Established in 2004, Stanford Medicine’s Cardiovascular Institute (CVI) brings together the brightest minds in the field.1 Joseph C. Wu, MD, PhD, director of the CVI and board-certified cardiologist, oversees this hub for cardiovascular health care and innovation.2
Dr. Wu’s leadership extends beyond Stanford Medicine to the American Heart Association (AHA). The organization has appointed Dr. Wu as the next president-elect, a testament to his long tenure of extraordinary service and discovery in the field of cardiovascular medicine.
As president, Dr. Wu will have an unparalleled opportunity to advance heart and vascular medicine. He will advocate for the AHA network of nearly 43,000 members by fostering regional, national, and international collaborations.
“Promoting these relationships will accelerate innovative research and discovery, benefiting patients worldwide,” says Dr. Wu. “I’m particularly interested in expanding the AHA’s Precision Medicine Platform. Allowing researchers from around the world access to this program will facilitate breakthroughs in cardiovascular medicine, improving the health and quality of life for millions of patients.”
Dr. Wu’s work combines multiple research methods and brings discoveries from the lab directly to patients. His seminal findings pave the way for advanced cardiovascular care that integrates clinical genomics, artificial intelligence, and precision medicine.
Wu elected president of the American Heart Association
The AHA named Dr. Wu as the newest president-elect to lead the organization’s extraordinary efforts from fiscal year 2022 to 2023, starting July 1st. As the nation’s largest cardiovascular, private nonprofit organization, the AHA fights heart disease across the country with a worldwide impact. The organization is second only to the federal government in funding cardiovascular disease research, having invested over $4.8 billion in research.7
For many years, Dr. Wu has been an influential leader and volunteer at the AHA. He served as chairperson of the AHA Research Committee and the AHA Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences, and as a member of the Board of Directors. Dr. Wu has fostered local research efforts and international collaborations. From the AHA’s Bay Area Division, he actively engages in community initiatives and fundraising.
Dr. Wu’s presidential term closely follows Robert A Harrington, MD, who served as president of the AHA from 2019 to 2020. Dr. Harrington is the Arthur L. Bloomfield Professor of Medicine and chairman of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University. He remains on the AHA Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and Science Advisory and Coordinating Committee.
A long-time leader and researcher at Stanford Medicine
At Stanford Medicine-Joseph Wu Lab, Dr. Wu has spearheaded innovative cardiovascular research for years. Dr. Wu and his team investigate the underlying mechanisms of cardiovascular diseases using the latest technologies in cardiac organoids, genome editing, and single-cell sequencing.8,9
In particular, Dr. Wu has pioneered the “clinical trial in a dish” concept, which involves using human iPSCs generated from large cohorts of patients. His lab differentiates these iPSCs into actual heart cells that are genetically matched to the same patients, which allows Dr. Wu and his team to screen for novel compounds and to accelerate the drug discovery process.10
“For the first time, we now have the ability to go directly from the basic research lab, export the latest findings clinically so that we can improve patient care more quickly than ever before, even on a targeted individual basis,” explains Dr. Wu. His work strives to deliver the right medication to the right patient by understanding an individual's genetics, facilitating personalized care, and reducing side effects from medications.
“Creating a culture of innovation, collaboration and mentorship is what I love to do,” says Dr. Wu. Over 40 of his trainees have gone on to become principal investigators in academia both in the U.S. and abroad.11
First-in-human cardiovascular stem cell clinical trial
Most recently, Dr. Wu received funding for a first-in-human clinical trial in the U.S. for treatment of chronic ischemic cardiomyopathy, a common cause of heart failure. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine awarded him and his team $7 million grant to discover treatments for heart disease.12
The Phase I clinical trial transplants heart muscle cells derived from stem cells, called cardiomyocytes, at the site of damaged blood vessels. Dr. Wu and his team will investigate whether cardiomyocytes improve heart function in patients with chronic ischemic cardiomyopathy (NCT05068674).
“If you want to be the first to do something, Stanford Medicine is the right place for you,” says Dr. Wu. “In the next 10 years, you will see a convergence of science and technology that will transform healthcare.”
Stanford CVI director has received extensive recognition
Multiple honors have recognized Dr. Wu’s dedication to the field of cardiovascular medicine, including:
- American Heart Association Distinguished Scientist Award (2018)
- American Heart Association Merit Award (2017)
- Burroughs Wellcome Foundation in Regulatory Science Award (2015)
- Joseph A. Vita Award, American Heart Association (2015)
- Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2010)
- NIH Roadmap Transformative Award (2009)
- NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (2008)
Dr. Wu is also a member of several esteemed organizations, including:
- American Society of Clinical Investigation (2012)
- Association of University Cardiologists (2013)
- American Association of Physicians (2015)
- American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2018)
- American Association for the Advancement of Science (2019)
- National Academy of Medicine (2019)
- Society of Toxicology (Honorary Lifetime Member, 2021)
Interested in reading the latest CVI quarterly newsletter or joining the mailing list? Find out more about Stanford Medicine’s Cardiovascular Institute.