dr. Clavijo is Principal Investigator of the Same Day Discharge study, an investigator-initiated study sponsored by Abbott. The purpose of this study is to compare the strategies, outcomes and complication rates of early (same day) versus delayed (day after the procedure) hospital discharge in patients undergoing single and multi-vessel stenting of types A, B and C lesions. Dr. Clavijo is also Principal Investigator and author for ASA/Plavix and STT-Clips, studies that examine clot prevention and are high on-treatment platelet reactivity in patients with critical limb ischemia.

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

Leonardo C. Clavijo, MD, PhD
Percutaneous Coronary Interventions
Critical Limb Ischemia
Endovascular Treatment of Peripheral Arterial and Venous Vascular Disease
Vascular Biology: Endothelial Dysfunction-Inflammation, Angiogenesis-Arteriogenesis

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

Michael W. Fong, MD
Smartphone Delivered Cardiac Rehabilitation in Heart Failure
Intrinsic Frequency Assessment of Cardiac Function
Use of Mobile Technology in Heart Failure Medication Compliance

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

Luanda P. Grazette, MD
Cardiac Recovery and Regeneration
Chemotherapy-Induced Cardiomyopathy
Biomarkers as a Tool in the Management of Heart Failure
Neuro-modulation in the Management of Heart Failure
Mitochondrial Function and Heart Failure

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

Howard N. Hodis, MD

Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD
Myocardial Infarction
Stem Cells for Myocardial Dysfunction

Tomas Konecny, MD, PhD
Arrhythmias in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Arrhythmias in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Effective Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation
Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death

Tracy D. Lawrence, MD
Right Heart Pressure Using Echocardiography as a Guide
Women and Heart Disease
Cardiac Issues in Liver Transplant

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

Anilkumar O. Mehra, MD
Hibernating Myocardium
Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) Closures
Restenosis: Role of Radiation, Inflammation and Cytokines

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

David M. Shavelle, MD
Out of hospital cardiac arrest
Pulmonary embolism
ST elevation myocardial infarction

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