The Centers of Excellence in Research program was initiated in 2015 to speed the translation of lab discoveries into real benefits for patients. It brings together traditional lab scientists with front-line physicians to focus on the advances that are most needed by patients now. Initially funded internally, the long-term goal of this initiative is to involve supporters who are passionate about specific disease areas. In 2017, five new centers won a competitive process to receive initial funding.

Center of Excellence in Prostate Cancer Research (est. 2015)

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men with about 1 in 7 men being diagnosed during in his lifetime. The majority of men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from the disease. However, those who do (nearly 30,000 each year) develop aggressive tumors that grow and spread rapidly, sometimes even after radical surgery to remove all cancerous tissue. The goal of this Center of Excellence is to better understand lethal prostate cancer in order to identify treatments that will improve patient care and survival.

Directors:
Nima Sharifi, MD
Eric Klein, MD

Nima Sharifi, MD

Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute - Urology
Lerner Research Institute - Cancer Biology
Taussig Cancer Institute-Hematology and Oncology

Eric Klein, MD

Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute - Urology
Lerner Research Institute - Cancer Biology
Taussig Cancer Institute-Hematology and Oncology

Jorge Garcia, MD

Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute - Urology
Taussig Cancer Institute - Hematology and Oncology

Petros Grivas, MD

Taussig Cancer Institute - Hematology and Oncology

Cristina Magi-Galluzzi, MD, PhD

Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute - Urology Lerner Research Institute- Cancer Biology
Taussig Cancer Institute
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Institute - Pathology

Andrei Purysko, MD

Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute - Urology Taussig Cancer
Institute - Hematology and Oncology

Brian Rini, MD

Imaging Institute - Diagnostic Radiology

Robert Silverman, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - Cancer Biology
Taussig Cancer Institute-Hematology and Oncology

George Stark, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - Cancer Biology

Andrew Stephenson, MD

Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute - Urology Taussig Cancer Institute

Angela Ting, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - Genomic Medicine Institute
Taussig Cancer Institute

Center of Excellence in Pulmonary Vascular Disease Research (est. 2015)

Pulmonary vascular diseases (PVD) are a diverse group of heart and lung disorders made up of overlapping syndromes that commonly present as pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). The goal of this Center of Excellence is to better understand the mechanisms of vascular dysfunction that lead to PVD, including the various forms of PAH, and to develop new targets and strategies for individualized therapies. To achieve this goal, the center’s clinical and basic investigators are engaging in four distinct yet synergistic projects: 1) identifying mechanisms of abnormal cell proliferation, 2) examining the role of thrombosis in the development of PAH, 3) studying the role of nitric oxide deficiency in PAH, and 4) testing two existing drugs to restore lost cellular function due to a genetic mutation related to PAH.

Director:
Raed Dweik, MD

Raed Dweik, MD

Lerner Research Institute - Pathobiology
Professional Staff Affairs - Conflict of Interest
Respiratory Institute - Critical Care Medicine; Pulmonary Medicine

Michaela Aldred, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - GMI
Taussig Cancer Institute

Kewal Asosingh, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - Pathobiology

Arnab Ghosh, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - Pathobiology

Gustavo Heresi, MD

Respiratory Institute - Critical Care Medicine; Pulmonary Medicine

Mitchell Olman, MD, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - Pathobiology
Respiratory Institute - Pulmonary Medicine

Nicholas Smedira, PhD

Digestive Disease and Surgery Institute - Transplantation Center
Heart and Vascular Institute (Miller Family) - Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

Dennis Stuehr, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - Pathobiology

Adriano Tonelli, MD

Lerner Research Institute - Pathobiology
Respiratory Institute - Critical Care Medicine; Pulmonary Medicine

Center of Excellence in Cancer Thrombosis Research (est. 2016)

Cancer-associated thrombosis (blood clot formation) occurs in approximately one-fifth of all cancer patients and remains the second leading cause of death in hospitalized and ambulatory cases. Research suggests that several forms of cancer as well as some cancer treatments, such as certain types of chemotherapies, increase the risk of blood clots, which cause death by blocking or obstructing blood flow in the body and preventing vital organs from receiving oxygen and nutrients. The goal of this Center of Excellence is to better define thrombus development in patients with cancer, test the efficacy of novel therapies, develop new preclinical models, and create and expand biorepositories to provide a valuable resource to researchers across Cleveland Clinic.

Directors:
Keith McCrae, MD
Alok Khorana, MD

Keith McCrae, MD

Lerner Research Institute - Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Taussig Cancer Institute - Hematology and Oncology

Alok Khorana, MD

Taussig Cancer Institute - Hematology and Oncology

John Barnard, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - QHS

Feng Lin, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - Immunology

Sudipto Mukherjee, MD, PhD

Taussig Cancer Institute - Hematology and Oncology

Thomas McIntyre, PhD

Heart and Vascular Institute (Miller Family) - Cardiovascular Medicine
Lerner Research Institute - Cellular and Molecular Medicine

Eugene Podrez, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - Molecular Cardiology

 

Center of Excellence in Colon Cancer Metastasis Research (est. 2016)

With awareness increasing and colonoscopy widely available, colorectal cancer can be a preventable disease. However, for the 20-30 percent of patients who develop metastatic disease, the discovery of new treatment options is critical. In patients whose colon cancer has spread (most often to the liver), current treatments extend life by, at most, less than two years.

To help combat this problem, this Center of Excellence harnesses expertise from research and clinical areas of Cleveland Clinic to understand the causes of colon cancer metastasis and to improve prevention, treatment and, ultimately, patient outcomes. The center is undertaking several projects, including examining colon cancer’s cellular microenvironment, reversing the effects of angiogenesis and understanding how genetic changes may make colon cancer cells more aggressive in some individuals and how those changes may be reversed.

Directors:
Emina Huang, MD
Xiaoxia Li, PhD

Emina Huang, MD

Digestive Disease and Surgery Institute - Colorectal Surgery
Lerner Research Institute - Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

Xiaoxia Li, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - Immunology

Paul Fox, PhD

Heart and Vascular Institute (Miller Family) - Cardiovascular Medicine
Lerner Research Institute - Cellular and Molecular Medicine

Matthew Kalady, MD

Digestive Disease and Surgery Institute - Colorectal Surgery
Lerner Research Institute - Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Medicine Institute - Center for Geriatric Medicine Taussig Cancer Institute

Alok Khorana, MD

Taussig Cancer Institute - Hematology and Oncology

Thomas Plesec, MD

Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Institute - Pathology

Christiano Quintini, MD

Digestive Disease and Surgery Institute - General Surgery; Transplantation Center
Lerner Research Institute - Immunology

Angela Ting, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - Genomic Medicine Institute
Taussig Cancer Institute

Center of Excellence in Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia Research (est. 2016)

Chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) is a type of cancer that occurs when the blood contains an abnormally high amount of white blood cells. Affecting approximately three in 100,000 Americans each year, CMML is a rare disease that generally affects older adults and is found in more men than women. Currently, the cause of CMML remains unknown and treatment options are limited. This Center of Excellence aims to improve the management of CMML and develop curative therapies for the disease. Initial projects further examine recently discovered mutations that are found in more than 80 percent of CMML patients. These projects are exploring therapeutic options, including developing targeted gene therapies and novel epigenetic therapies.

Directors:
Jaroslaw Maciejewski, MD, PhD

Jaroslaw Maciejewski, MD, PhD

Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Institute - Laboratory Medicine
Taussig Cancer Institute - Hematology and Oncology; Translational Hematology and Oncology Research

Hetty Carraway, MD

Taussig Cancer Institute - Hematology and Oncology

Aaron Gerds, MD

Taussig Cancer Institute - Hematology and Oncology

Richard Padgett, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - Cellular and Molecular Medicine

Tomas Radivoyevitch, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - QHS

Yogen Saunthararajah, MD

Taussig Cancer Institute - Hematology and Oncology; Translational Hematology and Oncology Research

Mikkael Sekeres, MD, MS, MD

Taussig Cancer Institute - Hematology and Oncology; Translational Hematology and Oncology Research

Center of Excellence in Liver Tumor Research (est. 2017)

Current treatments for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC, the most common type of liver cancer) do not work for all patients and only offer a modest benefit. This Center of Excellence team will focus on obesity-driven HCC. The diverse group of experts has developed a biorepository of patient-derived tissues, which will be used for testing investigational drugs in preclinical models. Several novel therapeutic targets have already been identified, and drug discovery efforts continue.

Directors:
J. Mark Brown, PhD
Federico Aucejo, MD

J. Mark Brown, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - Cellular and Molecular Medicine

Federico Aucejo, MD

General Surgery, Transplantation Center

Eren Berber, MD

Center for Endocrine Surgery

Bassam Estfan, MD

Hematology and Oncology

Justin Lathia, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - Cellular and Molecular Medicine

K.V. Narayanan Menon, MD

Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Gordon McLennan, MD

Diagnostic Radiology

Carlos Romero-Marrero, MD

Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Takuya Sakaguchi, PhD

Lerner Research Institute -Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

Yogen Saunthararajah, MD

Hematology and Oncology

Kevin Stephans, MD

Radiation Oncology

Center of Excellence in Ex-Vivo Liver Perfusion Research (est. 2017)

Ex-vivo organ perfusion (EVOP), pioneered at Cleveland Clinic, is rapidly emerging as a potential superior preservation technology over cold storage in clinical transplantation. To date, 10 patients have received successful transplants using EVOP. The goal of this center is to advance basic and clinical liver preservation research and to establish the world’s first clinical “organ ICU.” Since liver transplantation remains the only chance of a cure for end-stage liver disease, improving transplant organ quality is critical for caring for these patients and will help close the gap between patient need and available organs.

Directors:
Cristiano Quintini, MD
Robert Fairchild, PhD

Cristiano Quintini, MD

General Surgery

Robert Fairchild, PhD

Lerner Research Institute -Immunology

William Baldwin, MD, PhD

Lerner Research Institute -Immunology

Gail Cresci, PhD, RD

Pediatric Institute

Charles Miller, MD

General Surgery

Center of Excellence in Precision Radiotherapy Research (est. 2017)

More than 50 percent of patients with cancer receive radiation therapy as part of their treatment. However, radiation is still delivered in a “one size fits all” manner. The goal of this center is to bring radiotherapy into the era of personalized medicine by identifying genetic markers of radiotherapy resistance and uncovering how heterogeneity within tumors affects radiotherapy efficacy. The long-term goal of the center is to develop novel, individualized therapeutic strategies to increase the cure rate for lung cancer.

Directors:
Mohamed Abazeed, MD, PhD

Mohamed Abazeed, MD, PhD

Radiation Oncology

Omar Mian, MD, PhD

Translational Hematology and Oncology Research

Craig Peacock, PhD

Translational Hematology and Oncology Research

Nathan Pennell, MD, PhD

Hematology and Oncology

Daniel Raymond, MD

Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

Jacob Scott, MD

Translational Hematology and Oncology Research

Vamsidhar Velcheti, MD

Hematology and Oncology

Ping Xia, PhD

Radiation Oncology

Tingliang Zhuang, PhD

Radiation Oncology

Center of Excellence in Translational Therapies for Post-Stroke Rehabilitation (est. 2017)

The main goal of this Center of Excellence is to identify and evaluate new approaches to enhance stroke recovery for patients with motor and cognitive deficits by bridging the divide between preclinical research and clinical trials. Projects include developing a novel preclinical model of ischemic stroke and applying functional MRI to characterize brain changes, improving measures of post-stroke clinical assessment, and combining brain stimulation with directed rehabilitation.

Directors:
Andre Machado, MD, PhD
Kenneth Baker, PhD

Andre Machado, MD, PhD

Neurological Institute

Kenneth Baker, PhD

Center for Regional Neurosciences

Jay Alberts, PhD

Lerner Research Institute -Department of Biomedical Engineering,Concussion Center

Francois Bethoux, MD

Mellen Center

Frank DiFilippo, PhD

Nuclear Medicine

Darlene Floden, PhD

Center for Neuro-Restoration

J. Stephen Jones, MD

Regional Hospital Administration

Vladimir Kepe, PhD

Nuclear Medicine

Mykol Larvie, MD

Diagnostic Radiology

Ela Plow, PhD

Lerner Research Institute -Department of Biomedical Engineering

Bruce Trapp, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - Neurosciences

Center of Excellence in Cardiovascular Translational Functional Genomics (est. 2017)

While many patients have familial cardiovascular conditions, genetic testing is not always used effectively in the clinical setting. This center aims to identify and address critical gaps that could enhance personalized care. The team plans to accomplish this goal by expanding whole genome or exome sequencing for patients, using patient-derived cells to discover new disease mechanisms, and personalized drug library screening. Studies will focus on three main disease areas: arrhythmias; heart failure; and aortic, vascular or valve diseases.

Directors:
Mina Chung, MD

Vice-Director:
Wilson Tang, MD

Co-Directors:
Eric Roselli, MD
Jonathan Smith, PhD

Mina Chung, MD

Cardiovascular Medicine

W.H. Wilson Tang, MD

Center for Clinical Genomics

Eric Roselli, MD

Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

Jonathan Smith, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - Cellular and Molecular Medicine

Suneel Apte, MBBS, D Phil

Lerner Research Institute -Department of Biomedical Engineering

Peter Aziz, MD

Pediatric Cardiology

John Barnard, PhD

Lerner Research Institute -Quantitative Health Sciences

Eugene Blackstone, MD

Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

Gerard Boyle, MD

Pediatric Cardiology

Milind Desai, MD

Cardiovascular Medicine

Matthew Eagleton, MD

Vascular Surgery

Heather Gornik, MD

Cardiovascular Medicine

Linda Graham, MD

Lerner Research Institute -Department of Biomedical Engineering

Brian Griffin, MD

Cardiovascular Medicine

Mazen Hanna, MD

Cardiovascular Medicine

Eileen Hsich, MD

Cardiovascular Medicine

Vidyasagar Kalahasti, MD

Cardiovascular Medicine

Harry Lever, MD

Cardiovascular Medicine

Bruce Lindsay, MD

Cardiovascular Medicine

A. Marc Gillinov, MD

Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

Christine Moravec, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - Molecular Cardiology,Cardiovascular Medicine

Sathyamangla Prasad, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - Molecular Cardiology

Apostolos Psychogios, MD

Lerner Research Institute - Genomic Medicine Institute

Anand Ramamurthi, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - Biomedical Engineering

John Rickard, MD

Cardiovascular Medicine

Elizabeth (Tess) Saarel, MD

Pediatric Cardiology

Walid Saliba, MD

Cardiovascular Medicine

Nicholas Smedira, MD

Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

Lars Svensson, MD, PhD

Heart and Vascular Institute

Khaldoun Tarakji, MD, MPH

Cardiovascular Medicine

David Van Wagoner, PhD

Lerner Research Institute - Molecular Cardiology

Niraj Varma, MD, PhD

Cardiovascular Medicine

Oussama Wazni, MD

Cardiovascular Medicine

Bruce Wilkoff, MD

Cardiovascular Medicine

Kenneth Zahka, MD

Pediatric Cardiology