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Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Basic Sciences

The Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery has an outstanding research program, both in basic sciences and in clinical/translational investigation. The Division faculty includes two full-time basic science researchers, Drs. Xianzhong Meng and Anirban Banerjee, who oversee the approximately 6,200 square feet of wet-bench basic-science laboratory space in our Division. Both of these researchers are independently funded through the NIH. They facilitate basic science research for physician faculty in the Division.

Dr. Meng conducts research in the mechanisms of cardiac mechanical dysfunction. He has formed a signal transduction core to determine the role of receptor signaling in post-injury cellular inflammatory response.

Dr. Banerjee directs the Trauma Research Center. The center's work focuses on NMR energetics, cardiac ischemia-reperfusion, preconditioning, and inflammatory kinase signaling.

Other basic sciences research projects in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery include:

  • The mechanisms of gastroduodenal reflux-induced histological changes in esophageal morphology
  • The pathogenesis of calcific aortic stenosis
  • The role of Toll-like receptors in myocardial ischemia/reperfusion
  • The mechanisms of macrophage differentiation into foam cells and dendritic cells
  • Solid organ preservation through heme oxygenase-1
  • Mechanismsof spinal cord dysfunction following ischemia/reperfusion
  • Age-related changes in myocardial function
  • Genetic markers of aortopathology
  • The role of sPLA2 in lung and esophageal cancer
Contact Cardiothoracic Research:

University of Colorado
Dept of Surgery/Division of CT Surgery–Research
Mail Stop C320
RC2 Building, Lab Space# 6410
Aurora, CO 80045

Clinical/Translational Research

Faculty in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery play an active role in clinical/translational research at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Current clinical trial programs include:

  • PARTNER Trial of TAVR vs. Surgical AVR
  • RADIANT Trial – a phase 3 study of non-small cell lung carcinoma
  • NOVEL Trial – XVIVO lung perfusion for lung transplantation
  • HeartWare Ventricular Assist Device for Destination Therapy
  • SWOG-CALGB – a phase 3 trial of lobectomy vs. sublobar resection

The Division faculty also engages in outcomes research under the auspices of Surgical Outcomes and Applied Research (SOAR), a collaboration between the Department of Surgery and the Adult and Child Center for Health Outcomes Research and Delivery Science (ACCORDS).

Surgical Research Training

The Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery has established a significant research infrastructure to support and facilitate the wide range of research areas and projects as identified above. As a result, the Division is able to provide opportunities for surgery residents, medical students, and others to participate in research activities in a variety of different subject areas. Surgery residents and students participating in research activities are not only recognized as important resources in the design and conduct of the research, but also add new and unique viewpoints to the research projects. An important benefit of the Division’s research endeavors arises from the synergy of combining research training with surgical education.

Trauma Research Center

The Trauma Research Center is a collaborative effort between the Department of Surgery at the University of Colorado, Denver Health Medical Center, and the Belle Bonfils Blood Center at the University of Colorado. The focus of the Trauma Research Center is on the mechanisms of post-traumatic inflammation leading to potential therapy.

Dr. Anirban Banerjee is the P.I. of the Center and has directed this research program since 1986. His research, and that of the Center, focuses on NMR energetics, cardiac ischemia-reperfusion, preconditioning, and inflammatory kinase signaling. The research conducted under the auspices of the Trauma Research Center has strengthened surgical research training and led to the development of a strong suite of accessible techniques, particularly in digital fluorescent microscopy.

Contact the Trauma Research Center:

University of Colorado Denver
Department of Surgery/Division of CT Surgery–Research
Trauma Research Center, Mail Stop C-320
RC2 Building, Lab Room# 6420 A-F
12700 E. 19th Avenue
Aurora, CO 80045
Phone: (303) 724-6308
Fax: (303) 724-6310 or 6330

PI: Anirban Banerjee, PhD
RC2 Building, Room # 6007

Research Manager: Victoria Bress
RC2 Building, Room # 6102