AHFTC Faculty and Staff

Our large multi-disciplinary team consists of six cardiologists specializing in the care of patients with advanced heart failure, and those on mechanical circulatory support. This group is complemented by a nurse manager, an MCS nurse practitioner, two MCS nurse coordinators, and two pre-transplant coordinators. The post-transplant group consists of five cardiologists, one nurse practitioner, and two nurse coordinators. Our team is supported by a transplant pharmacist, dietitian, diabetes educator, two social workers, and financial coordinators. Our team finally includes a research nurse manager and two research coordinators. The Stanford heart transplant and MCS services work closely with consultants from the immunocompromised infectious disease program, psychiatry, and other consult services.

Faculty

Dr. Ashley joined the Stanford faculty in 2006 after completing his medical residency and PhD in molecular cardiology at the University of Oxford, and is currently an Associate Professor of Medicine. His group is focused on the application of genomics to medicine. In 2010, he led the team that carried out the first clinical interpretation of a human genome. The paper, published in the Lancet, became one of the most cited articles in clinical medicine that year. His team now applies genome sequencing to the diagnosis of patients at Stanford Hospital where Dr Ashley directs the Clinical Genome Service and the Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Disease. Dr Ashley is a recipient of the National Innovation Award from the American Heart Association (AHA) and a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director's New Innovator Award. He is a Principal Investigator of the Myocardial Applied Genomics Network (MAGnet), a member of the leadership group of the AHA Council on Functional Genomics, and a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences Roundtable on Translating Genomic-Based Research for Health. Dr. Ashley mentors many cardiology fellows performing basic and translational research related to cardiovascular genomics.
Dr. Banerjee is the medical director of the mechanical circulatory support (MCS) program at Stanford, and the physician lead of the heart failure readmission task force. The Stanford MCS program is the highest volume program in Northern California, and serves as a referral center for complex cases from peer institutions. Recently, the Stanford Hospital 30-day heart failure readmission rate fell dramatically from 20% to 10% after adding an informatics-based approach to its existing readmissions program, culminating in an award from the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses in 2014. Dr. Banerjee’s research interests include improving outcomes in patients with left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) and implementing protocols to improve heart failure outcomes. Innovative work recently launched by our MCS program includes the use of thalidomide for refractory bleeding in LVAD patients, and catheter-based deactivation of LVADs in patients who have recovered cardiac function. He attends in the CCU and on the inpatient MCS service, interprets echocardiogram studies in LVAD recipients, and performs invasive hemodynamic evaluations of MCS patients.
Dr. Fowler, who trained in Britain and came to Stanford in 1982, is Director of the Stanford Heart Failure Program and the Medical Director of the Cardiomyopathy Center at Stanford. A leader in the field of heart failure, Dr. Fowler played a pivotal role in developing the use of anti-adrenergic therapy for the treatment of patients with chronic heart failure. Under an IND for metoprolol in the 1980s, Dr. Fowler described improvement in contractile function in patients treated with metoprolol. After serving on the steering committee of the U.S. Carvedilol Heart Failure Study Group and other landmark trials, Dr. Fowler helped usher in the beta-blocker era of heart failure therapy. He also described the determinants of poor survival in heart failure patients based upon exercise testing with measurement of gas exchange, and established early guidelines for the selection of heart transplant recipients. Dr. Fowler’s technique of the “nitroprusside challenge” is now used commonly worldwide to assess the risk of post-transplant mortality due to pre-operative pulmonary hypertension. Finally, he continues to investigate the intersection between insulin resistance and heart failure. Dr. Fowler currently attends in the CCU and runs a busy heart failure outpatient panel where he works closely with general cardiology and advanced heart failure fellows on medical management, as well as patient evaluation for heart transplantation and mechanical circulatory support. Despite his advancing age, Dr. Fowler still makes lively contributions at the weekly cardiomyopathy center conference as well as the clinical heart transplant weekly meeting, and remains active in mentoring the research and career development of young physicians interested in careers in heart failure.
Dr. Haddad trained in general cardiology at the Montreal Heart Institute and subsequently completed advanced fellowships in cardiovascular imaging, heart failure, heart transplantation and pulmonary hypertension at Stanford. He is a member of the American Heart Association (AHA) Organizing Committee and the World Health Organization (WHO) Task Force on Right Ventricular Physiology. Dr. Haddad is co-director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Biomarker and Phenotypic Core Laboratory. The research objectives of the laboratory are threefold: (1) to establish better metrics for the evaluation of cardiovascular function with a special focus of right heart function, (2) to better understand the immunological basis of cardiovascular recovery, and (3) to serve as a core reference laboratory. Dr. Haddad attends on the inpatient heart transplant and pulmonary hypertension services, in the echocardiography laboratory, and on the general cardiology service at Stanford.
Dr. Hunt, often fondly referred to as “the first transplant cardiologist” is the Medical Director of the Stanford heart transplant program and fellowship program director. Dr. Hunt established the Stanford heart transplant fellowship program in 1989 and has personally trained several generations of leaders in the field. In addition, Dr. Hunt has chaired the ACC/AHA heart failure guidelines committee, is associate editor of Hurst’s The Heart, and was Chair of the ABIM test committee writing the first exam on advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology. Finally, Dr. Hunt is past-president of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT), and has received numerous international awards including the AHA’s Laennec Master Clinician Award, the ISHLT Lifetime Achievement Award, the AST Senior Achievement Award in Clinical Transplantation, and has been named a Master of the American College of Cardiology.
Dr. Khush is an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Director of Heart Transplant Research, and Co-Director of the Stanford AHFTC fellowship program. Dr. Khush is a clinical investigator who is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association to study donor evaluation and selection for heart transplantation, as well as biomarkers of post-transplant outcomes. Dr. Khush’s innovative multi-disciplinary research team has recently developed a donor-derived cell-free DNA assay for the accurate and non-invasive diagnosis of heart transplant rejection, as well as virus and antibody-sequencing techniques for monitoring overall level of immunosuppression in solid organ transplant recipients. Dr. Khush attends on the inpatient and outpatient heart transplant service and greatly enjoys mentoring our fellows.
Dr. Ray is a Clinical Instructor and a member of the Advanced Heart Failure and Heart Transplant groups at Stanford and the Veterans Affairs (VA) Palo Alto Health Care System. He earned his medical degree and doctorate of philosophy from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. He then completed his residency training in internal medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, followed by general cardiology and advanced heart failure and transplant training at Stanford. His research focuses on novel therapies in acute heart failure.
Dr. Vagelos has been Director of the Stanford Coronary Care Unit since 1990, and is a member of the interventional cardiology and pre-transplant heart failure teams. His interests have focused over the years on the pharmacologic and mechanical support of acute and chronic heart failure patients, with additional interests in heart disease resulting from radiation therapy as well as chemotherapy induced cardio-toxicity. More recently Dr. Vagelos has been involved in the trial of the Mitra-Clip in chronic heart failure patients with functional mitral regurgitation. Supporting a positive CCU environment that optimizes quality patient care as well resident and fellow teaching is Dr. Vagelos’s highest priority.
Dr. Wheeler is an Instructor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. His areas of clinical expertise include inherited and infiltrative cardiomyopathies, neuromuscular disease associated cardiomyopathy, and mechanical circulatory support. His clinical research interests include investigating novel therapies for cardiomyopathy, including participation in multi-center randomized trials for cardiac amyloidosis, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and mechanical circulatory support. He is the adult clinical lead and executive director of the Undiagnosed Diseases Clinical Site at Stanford, one of seven NIH-funded clinical sites of the Undiagnosed Diseases Network. Dr. Wheeler is involved in several additional ongoing initiatives in cardiovascular genomics and genetics, including a study of microRNAs and DNA methylation and risk of atherosclerosis in the Women’s Health Initiative. In addition, he maintains active computational and basic research interests, with the goal of improving diagnosis and treatment options for patients with cardiomyopathy by leveraging next-generation sequencing technologies, rich bioinformatics datasets, and bench research in model systems of inherited cardiomyopathy. During his remaining time he enjoys biking, hiking, swimming, and snow sports with his wife and sons.
Dr. Witteles is a long-time member of the Stanford community, having been here since internal medicine residency. He is now a member of the heart failure faculty and frequently attends in the Stanford CCU. He has three clinical and research areas of expertise: amyloidosis, sarcoidosis, and cardiac complications of cancer therapy (“Cardio-Oncology”). Dr. Witteles is the Co-Director of the Stanford Amyloid Center, one of the country’s largest multidisciplinary centers for advanced care of patients with amyloidosis. In addition, Dr. Witteles is Program Director for the Stanford University Internal Medicine Residency Training Program, supervising 118 residents and helping to oversee the Department’s fellowship programs