The Division of Pediatric Cardiology is home to some of the country's best research aimed at understanding improving the care of children and adults with CHD and children with acquired heart disease. A broad spectrum of research activities spanning basic molecular research, device development, clinical trials and quality improvement initiatives are being pursued by faculty, and all have garnered significant external support. In particular, the Division is an international leader in personalized medicine and the assessment and evaluation of patients with cardiomyopathy and after heart transplantation.
Please see below to learn more about our investigators and their research efforts.
H. Scott Baldwin, MD
Dr. Baldwin’s research has concentrated on delineating the molecular basis of vascular development in the mammalian embryo as an approach to understanding the etiology of congenital heart disease. The ultimate goal of his laboratory is to exploit in utero developmental mechanisms to inform the therapies for postnatal congenital heart and vascular diseases. He is particularly focused on the role of the endocardium in ventricular trabecular and compaction as well as the role of the lymphatic system in mediating additional morbidities and mortalities of patients with CHD.
Jamie N. Colombo, DO
Dr. Colombo is a pediatric and fetal cardiologist who specializes in caring for children with single ventricle congenital heart disease. As the Co-Director of the Single Ventricle Program and Interstage Home Monitoring Program she has developed a multidisciplinary clinic to optimize care for this population. Her research focuses on improving long term outcomes for patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome though early neurodevelopmental analysis following the Norwood procedure. Dr. Colombo is also a member of the Fetal Heart Society. She serves as the primary investigator for Vanderbilt in a multicenter study aimed at improving long term outcomes in fetuses and children with Ebstein’s anomaly and tricuspid valve dysplasia.
Aarti Dalal, DO
Dr. Dalal’s clinical and research interests are in pediatric and adult congenital electrophysiology and channelopathies. Her current funded research focuses on quality improvement initiatives targeting pediatric patients with cardiovascular implantable electronic devices. She is also involved in multi-center research initiatives through the Pediatric and Congenital Electrophysiology Society.
Thomas P. Doyle, MD
Dr. Doyle is currently collaborating with Dr. George Nicholson, Dr. Dana Janssen and a group of biomedical engineers in the design and development of tools, techniques, and devices tailored to fit the needs and improve outcomes of children with congenital heart disease.
Prince J. Kannankeril, MD, MSCI
Dr. Kannankeril is a pediatric electrophysiologist with a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation (MSCI) whose research has been NIH funded for over 15 years. He is Co-Director of the Center for Pediatric Precision Medicine at Vanderbilt, with faculty appointments in both the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute (VGI) and the Vanderbilt Center for Arrhythmia Research and Therapeutics (VanCART). His research program investigates genetic variants and their contribution to cardiovascular disease and clinical outcomes (Personalized Medicine). He is contact PI for the NIH-funded Vanderbilt Integrated Center of Excellence in Maternal and Pediatric Precision Therapeutics (VICE-MPRINT), one of only 2 funded Centers of Excellence in the nation. He has served on the research committee for the Heart Rhythm Society and as Vice President for Research for the Pediatric & Congenital Electrophysiology Society.
Stacy Killen, MD, MSCI
Dr. Killen is a pediatric and fetal cardiologist with expertise in fetal arrhythmias and prenatal diagnosis of complex congenital disease. Her clinical and research efforts seek to improve the care of mothers and fetuses whose pregnancies are complicated by fetal arrhythmias, including supraventricular tachycardia, long QT syndrome, and SS-A antibody-mediated congenital heart block. Dr. Killen is currently participating in several multi-center studies, including studies sponsored by the Fetal Heart Society, that seek to improve treatment approaches and outcomes for patients with fetal arrhythmias and complex congenital heart disease.
George T. Nicholson, MD
Dr. Nicholson’s research interests focus on functional outcome and sequelae of interventional pediatric cardiology procedures through multi center collaboration. In addition, he works alongside Dr. Thomas Doyle, Dr. Dana Janssen and a group of biomedical engineers in the design and development of tools, techniques, and devices tailored to fit the needs and improve outcomes of children with congenital heart disease.
Jonathan H. Soslow, MD, MSCI
Dr. Soslow is a pediatric cardiologist with advanced training and expertise in pediatric cardiac imaging. He specializes in echocardiography and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR). He has a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation (MSCI) and focuses his research program on the assessment of serum and imaging biomarkers in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) cardiomyopathy and after heart transplant. He has been the principal investigator for multiple studies, including an American Heart Association Clinical Research Program grant, a K23 and an R56 funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and a grant from the Enduring Hearts Foundation. He is currently the PI of a multi-site R01 from the Food and Drug Administration evaluating the longitudinal progression of DMD cardiomyopathy. He is the Director of Clinical Research for the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Co-Director of the DMD Multispecialty Clinic. He also serves as Co-Chair of the Pediatric Multicenter Research Collaborations Subcommittee for SCMR and on the Steering Committee for the Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease Section of SCMR.
Rachel Sullivan, MD
Dr. Sullivan is a pediatric cardiologist with advanced training in pediatric pulmonary hypertension. Her research focuses on examining the role of pulmonary vasodilator therapies in the treatment of pulmonary vascular disease in patients with single ventricle congenital heart disease. She also has interest in evaluating the hemodynamics and treatments for pulmonary hypertension associated with congenital heart disease and bronchopulmonary dysplasia. As a member of the multi-disciplinary Vanderbilt Children’s Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension Program and North American Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension Network, she is involved in multi-institutional collaborative research on pediatric pulmonary hypertension.
Sudeep Sunthankar, MD, MSCI
Dr. Sunthankar is a pediatric cardiologist with research interests focused on personalized outcome prediction in children with heart disease. His specific work is focused on two main areas: 1) using cardiac MRI features to prognosticate disease and 2) using large databases to identify clinical features to predict outcomes.
Jeffrey Weiner, MD, MSCI
Dr. Weiner’s research focuses on developing treatment strategies to improve clinical outcomes after congenital heart surgery, using a hybrid of clinical science and quality improvement methods. He is actively involved in multi-center quality improvement initiatives through the Pediatric Acute Care Cardiology Collaborative (PAC3).