Physician-scientist Dr. Sam Wickline arrives to lead USF Health Heart Institute

Tampa, FL (Dec. 20, 2016) — Samuel A. Wickline, MD, has joined the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine to lead a state-of-the-art heart institute that will integrate biomedical research with advanced clinical care to find new ways to detect, treat and prevent cardiovascular diseases and improve the heart health of the Tampa Bay community.

Dr. Wickline, a cardiologist, came to USF earlier this month from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where he was the J. Russell Hornsby Professor in Biomedical Sciences and a professor of medicine with additional appointments in biomedical engineering, physics, and cell biology and physiology.

As the first director of the USF Health Heart Institute, he will be instrumental in helping design, build, equip and staff the Heart Institute to be co-located with the new Morsani College of Medicine in downtown Tampa. Among his responsibilities will be the recruitment of 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.

Samuel Wickline, MD, a cardiologist, is the USF Health Heart Institute’s first director. – Photo by Sandra C. Roa

Dr. Stephen Liggett, vice dean for research at the Morsani College of Medicine, and Dr. Arthur Labovitz, chair of the college’s Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, served as co-directors of the Heart Institute during its early planning and design phase.

“With a foundation firmly in place, we look forward to Dr. Wickline’s leadership in helping us build a world-class cardiovascular clinical and research program positioned to accelerate USF’s path to preeminence,” said Dr. Charles J. Lockwood, senior vice president for USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine.

Dr. Wickline will fill the Tampa General Hospital Endowed Chair for Cardiovascular Research, which was created earlier this year with a gift from USF’s primary teaching hospital.  He also holds appointments as associate dean for cardiovascular research and a professor of cardiovascular sciences at the Morsani College of Medicine.

“Heart disease is the number one killer of people in the world and the United States, and there are still innumerable problems to solve,” said Dr. Wickline, who is in the process of setting up his own laboratory at USF. “I have been impressed by the energy and commitment here at the University of South Florida to invest substantial resources in a heart institute… And from the perspective of what is done in the laboratory, I believe we have a lot to offer in terms of bench-to-bedside research that could solve some of the major cardiovascular problems.”

An accomplished physician-scientist with expertise in translating basic science discoveries into practical applications to benefit patients, Dr. Wickline will complement USF Health’s growing cardiology service, and brings to USF 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 disease-causing processes using novel imaging methods to detect the genetic signature of cells and deploying nanoparticles to treat a variety of cardiovascular conditions, including targeting atherosclerotic plaques that cause heart attacks. His academic entrepreneurial 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.

During his career at Washington University, Dr. Wickline served as chief of cardiology at Jewish Hospital and helped establish the university’s first graduate program in biomedical engineering. 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 National Institutes of Health funding.

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

-USF Health-
USF Health’s mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, the Biomedical Sciences Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs, and the USF Physicians Group. USF Health is an integral part of the University of South Florida, a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. For more information, visit www.health.usf.edu

Media contact:
Anne DeLotto Baier, USF Health Communications
abaier@health.usf.edu or (813) 974-3303