Research Training in Myocardial Biology at Stanford (TIMBS)

A National Institute of Health (NIH)Training Program

Daniel Bernstein, MD
Program Director

Dr. Daniel Bernstein, Alfred Woodley Salter and Mabel Smith Salter Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Dean for Curriculum and Scholarship at the Stanford School of Medicine has been on the Faculty at Stanford since 1986. In addition to his Pediatric Cardiology training at UCSF, he completed a Fellowship in Medical Education at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1983. Dr. Bernstein served as Chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology from 1993 to 2011. His lab, funded by the NIH and AHA for over three decades, focuses on the cellular and molecular basis of cardiomyopathies with a specific focus on those prevalent in children. Together with Drs. Brian Kobilka and Greg Barsh, they achieved several of the first gene knockouts in the mid-1990s, and used these to characterize the role of G protein-coupled receptors in both normal and abnormal cardiac biology. He has also developed models of right ventricular failure unique to patients with congenital heart disease. Dr. Bernstein’s more recent work utilizes human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes to model drug cardiotoxicity and to understand the mechanisms by which myosin mutations lead to cardiomyopathies. Dr. Bernstein has also been at the forefront of translational research in pediatric heart failure and transplantation since the infancy of both fields. He established Stanford’s first heart transplant clinic for children in 1986 and published the first description of cardiomyocyte growth in the transplanted heart, as well some of the first studies of post-transplant lymphoma (PTLD), and transplantation for congenital heart disease. Dr. Bernstein continues to search for innovative approaches to improve outcomes in pediatric transplantation, ranging from the use of cell-free DNA to detect allograft rejection to studies to validate biomarkers (EBV mutations and B and T cell receptor high throughput sequencing) predictive of PTLD risk in children. He has published over 230 peer reviewed articles and has served on several journal review boards and NIH and AHA research committees and study sections.

Thomas Quertermous, MD
Program Co-Director

Dr Thomas Quertermous is the William G. Irwin Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Stanford University. He came to Stanford from Vanderbilt University where he served as H. J. Morgan Professor of Medicine and Director of the Division of Cardiology. Dr. Quertermous has received numerous awards and given invited lectureships in national and international forums. He has served in study sections at the National Institutes of Health and National American Heart Association. He has served on the Editorial board of a number of journals, including Circulation, and is a frequent reviewer of manuscripts submitted to Nature and the New England Journal of Medicine.

Euan Ashley MRCP DPhil
Program Co-Director

Dr. Euan Ashley is Professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and Department of Genetics at Stanford University. He is also the Associate Dean of Precision Health and Director of the Stanford Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Disease and Stanford Clinical Genomics Service. His group studies the molecular genetics of heart muscle disease using both computational and wet bench approaches. In 2009, he was awarded an NIH Director’s New Innovator award to study nanoscale approaches to allele silencing in cardiomyopathy syndromes. In 2010, he led the bicoastal, Stanford-Harvard collaborative team that carried out the first clinical interpretation of a whole human genome, that of his colleague Stanford Professor Stephen Quake. The team extended the approach in 2011 to a family of four and now routinely 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. In 2014, Dr Ashley became co-chair of the steering committee of the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Network. In 2013, Dr Ashley was recognized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for his contributions to Personalized Medicine. He is recipient of the National Innovation Award from the American Heart Association as well as an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. He works with many Silicon Valley companies and investors. He is Principal Investigator of the MyHeart Counts cardiovascular health study, launched in collaboration with Apple in 2015. In 2016, he was part of the winning team of the $75m One Brave Idea competition funded by Google, the AHA and Astra Zeneca.

Terra Coakley BS, MAT
Program Administrator

Terra graduated from San Francisco State University in 1998 with a BS in Cellular and Molecular Biology and in 2000 with a BA in Developmental Psychology. She also holds her MS-CLAD teaching credential and a MAT (Masters in Teaching) from Notre Dame de Namur University. Terra came to Stanford in 2008 having been in research at University of California, San Francisco for many years.

Terra has been the Program Manager for the Stanford Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Disease since 2010. In addition to the Training in Myocardial Biology at Stanford (TIMBS) Program she manages two other large National Institutes of Health consortium programs at Stanford, Stanford MoTrPAC Bioinformatics Core and Stanford Center for Undiagnosed Diseases. Terra also holds the position of Communication and Events Manager in Cardiovascular Medicine.

Program Overview

The Multi-Disciplinary Research Training Program in Myocardial Biology @ Stanford (TIMBS) is funded by the National Institutes of Health to bring together post-doctoral fellows and faculty from six complementary areas - genetics and genomics, cellular signaling, molecular imaging, physiology and phenotyping, cardiac development and regeneration and outcomes research and population science. Although many possible divisions exist in the spectrum of cardiovascular investigators, one of the most discrete is the division between those researchers interested in blood vessels and those primarily interested in the biology of the heart muscle itself. Myocardial biologists at Stanford are found in diverse departments and divisions within the wider Stanford community and this provides a natural vehicle for multidisciplinary training.

The Program will train 6 post-doctoral fellows from MD and PhD backgrounds together over a one to three year period beginning July 1 every year, combining myocardial biology research with a structured educational program. There are 28 faculty mentors from the School of Medicine, including Cardiovascular Medicine, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Pediatric Cardiology, Biology, Chemical & Systems Biology, Molecular & Cellular Physiology, Bioengineering, Biochemistry, and Primary Care and Outcomes Research.

Program Design & Requirements

Training in Myocardial Biology fellows will pursue research over the one-three year period with the goals of oral presentations, publications, and initial grant submission to propel career advancement. Fellows will have a primary research mentor as well as a co-mentor from a complementary area (e.g. a fellow may choose a faculty member from cardiovascular medicine as their primary mentor, but choose a co-mentor from genetics because of his/her interest in cardiovascular genetics).

The TIMBS educational program emphasizes:

  • a mentored research experience in translational myocardial biology
  • to provide rigorous training in the scientific method
  • to refine the trainees ability for logical reasoning and independent thinking
  • to develop skill in oral and written communication
  • to provide the trainee with junior and senior role models
  • to expose the trainee to a wide range of ideas and techniques in myocardial biology
  • to expose the trainee to clinical problems in heart failure and cardiomyopathy
  • to instruct trainees in the responsible conduct of research
  • to provide career development support and advice

Curriculum includes:

  • Introductory Curriculum (first 3 months of training) (link to pdf of the Intro Curr page here)
  • Frontiers in Cardiovascular Science Seminar Series (Tuesdays at 12pm)
  • Didactic learning
    • Seminars in Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Sciences (MED 223)
    • Cardiovascular Sciences Journal Club
    • CVI Fridays at Falk
  • Visiting Researcher Program
  • Courses and Meetings
    • attend one national meeting (e.g. ACC or AHA)
    • attend one specialist meeting (e.g. Cold Spring Harbor, Keystone)

To apply, see application instructions.