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What We Offer

Program Director

Steven Fisher
Steven A. Fisher, M.D.
Professor of Medicine  

The Training Program in Cardiac & Vascular Cell Biology provides interdisciplinary training in cardiac and vascular cell biology for pre- and postdoctoral students, and emphasizes the functional properties of cardiac and vascular smooth muscle.

Our over-arching goal is to recruit top pre-doctoral and post-doctoral trainees to a career in cardiac biology, vascular cell biology and pathobiology, and the environmental causes of these diseases, and to bring together multiple techniques to bear on critical questions in the cardiovascular arena. Our second goal is to invest our trainees with a working understanding of powerful new state-of-the-art technologies, which together, reveal to them the importance of going from single gene and single cell back to the whole animal.

The faculty of the Training Program in Cardiac & Vascular Cell Biology consists of 32 members from eight departments, divisions or programs at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the School of Nursing and the Medical Biotechnology Center, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute. Reflecting the diversity of faculty backgrounds, the training opportunities are broad and include: function of ion channels, regulation of ion channel trafficking, functional implications of mutations of transgenic animal models of allelic variations found in human populations; animal models of cardiac, vascular and renal disease (e.g. transgenic and surgical animal models of ischemic heart disease; hypertension; circadian rhythm); as well as clinical research (effect of stress on cardiac function in patients).

Our students receive training in these and a variety of related areas, including the molecular and functional control of muscle gene expression, with emphasis on the use of several complementary techniques to approach each question under investigation. The major aspects of this didactic training consist of courses in cardiac cellular physiology, physiological basis of molecular medicine, and topics in molecular medicine, as well as reserch ethics, interdisciplinary courses on muscle biology, courses in molecular biology and functional genomics.

We enroll four pre-doctoral and four postdoctoral trainees for each year of the Training Program. Pre-doctoral trainees have a solid background in biology, chemistry and/or physics, excellent GRE scores, research experience and strong letters of recommendation. Postdoctoral trainees have completed a solid PhD thesis and have strong letters of recommendation.

Trainees completing this program will be prepared to bring a wide range of methodological approaches to bear on basic questions in normal cardiac and vascular cell biology, on the underlying mechanisms responsible for a variety of cardiac and vascular pathologies and on their possible cure and prevention. Therefore, the program fills a national need for expert investigators with multidisciplinary training who can focus on cardiac and vascular muscle biology.