Collaborative Research into the Etiology and Treatment of Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease

Developing a pediatric and congenital heart disease research program to develop new treatment strategies and train the next generation of cardiovascular scientists

Full Project Name:Collaborative Research into the Etiology and Treatment of Pediatric and Congenital Heart DiseasePrincipal Investigator:Joy Lincoln, PhD, FAHA, PediatricsAward Amount:$3,000,000
Award Date
July2019
Project Duration:66 months

Project Description Narrative:


Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. The national age-adjusted death rate due to cardiovascular disease is 165 per 100,000 individuals. Wisconsin’s rate is 25th in the nation, with 158 cardiovascular deaths per 100,000 individuals. Congenital cardiovascular defects are structural problems that develop in the heart or the surrounding blood vessels prior to birth. Also known as congenital heart disease, such malformations are the most common birth defect with an incidence of ~1/100 live births. Despite the high prevalence of congenital heart disease, comparatively little is known about its causes. The majority of children affected by these diseases survive well into adulthood, but deal with residual issues that significantly effect quality of life. Growing evidence suggests that adult survivors of congenital heart disease develop “adult” cardiovascular conditions at younger ages and in more aggressive forms than those born with structurally normal hearts. The reason for this accelerated course is not known.

Through this award, this project will develop a cardiovascular research program at MCW focused on congenital heart disease. The program will develop a well-trained and highly skilled workforce that will increase the capacity to provide cardiac care in Wisconsin and generate new knowledge that will lead to improved treatments for heart disease.

Project Updates:


  • Recruited Dr. Lincoln to serve as Director of Cardiovascular Research and two new faculty and their teams to advance research efforts
  • Established formal, multi-disciplinary clinical working groups focused on themes of clinical excellence
  • Continued to grow the Herma Heart Institute Basic/Translational Science Research Program and established a quarterly lab meeting across seven labs to share data and ideas
  • Supported four sub-awards resulting in an NIH K08 grant, NIH R01 grant, nine publications, and an MCW Cardiovascular Center award

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