Scholarly Activity

We envision that our fellows will shape the future of cardiovascular medicine though leadership in clinical care, scientific investigation, education, public health, and administration at the regional, national, and international levels. Because of the role of our fellows as future leaders in diverse fields, we expect all fellows to engage in substantive scholarly activity tailored to their long-term career goals. This aspect of training may involve basic, translational, clinical, or population science research, or the pursuit of a graduate degree or a certificate in fields such as public health, health administration, business administration, or education. We offer a three-year traditional track which includes two years of clinical training and one year of scholarly activity, and a four-year scholarly track which includes two years of clinical training and two years of scholarly activity. In addition, extended research training may be available for exceptionally promising physician-scientists. The program makes scholarship a high priority and strongly encourages presentation of original research at a national meeting, completion of original research which is published in a peer reviewed journal, or completion of a graduate degree, as a requirement for completing the training program.

First-year fellows meet regularly with the division director, the program director, and the associate program director for research to explore options for scholarly activity and mentorship congruent with their interests and career goals. By the spring of their first year, they are expected to have identified their research or educational projects and begun preparing to launch these projects. All first-year fellows present their proposed projects to the faculty and the fellows at a retreat in the spring. Scheduling of scholarly time in the second, third, and/or fourth year is established following discussion with the program director and the mentor so as to maximize the likelihood of productivity and success.

The University of Iowa has multiple NIH T32 training grants that support research training for clinical and postdoctoral fellows, including the longest funded cardiovascular NIH T32 training grant at the Abboud Cardiovascular Research Center. Nevertheless, most fellows, especially those embarking on basic or translational science research projects, are expected to submit an external grant application to support their research effort, for example to the American Heart Association or to the NIH. This is an important learning exercise in terms of formulating a hypothesis, learning the tools necessary to answer a significant question, and critically analyzing the pertinent literature.

In conjunction with the Abboud Cardiovascular Research Center, fellows and other trainees present their research data to a wide audience of clinical and non-clinical faculty, clinical and postdoctoral fellows, undergraduate, medical, and graduate students, and staff. Each fellow is assigned one cardiology grand rounds presentation each year that may be used to present her or his research data. Fellows are encouraged to present their research at national meetings, including those of the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and other major national and international societies.

Examples of Research Opportunities

The University of Iowa is a top 10 public university in terms of biomedical research funding.

Abboud Cardiovascular Research Center

The Abboud Cardiovascular Research Center (ACRC)is led by Barry London, MD, PhD, who is also Director of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and is comprised of nearly 200 researchers. A remarkable feature of the center has been the multiplicity of faculty leadership that has led the center's research program development and mentoring in a spirit of independence infused with shared ideals, common goals, and collegial interaction. The center has modeled a culture of collaboration, team research and mentoring that has been emulated across the university campus and has been adopted by most successful academic research institutions. Interdisciplinary research and training are the rule, not the exception. Basic research at the ACRC is the wellspring from which translation and innovation flow. In line with the deep tradition at the University of Iowa, the center fosters new collaborative partnerships among programs, investigators, and cores, both within and outside the university in areas such as drug, device, and biotech development. Recent activities on that front include partnerships with the Institute of Molecular Medicine at Beijing University, China, and the Institute for Molecular and Translational Cardiology, University of Heidelberg, Germany. The center has trained over 1,000 pre- and post-doctoral students, received over $500 million in research funding, and currently has over $10 million extramural research funding per year. It has the longest funded cardiovascular NIH T32 training grant in the United States.

Active areas of research include:

  • Atherosclerosis and vascular biology
  • Bioengineering
  • Cardiac computerized tomography
  • Cardiac electrophysiology and electropharmacology
  • Cardiac hypertrophy and failure
  • Cardiac nuclear imaging
  • Clinical trials
  • Control of cerebral circulation
  • Control of circulation in heart failure
  • Cardiac metabolism
  • Cardiomyopathies, muscular dystrophies, and heart failure
  • Cardio-oncology
  • Cardiovascular genetics and development
  • CT imaging
  • Cystic fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, and other lung diseases
  • Coronary physiology
  • Defibrillation
  • Echocardiography
  • Genetics
  • Gene transfer
  • Hypertension
  • Humoral control of circulation
  • Inflammation
  • Integrative neurobiology and sensory signals in cardiovascular regulation
  • Ion channels, calcium handling, and arrhythmias
  • Lipid biochemistry
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Mechanisms of hypertension
  • Molecular biology and genetics
  • Myocardial function in physiological and pathologic states
  • Neurogenic control of circulation
  • Parasympathetic & adrenergic mechanisms
  • Valve disease
  • Vascular endothelium and smooth muscle

Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center

The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC) was established in 2008 through a partnership between the University of Iowa and the Fraternal Order of Eagles, who founded the FOEDRC with a $25 million gift. The donation was matched by $25 million from the UI to provide state of the art research facilities and research / administrative support for the FOEDRC. The FOEDRC has rapidly risen in prominence through innovative vision and leadership, recruitment and support of superlatively creative diabetes scientists, world-class facilities and research environment, and institutional support. In 2015, the FOEDRC moved into 20,000 square feet of newly built advanced research space stocked with state-of-the-art biomedical research equipment.

Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Center

The major theme of the University of Iowa Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Center (MDSRC) is to translate research discoveries on the structure and function of dystroglycan into clinical applications for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with dystroglycan-related muscular dystrophy. The overall goal is to explore therapeutic strategies for the treatment of various muscular dystrophies arising from the abnormal processing of dystroglycan (dystroglycanopathies).

Institute for Clinical and Translational Science

The Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (ICTS) is a home for clinical and translational science, that leverages infrastructure that includes a highly functional Clinical Research Unit. Its training program has strong foundational lectures and coursework in scientific design, statistics, regulatory science and other skills. It has incorporated successful programs from other CTSA hubs and has focused on flexible formats including online education. The program places a strong emphasis on mentoring, and planning for how to translate science to practice through business models and policy change. 

Examples of Graduate Degrees and Certificates

College of Public Health

Tippie College of Business

Fellows as Clinician Educators (FACE) Program

Internal Medicine subspecialties increasingly are training faculty and fellows who will fill a significant need in medical schools – clinical faculty who are interested in teaching. The clinician-educator academic track was introduced at the University of Iowa in recognition of this trend. Training for these positions involves acquiring a different set of skills and approaches than those traditionally provided to trainees interested in a clinical or physician-scientist career. The Faculty/Fellows as Clinician Educators (FACE) Program addresses the needs of faculty/fellows interested in a clinician-educator career. The goal of the FACE Program is to introduce clinician-educators to a knowledge base and skill set that will be useful in their careers. The FACE Program is offered to General Internal Medicine faculty physicians (hospitalists) and internal medicine fellows who have been identified by their program directors as having a high interest in being a clinical educator. The program presents concepts of clinical teaching skills, observation and feedback, small group teaching, and interactive lecture development. The division director or fellowship program directors must allow protected time for faculty/fellows to participate in course activities. In addition, participants should have opportunities for clinical teaching while participating in FACE.

Institutional Training Grants

The University of Iowa has multiple NIH T32 training grants that support research training for clinical and postdoctoral fellows. An example relevant to cardiovascular medicine and science is listed below.