Research

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Vascular Program Locations

Each day, UPMC’s physicians and scientists collaborate to explore and develop new and exciting treatments and technologies in the field of vascular medicine and surgery. ​

Basic laboratory research is an integral part of the academic mission of the Division of Vascular Surgery. Our physicians and researchers consistently are at the cutting edge, employing new technologies and treatments for the benefit of patients. The scope of research involves bioengineering, molecular biology, gene therapy, methods of inhibiting new intimal hyperplasia, and other aspects of vascular biology.

The clinical research unit has been growing considerably as we continue to explore less invasive ways to treat both abdominal aortic aneurysms and descending thoracic aortic aneurysms via endovascular methods. Gene therapy is being studied as a means to promote wound healing and a possible remedy for patients with claudication. Various oral medications also are being investigated for the treatment of claudication, deep venous thrombosis, and infections. Our clinical research has a strong and committed corporate sponsorship with a continual tide of projects to undertake.

Ongoing Research and Clinical Trials

Carotid Stenting

  • CHOICE
  • Sapphire
  • ACT 1

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Peripheral Vascular Disease

  • Profibrix-surgical hemostasis
  • FINEST-fem/pops
  • Definitive LE-atherectomy

Thoracic

  • TAG 0801-Acute complicated Type B dissections
  • TAG 0802-Transections
  • TAG 0803-Aneurysm

Abdominal

  • Lombard-high angle necks
  • Cook Fenestrated-short necks
  • Cook Preserve-Iliac Branch
  • Trivascular

Venous

  • Dillavou Perforator
  • VANISH-incompetence of the SFJ associated with incompetence of the GSV or other major accessory vein

Other

  • Crux-IVC filter
  • Chaer SVS-Ischemic foot ulcers

Physician Research Interests

Click on our physicians’ names below to read a sampling of their unique research interests and to see a sample of their recent publications:

Michel Makaroun, MD Ellen D. Dillavou, MD Ulka Sachdev, MD
Ghassan Abu-Hamad, MD Steven A. Leers, MD Bryan W. Tillman, MD, PhD
Georges Al-Khoury, MD Luke K. Marone, MD Edith Tzeng, MD
Rabih A. Chaer, MD Madhusudanan Nair, MD​​​​

David Vorp, PhD​

Timothy Wu, MD

Michel Makaroun, MD

Research Interests:
Aortic and thoracic aneurysm pathology and repair, innovations in endovascular aneurysm repair, carotid stenting, and vascular surgery education

Selected Publications:
Barbato JE, Kim JY, Zenati M, Abu-Hamad G, Rhee RY, Makaroun MS, Cho JS: Contemporary results of open repair of ruptured descending thoracic and thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms. J Vasc Surg 2007;45:667-76

Peterson BG, Matsumura JS, Brewster DC, Makaroun MS for the Excluder Bifurcated Endoprosthesis investigators: Five year report of a multicenter controlled clinical trial of open vs. endovascular treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms. J Vasc Surg 2007;45:885-90

Bavaria JE, Appoo JJ, Makaroun MS, Verter J, Yu ZF, Mitchell RS for the Gore TAG Investigators. Endovascular stent grafting versus open surgical repair of descending thoracic aortic aneurysms in low-risk patients: a multicenter comparative trial. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2007 133:369-77.

Speelman L, Bohra A, Bosboom EM, Schurink GWH, Van de Vosse FN, Makaroun MS, Vorp DA: Effects of Wall Calcifications in Patient-Specific Wall Stress Analyses of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms. J Biomed Eng 2007;129:105-9

Van De Geest JP, Dillavou ED, Di Martino ES, Oberdier M, Bohra A, Makaroun MS, Vorp DA. Gender-related differences in the tensile strength of abdominal aortic aneurysm. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 1085:400-2.

Georges Al-Khoury, MD

Research Interests:
Endovascular surgery and limb salvage, Dialysis access, Vascular Imaging, Vascular laboratory and natural history of carotid disease.

Georges Al-Khoury, MD, Luke Marone, MD, Rabih Chaer, MD, Robert Rhee, MD, Jae Cho, MD, Steven Leers, MD, Michel Makaroun, MD, Navyash Gupta, MD, Isolated Femoral Endarterectomy: Impact of SFA TASC Classification on Recurrence of Symptoms and Need for Additional Intervention. Journal of Vascular Surgery. J Vasc Surg 2009;50:784-9.

Mark H Wholey, Joel E Barbato, Georges E Al-Khoury. Treatment of Asymptomatic Carotid Disease with Stenting: Pro. Seminars in Vascular Surgery.

Georges E Al-Khoury, Robert Y Rhee. Abdominal Aortic Interventions, Device selection and procedural recommendations for precise graft deployment. Endovascular Today. December 2007.Vol 6, No.12 23-28.

Babinska A, Azari BM, Salifu MO, Liu R, Jiang XC, Sobocka MB, Boo D, Al Khoury G, Deitch JS, Marmur JD, Ehrlich YH, Kornecki E. The F11 receptor (F11R/JAM-A) in Atherothrombosis : Overexpression of F11R in atherosclerotic plaques. Thrombosis and Haemostasis. 2007 Feb; 97(2):272.

Rabih A. Chaer, MD

Research Interests:
Limb salvage and minimally invasive techniques for leg revascularization, carotid stenting, and deep vein thrombosis. Treatment of aortic abdominal and thoracic aneurysms.

Selected Publications:
Fernandez N, McEnaney R, Marone LK, Rhee RY, Leers S, Makaroun M, Chaer RA. Predictors of failure and success of tibial interventions for critical limb ischemia. J Vasc Surg. 2010 Jul 7.

Chaer RA, Shen J, Rao A, Cho JS, Abu Hamad G, Makaroun MS. Cerebral reserve is decreased in elderly patients with carotid stenosis. J Vasc Surg. 2010 Jul 9.

Rao AS, Konig G, Leers SA, Cho J, Rhee RY, Makaroun MS, Chaer RA. Pharmacomechanical thrombectomy for iliofemoral deep vein thrombosis: an alternative in patients with contraindications to thrombolysis. J Vasc Surg. 2009; 50(5):1092-8.

Chaer RA, Makaroun MS. Late failure after endovascular repair of descending thoracic aneurysms. Semin Vasc Surg. 2009;22(2):81-6.

Howell GM, Makaroun MS, Chaer RA. Current management of extracranial carotid occlusive disease. J Am Coll Surg. 2009;208(3):442-53.

Ellen D. Dillavou, MD

Research Interests:
Gender differences in vascular disease, use of national databases to describe trends in vascular disease, innovations in treatment of varicose vein disease

Selected Publications:
Dillavou ED, Cambria RP, Wheatley G, Makaroun MS. Five-Year Results of Endovascular Treatment Compared to Open Repair of Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms. Journal of Vascular Surgery. In review.

Vande Geest JP. Dillavou ED. DI Martino ES. Oberdier M. Bohra A. Makaroun MS. Vorp DA. Gender-related differences in the tensile strength of abdominal aortic aneurysm. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1085:400-2, 2006.

Boules TN, Selzer F, Stanziale SF, Chomic A, Marone LK, Dillavou ED, Makaroun MS. Endovascular management of isolated iliac artery aneurysms. Journal of Vascular Surgery, 44:29-37, 2006.

Boules TN, Compton CN, Stanziale SF, Sheehan MK, Dillavou ED, Gupta N, Tzeng E, Makaroun MS. Can computed tomography scan findings predict "impending'' aneurysm rupture? Vascular & Endovascular Surgery. 40(1):41-7, 2006.

Dillavou ED, Muluk SC, Makaroun MS. A Decade of Change in AAA Repair in the US: Have We Improved Outcomes Equally Among Men and Women? Journal of Vascular Surgery, 43:230-8, 2006.

Steven A. Leers, MD

Research Interests:
Vascular laboratory, limb salvage surgery, and dialysis access. Dr. Leers is one of the foremost national figures in vascular laboratory testing.

Selected Publications:
Papasavas, P, Reifsnyder, T, Leers, SA, Prediction of Arteriovenous Access Steal Syndrome Utilizing Digital Pressure Measurements. Vascular and Endovascular Surgery 2003; 37: 179-184.

Leers, SA, Blackburn, DR, Burnham, SJ, Cardullo, PA, Jones, AM, Zierler, RE. Vascular Technology in Evolution: Results of the 1994 ADRMS Task Surgery, Journal of Vascular Technology, Vol. 19 (3), 127-145, 1995.

Reifsnyder, T, Grossman, JP, Leers, SA, Limb Loss After Lower Extremity Bypass, American Journal of Surgery, Vol. 174: 149-151, 1997.

Leers, SA, Reifsnyder, T, Delmonte, R, Carone, M. Realistic Expectations for Pedal Bypass in Patients with End-Stage Renal Disease, Journal of Vascular Surgery, Vol. 28: 976-983, 1998.

Patterson, R.P., Leers, SA, Gagne, P., “Is Vascular Surgery in Danger of Losing the Vascular Laboratory?” Journal of Vascular Surgery, Vol. 36: 639-641, 2002.

Chaer RA, Guschin A, Rhee R, Marone L, Cho JS, Leers SA, Makaroun M:  Duplex Ultrasound as the Sole Long Term Surveillance Method of Post-Endovascular Aneurysm Repair:  A Safe Alternative for Stable Aneurysms.  Journal of Vascular Surgery 2009; 49(4): 845-850.

Luke K. Marone, MD

Research Interests:
Minimally invasive revascularization of the lower extremity, vascular device innovation, treatment of aortic aneurysms

Selected Publications:
Stanziale SF, Marone LK, Boules TN, Brimmeier JA, Hill K, Makaroun MS, Wholey MH. “Carotid Artery Stenting in Octogenarians is associated with increased adverse outcomes.” J Vasc Surg 2006;43: 297-304.

Boules TN, Selzer F, Stanziale SF, Chomic A, Marone LK, Dillavou ED, Makaroun MS. “Endovascular Management of Isolated Iliac Artery Aneurysms.” J Vasc Surg 2006;44:29-37.

Sayeed S, Marone LK, Makaroun MS. “The Gore Excluder endograft device for the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms.” J Cardiovasc Surg 2006; 47(3):251-260.

Marone LK, Clouse WD, Dorer DJ, Brewster DC, LaMuraglia GM, Watkins MT, Kwolek CJ, Cambria RP. “Preservation of Renal Function by Surgical Revascularization in Patients with Atherosclerotic Renovascular Disease.” J Vasc Surg 2004;39:322-29.

Clouse WD, Brewster DC, Marone LK, Cambria RP, LaMuraglia GM, Watkins MT, Kwolek CJ, Fan CM, Geller SC. “Durability of aorto-uniiliac endografting with femorofemoral crossover:4-year experience in the EVT/Guidant trials.” J Vasc Surg 2003; 37:1142-9.

Ulka Sachdev, MD

Research Interests:
The role of innate immunity in promoting angiogenesis after ischemic injury, the role of platelet function in ischemia-induced angiogenesis.

Watch a Video about Dr. Sachdev's research and 2008 Wylie Scholar Award

Selected Publications:
Sachdev U, Namkoong S, Gladstone C, Tzeng, E. HMGB-1 induces pro-angiogenic effects in endothelial cells: Implications for lower extremity ischemia. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 2007;205(3):S108.

Sachdev U, MD, Baril D, MD, Morrissey, N, MD, Silverberg D, MD, Jacobs, T, MD, Carroccio A, MD, Ellozy S, MD, Marin M, MD. Endovascular Repair of Para-anastomotic Aortic Aneurysms. Journal of Vascular Surgery, 2007; 46(4):636-41.

Baril DT, Carroccio A, Ellozy S, Palchik E, Sachdev U, Jacobs T, Marin M. Evolving Strategies for the Treatment of Aortoenteric Fistulas. Journal of Vascular Surgery, 2006;44(2):250-257.

Sachdev U, MD, Baril D, MD, Ellozy S, MD, Lookstein R, MD, Silverberg D, MD, Jacobs T, MD, Carroccio A, MD, Teodorescu V, MD, Marin M, MD. Management of Aneurysms of the Superior Mesenteric Artery and Celiac Artery: Surgical and Endovascular Therapy. Journal of Vascular Surgery, 2006;44(4):718-724.

Sachdev U, Teodorescu V, Shao M, Russo T, Carroccio A, Ellozy S, Marin M. Incidence and Distribution of Lower Extremity DVT in Rehabilitation Patients: Implications for Screening. Vascular and Endovascular Surgery. Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, 2006; 40(3):205-211.

Bryan W. Tillman, MD, PhD

Research Interests:
Stem cell and immunotherapy approaches to prevent failure of vascular bypass grafts and development of tissue engineered vascular bypass grafts.

Selected Publications:
Tillman BW, de Gruijl TD, Luykx-de Bakker SA, Scheper RJ, Pinedo HM, Curiel TJ, Gerritsen WR and Curiel DT Maturation of dendritic cells accompanies high efficiency gene transfer by a CD40-targeted adenoviral vector. Journal of Immunology 162: 6378-6383. 1999.

Tillman BW, Hayes TL, DeGruijl TD, Douglas JT and Curiel DT. Adenoviral vectors targeted to CD40 enhance the efficacy of dendritic cell-based vaccination against human papillomavirus 16-induced tumor cells in a murine model. Cancer Research 60: 5456-5463. 2000.

Tillman, BW, Yazdani, SK, Geary, RL, Corriere, MA, Atala, AA, and Yoo, JJ. Efficient Recovery of Endothelial Progenitors for Clinical Translation. Tissue Engineering. Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2009.

Tillman, BW, Yazdani, SK, Lee, SJ, Geary, RL, Atala, AA, and Yoo, JJ. The in vivo Stability of Electrospun Polycaprolactone-Collagen Scaffolds in Vascular Reconstruction. Biomaterials. 30(4):583-8. 2009.

Yazdani, SK, Tillman BW, Soker S, Berry JL, Geary RL. The fate of an endothelium layer after preconditioning: An in vitro and in vivo analysis. Journal of Vasc Surgery. 51(1):174-83. 2010.

Edith Tzeng, MD

Research Interests:
Blocking intimal hyperplasia following vascular disease

Selected Publications:
Zuckerbraun B, Stoyanovski D, Sengupta R, Shapiro R, Ozanich B, Rao J, Barbato J, Tzeng E. Nitric oxide –induced inhibition of smooth muscle cell proliferation involves S-nitrosation and inactivation of RhoA. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2006 Aug 16; [Epub ahead of print].

Raman KG, Barbato JE, Ifedigbo E, Ozanich BS, Zenati MS, Otterbein LE, Tzeng E. Inhaled carbon monoxide inhibits intimal hyperplasia and provides added benefit with nitric oxide. J Vasc Surg 2006; 44:151-158.

Boules TN, Compton CN, Stanziale SF, Sheehan MK, Dillavou ED, Gupta N, Tzeng E, Makaroun MS. Can computed tomography scan findings predict “impending” aneurysm rupture? Vasc Endovascular Surg. 2006; 40:41-7.

Barbato JE, Zuckerbraun BS, Overhaus M, Raman KG, Tzeng E. Nitric oxide modulates vascular inflammation and intimal hyperplasia in insulin-resistance and the metabolic syndrome. Am J Physiol. 2005; 289:H228-36.

Zuckerbraun BS, Barbato JE, Sebti S, Tzeng E. Geranylgeranyl transferase inhibition decreases generation of reactive oxygen species and increases nitric oxide production by vascular smooth muscle cells. J Surg Res. 2005; 124:256-263.

David Vorp, PhD

Research Interests:
Bioengineering studies of abdominal aortic aneurysms, three dimensional reconstruction of abdominal aortic aneurysms, use of physiologic biomechanical forces to optimize development of a tissue strengthening treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms, development of a bioengineering-based clinical tool for the evaluation of abdominal aortic aneurysm

Selected Publications:
Nieponice A, Maul TM, Cumer JM, Soletti L, Vorp DA, “Mechanical Stimulation Induces Morphological and Phenotypic Changes in Bone Marrow-derived Progenitor Cells within a Three-dimensional Fibrin Matrix,” J Biomed Mat Res 81(3):523-30, 2007.

Prantil RL, Jankowski RJ, Kaiho Y, de Groat WC, Chancellor MB, Yoshimura N, Vorp DA, “Ex Vivo Biomechanical Properties of the Female Urethra in a Rat Model of Birth Trauma,” Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 292(4):F1229-37, 2007.

Santelices LC, Calano SJ, Erhart JC, Prantil RL, Vorp DA, Ahearn JM, “Experimental System for Ex Vivo Measurement of Murine Aortic Stiffness,” Physiol Meas 28:N39-N49, 2007.

VanEpps J and Vorp DA, “Mechanopathobiology of Atherogenesis: A Review,” J Surg Res 142:202-217, 2007.

Stankus J, Soletti L, Vorp DA, Hong Y, Fujimoto K, “Fabrication of Cell Microintegrated Blood Vessel Constructs through Electrohydrodynamic Atomization,” Biomaterials (in press).

Timothy Wu, MD

Research Interests:
Aortic and thoracic aneurysm pathology and repair, carotid artery pathology and treatment, minimally invasive treatment of peripheral artery disease, limb salvage, vascular surgery education, non-invasive carotid artery risk stratification

Selected Publications:
T Wu, JG Carson, CL Skelly. Use of internal endoconduits as an adjunct to EVAR in the setting of challenging aortoiliac anatomy. Annals of Vascular Surgery 2010 Jan; 24(1):114.e7-11.

T Wu, J Prema, G Zagaja, A Shalhav, HS Bassiouny. Total laparo-robotic repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm with sac exclusion & obliteration, aortofemoral bypass: case report & review of the literature. Annals of Vascular Surgery 2009 Sep-Oct; 23(5):686.e11-6.

T Wu, HS Bassiouny. Criteria for carotid stenosis and plaque characteristics. In MK Eskandari, MD Morasch, WH Pearce, JST Yao, eds: Vascular Surgery – Therapeutic Strategies, People’s Medical Publishing House, Inc. 2010. Chapter 56, pp. 723-736.

TR Desai, T Wu. Raynaud’s Phenomenon. In SW Ashley, PS Barie, WH Pearce, WG Cance, JH Pemberton, GJ Kurkovich, NJ Soper, LR Kaiser, eds: ACS Surgery: Principles & Practice, 7th Edition, BC Decker, Inc. 2010. Section 6, Chapter 24.

CS Bartlett, BE Rapuano, DG Lorich, T Wu, RC Anderson, AE Tomin, JF Hsu, JM Lane, DL Helfet. Early changes in prostaglandin precedes bone formation in a rabbit model of heterotopic ossification. Bone 2006 Mar; 38(3):322-32.

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