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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 clinical/translational investigation.  The Division faculty includes two full-time basic science researchers, Drs. Xianzhong Meng and Anirban Banerjee, who oversee our approximately 6,200 s/f of wet-bench basic science laboratory space in our Division.  Both of these researchers are independently funded through the NIH and they facilitate the conduct of 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 and their 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
·         Mechanisms of 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
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 Colorado Health Outcomes Program.
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.  
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 CT Research
Contact Trauma Research Center