DEC. 6, 2012

Wu, Harrington will co-direct cardiovascular institute


Joseph Wu

Two leaders in the field of clinical cardiovascular care and research medicine have been appointed co-directors of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, the nucleus for research and advancements in clinical care for patients with heart disease at the School of Medicine.

Joseph Wu, MD, PhD, associate professor of cardiovascular medicine and of radiology, and Robert Harrington, MD, professor and chair of medicine, began serving in their new capacities on Dec. 1. They replace Robert Robbins, MD, who left Stanford in November to head up the Texas Medical Center in Houston.

"These two world-renowned researchers bring a unique expertise that will lead the Cardiovascular Institute into the future," said Lloyd Minor, MD, the new dean of the School of Medicine, in announcing the appointments. "Joe Wu, as an expert in basic science research, and Bob Harrington, as a leader in clinical trials and population science, will lead the institute on the path toward translating scientific knowledge to improve cardiovascular health for patients."

Robert Harrington

Wu came to Stanford in 2004. He is a graduate of the Yale School of Medicine, completing his residency and cardiology fellowship training followed by a PhD in molecular pharmacology at UCLA. His research lab specializes in stem cell biology, gene therapy, genomics and molecular imaging.

"I am honored to be given the opportunity of leading the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute along with Dr. Harrington," Wu said. "The institute represents the forefront of basic, translational and clinical cardiovascular research at Stanford. With the commitment and support by Dean Minor, we are well-positioned to become one of the pre-eminent cardiovascular programs in the country."

Harrington, an interventional cardiologist and experienced clinical investigator in the area of heart disease, came to Stanford July 1 from a leadership position at the world's largest academic clinical research organization, the Duke Clinical Research Institute. He worked primarily in the area of acute ischemic heart disease, establishing clinical research collaborations that involved investigators from around the world.

"Having two leaders who represent two spectrums of the field of cardiovascular medicine is a powerful tool," Harrington said. "This is an opportunity for clinical science and basic science to come together. As a clinician-scientist, I can help lead in how we're going to move from those scientific discoveries to implementation in the population."

The institute, which was formed in 2004, includes more than 500 Stanford basic scientists, graduate students, clinician-scientists and other researchers in heart and vessel disease and prevention. The mission of the institute is to promote improvements in the cardiovascular health of patients and the general population arising from new research collaborations that translate scientific discoveries into practical clinical and public health applications.

"These two faculty nicely represent different and complementary facets of the institute's research portfolio, and designating dual leadership at this time acknowledges the expanding scope and influence of the institute," said deputy institute director Ronald Dalman, MD, the Walter C. and Elsa R. Chidester Professor of Surgery. "Both are outstanding scientists and mentors, and highly deserving of this recognition."

The institute was also designed to coordinate the activities of scientists, engineers, educators and physicians committed to improving the cardiovascular health of patients along with educating and training the next generation of leaders in the field.

"Joe Wu is extremely energetic and focused, I have no doubt that he will make the Stanford CVI the premier research institute in the country," said Alan Yeung, MD, chief of the division of cardiovascular medicine. "Bob Harrington will enhance the interaction of basic research with clinical sciences. I am looking forward to working with both from the clinical side to achieve a vision of transformative cardiovascular research and patient care in the near future."

Stanford Medicine integrates research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions - Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. For more information, please visit the Office of Communication & Public Affairs site at

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