Physician-scientist Dr. Samuel Wickline named USF Health Heart Institute’s first director

Samuel A. Wickline, MD, has been named the first director of the USF Health Heart Institute – an important step in realizing USF Health’s goal of creating a world class cardiovascular medicine and research program at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and Tampa General Hospital.

Dr. Wickline will join the University of South Florida on Dec. 1 from Washington University in St. Louis. There he is the J. Russell Hornsby Professor in Biomedical Sciences and a professor of medicine (cardiologist), with additional appointments in biomedical engineering, physics, and cell biology and physiology.

“Please join me in warmly welcoming Dr. Wickline to USF Health. I’d also like to thank Dr. Stephen Liggett and Dr. Arthur Labovitz for ably serving as co-directors of the Heart Institute during its early planning and design phase,” said Charles Lockwood, MD, senior vice president of USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine, in announcing Dr. Wickline’s appointment.

“With a foundation firmly in place, we look forward to Dr. Wickline’s leadership in helping us build a state-of the-art cardiovascular institute positioned to accelerate USF’s path to preeminence.”

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Samuel Wickline, MD

At USF Health, Dr. Wickline will be instrumental in helping design, build, equip and staff our state-of-the-art Heart Institute to be co-located with the new Morsani College of Medicine in downtown Tampa. That will include recruiting a critical mass of cardiovascular scientists at the forefront of interdisciplinary biomedical research to define the root causes of heart and vascular disease leading to new diagnostics and treatments.

He will also serve as Associate Dean for Cardiovascular Research, the Tampa General Hospital Endowed Chair for Cardiovascular Research and a professor of cardiovascular sciences in the Morsani College of Medicine.

As an accomplished physician-scientist with expertise in bench-to-bedside research, Dr. Wickline will complement USF Health’s growing cardiology service, and will bring to the university a longstanding National Institutes of Health grant portfolio of more than $1 million a year.  He studies the molecular basis of inflammation, cell death and atherosclerosis that cause heart, vascular and other organ diseases.

Much of Dr. Wickline’s pioneering research explores the molecular basis of pathological processes using novel imaging methods to detect early cell signatures in vivo and then using nanoparticles to treat a variety of cardiovascular conditions, including targeting atherosclerotic plaques that cause heart attacks. His translational work has led to the development of advanced cardiac imaging techniques, such as magnetic resonance imaging of the heart to assess coronary artery disease.

Dr. Wickline earned his MD degree from the University of Hawaii School of Medicine, and completed his residency in internal medicine and fellowship in cardiology at Washington University School of Medicine, in St Louis, where he joined the faculty in 1987.

During his career at Washington University, Dr. Wickline served as chief of cardiology at Jewish Hospital and helped initiate the first graduate program in biomedical engineering at Washington University. He led a consortium that works with academic and industry partners to develop broad-based clinical applications for nanotechnology and imaging.  He also established the Siteman Center of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence with NIH funding.

Dr. Wickline has started several biotechnology companies, holds 17 patents, and has authored more than 300 peer-reviewed research papers.