Stephen Archer appointed cardiology section chief at the University of Chicago Medical Center

Stephen Archer appointed cardiology section chief at the University of Chicago Medical Center

April 24, 2007

Cardiologist Stephen Archer, MD, a noted clinician-investigator, has been appointed cardiology section chief for the department of medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Archer helped define the molecular basis for hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction, where small vessels in the lung constrict when oxygen levels drop. He also discovered a major mechanism underlying constriction of the ductus arteriosus, a vital blood vessel that must close as the fetus transitions to becoming an air-breathing infant. In addition, he discovered therapies for pulmonary hypertension, a fatal illness of young adults, and persistent ductus arteriosus, a common form of congenital heart disease.

Archer, Age 50, comes to the University of Chicago from the University of Alberta. He is accompanied by his wife, Kathie Doliszny PhD and their children, Elizabeth, Ben and Anya. In Alberta, Dr. Archer founded the Vascular Biology Research Group and was the Heart and Stroke Chair for Cardiovascular Research. He was also the principal investigator and scientific director of a $20-million initiative that built the Alberta Cardiovascular and Stroke Research Centre at the University of Alberta.

Before coming to the University of Alberta, Archer completed training in medicine and cardiology at the University of Minnesota, where he became professor of medicine.

He has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers and sits on the editorial board of Circulation Research and several other journals. His research is funded by NIH and several Canadian agencies, including the Canadian Institute for Health Research. He is an active volunteer for the American Heart Association and is the incoming chair of their national Cardiopulmonary Critical Care Council. Dr. Archer takes special pride in the 20 young investigators he has mentored over the years.

"We are pleased to bring in Stephen Archer as cardiology section chief," says James Madara, MD, Chief Executive Officer of the University of Chicago Medical Center, Dean of the Division of Biological Sciences and University Vice President for Medical Affairs. "He has a track record for doing the same type of thing we're focusing on here at the University of Chicago--developing a close relationship between research and clinical practice--so that advances in the laboratory quickly make their way into the doctor's office. This is called 'translational research.' Here, he will spearhead the development of The University of Chicago Heart and Vascular Institute, which will be a home for the latest this century has to offer in advanced cardiac and vascular care.

Madara says, "The University of Chicago Heart and Vascular Institute will be patient focused, offering a 'one stop' approach to patient care. The Institute will consolidate outpatient clinics, hospital beds, and physician offices at a site with adequate parking and easy patient access. It will also be a research-oriented hospital with a translational research center, aimed at the prevention and cure of heart, stroke and vascular disease. Teams comprised of physicians from a variety of disciplines will work together to make best use of the latest experimental therapies. To date, there is nothing like this in Chicago."

Archer says: "As an example, if you're a patient with coronary heart disease, instead of going to one doctor and having a bypass recommended, and then to another doctor who suggests angioplasty, and finally to a third doctor who says you need a medical therapy, you can come into the Institute, and the team will recommend the most appropriate therapy, which is often a combination of approaches that uses the expertise of several types of doctor. Your treatment won't be dictated by the type of specialist you encounter first, but will benefit from a team approach which ensures your recommended treatment is what is best for you.

"Bringing together all of the relevant health care professionals from across many Departments (Surgery, Radiology, Pediatrics and Medicine) improves patient care, keeps the referring doctor informed, supports translation research and enhances training of the next generation of cardiovascular physicians. This new way of working together bridges specialties and removes specialty based silos. This new mentality is an important part of what makes the Institute unique."

Dr. Archer explains that the Heart and Vascular Institute will include an advanced imaging center (non-invasive angiograms using multislice CT scanners, cardiac MRI and 3-dimensional echocardiography); regenerative medicine (new treatments to address heart failure and refractory ischemic heart disease including the implantation of new materials and giving stem cells and gene therapy to grow new heart muscle or blood vessels); a vascular medicine program (for patients with pulmonary hypertension and other forms of blood vessel disease); a cardiac transplantation and heart failure program; a valve and structural heart disease program (new, less invasive means of treating blood vessel disease); heart rhythm therapies (such as a program for implantation and removal of antiarrhythmic devices to prevent sudden death, and catheter/surgical treatments for heart rhythm problems such as atrial fibrillation, using magnetically-guided, computerized heart catheterization.).

In addition, to incorporating existing research programs, such as the university's Institute for Cardiovascular Research, the Institute will include programs for risk factor identification, reduction and prevention, and a women's heart health program.