Clinical and Translational Research 

Division Director

Gregory Aubert, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Cell and Molecular Physiology
Research Focus: The Aubert lab is interested in understanding the cardiac metabolism better. To sustain repetitive contraction throughout one’s entire life, the heart has to constantly adapt its fuel utilization to match the demand. Our Research focuses on understanding the role of metabolism and substrate utilization plasticity in cardiovascular health and disease. We combine genetically engineered mouse models of heart disease with specific patient derived IPSC cardiomyocytes in order to decipher the role of specific proteins in substrate utilization. 

Division Faculty

May Bakir, MD

  • Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology; Medical Director of the Women's Heart Program
  • Research focus: Dr. Bakir completed her fellowship in cardiology from the Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s-West Hospital. While in residency, Dr. Bakir took a special interest in cardiovascular disease and how it affects women. This curiosity led her to do research in the field and be awarded the Constance A. Austin Grant which allowed her complete a specialized combined clinical and research fellowship studying women’s cardiovascular disease at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles. Dr. Bakir’s continued research and passion is focused on heart disease in women, preventive cardiology, coronary physiology/pathophysiology and advanced cardiac imaging, as well as alternative and complementary medicine approaches to heart disease.

Caroline Ball, MD

  • Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology
  • Research focus: My research focuses on cardiovascular disease in women, particularly primary prevention and management of cardiovascular disease in pregnancy. I am currently enrolling women in the multicenter Warrior study. 

Khaled Dajani, MD

  • Associate Professor of Medicine, Divison of Cardiology
  • Research Focus: My current research projects include Echo-Longitudinal LV strain in valvular heart disease in predicting outcomes in preserved LVEF and studying pre and post valve repair or replacement longitudinal LV strain in severe aortic stenosis and severe mitral regurgitation. My research also includes the use of coronary calcium score in cardiac prevention. How does elevated CAC score affect patient management in real life clinical cardiology practice including utilization of stress test, CT angiography, invasive catherization, statin and PCSK9 inhibitor use?

Amir Darki, MD, FACC, FSCAI

  • Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology; Chair, Department of Cardiology, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital; Medical Director, Cardiology, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital 
  • I am the Director of the Loyola Pulmonary Embolism (PE) Response and Research Team – a multidisciplinary team of specialists with clinical and basic science research interests related to venous thromboembolism. Specifically, our translational research program focuses on clinical, hemodynamic, imaging, and laboratory markers of outcomes in patients presenting with acute PE.   We collaborate closely with the Hemostasis and Thrombosis laboratory at the CVRI examining fibrinolysis deficit and phenotypic mapping of PE patients.

Menhel Kinno, MD

  • Assistant Professor, Medicine; Division of Cardiology
  • Research focus: My research is focused on the utilization of multimodality imaging in providing meaningful prognostic and diagnostic information in the management of cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease and valvular heart disease. Few areas of interest including the utilization of feature-tracking cardiac MRI strain (as a tool of myocardial deformation) in predicting outcomes among patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy. The utilization of CT coronary angiogram and non-invasive FFR in the decision making among patients with triple coronary artery disease. Also, cardiac amyloidosis is among one of the pathology that I have special interest in (esp. ATTR). I am interested in assessing the long-term outcome of the new available therapeutics and the degree of regression in the cardiac involvement after initiating such therapies.

Max Liebo, MD

  • Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology; Medical Dir.-VAD Program, Residency/Fellowship
  • Research focus: Our research seeks to understand how various clinical and lab characteristics can be used to identify risk and improve candidate selection in patients with advanced heart failure (HF), prior to implementation of advanced HF therapies (i.e. LVAD and OHT). We attempt to better understand the role and limitations of a broad range of contemporary mechanical circulatory support devices (MCSDs, both temporary & durable) available to support patients awaiting heart transplantation. Also, we investigate the safety and efficacy of a novel medical therapy for patients with advanced heart failure requiring IV inotropic agents to support their heart function, as well as the benefits of contemporary cardiac resynchronization pacing in patients with advanced heart failure supported by a durable LVAD.

John Lopez, MD, FACC, FSCAI

  • Director of Interventional Cardiology Research; Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology
  • Dr. John Lopez has been involved in intravascular imaging research including IVUS  and OCT projects for over 20 years, and has been a sub investigator in 2 NIH RO-1 grants as part of a successful multicenter collaborative effort with the image analysis engineering group at the University of Iowa.

    The Loyola University Intravascular Imaging Group (IIG) is interested in novel analyses of intravascular coronary imaging.  The Loyola University Medical Center Intravascular Imaging Research Group (IIG) now includes a database of over 700 intravascular imaging procedures, and is currently working on projects related to acute coronary syndromes, plaque rupture, atherosclerotic progression, and automating features of coronary atherosclerotic plaque in specific syndromes with our working group of medical students, residents, and cardiology fellows.