Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

University of Louisville

Roberto Bolli
Professor of Medicine and Physiology

Dr. Bolli graduated from the University of Perugia (Italy) in 1976. He completed a research Fellowship at the NHLBI (1978-80) and a clinical Fellowship in Cardiology at Baylor College of Medicine (1981-83). In 1983, he joined the Faculty at Baylor College of Medicine, where he rose to the rank of Professor with tenure. In 1994, he became Chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Louisville. He is also Director of the Institute of Molecular Cardiology, Scientific Director of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute, Executive Vice Chairman of the Department of Medicine, a Distinguished University Scholar, and the Jewish Hospital Distinguished Chair in Cardiology. Twice at two different institutions (Baylor and University of Louisville), Dr. Bolli developed a leading research program starting from zero.

Major awards:

Physician Scientist Award, American College of Chest Physicians (1987), Pharmacia-Chiron Young Investigator Award (1988), American Society for Clinical Investigation (1991), Association of American Physicians (1999), NIH MERIT Award (2001-2010), Basic Research Prize, Am Heart Assoc (AHA) (2001), Research Achievement Award, International Society for Heart Research (ISHR) (2004), Ken Bowman Research Award, Univ. of Manitoba 2004), Louis and Artur Lucian Award, McGill University (2004), Howard Morgan Award, International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences (IACS) (2005), Foreign Fellow, Academy of Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada , Distinguished Achievement Award of the AHA (2006), Distinguished Scientist Award of the AHA (2008), Award of Meritorious Achievement of the AHA (2010), Walter B. Cannon Award, Am Physiol Society (2011), Carl J. Wiggers Award, Am Physiol Society (2011), Rocovich Gold Medal for Excellence in Science, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (2012), Medal of Merit of the IACS (2013), Research Achievement Award of the AHA (2013), Peter Harris Distinguished Scientist Award of the ISHR (2015), Jay & Jeanie Schottenstein Prize in Cardiovascular Sciences, The Ohio State University (2015), “Perugian in the World” Award, Camera di Commercio of Perugia (2015), Creation of the Roberto Bolli Young Faculty Award Competition by the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences (2016), Honorable Maestro Award, KY Chapter of ACC (2018), Lifetime Achievement Award by the Serbia Physiological Society (2019), Gold Medal, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Manitoba (2019), D.Sc. Honoris Causa, University of Kragujevac (2019).

Dr. Bolli has delivered 339 lectures, including:

Five plenary lectures and two State-of-the-Art Lectures at AHA Sessions, Landmark Lecture at the ISHR World Congress (2001), Keith Reimer Distinguished Lecture of the ISHR (2002), Robert Berne Distinguished Lecture of the Am Physiological Society (2005), Michel Mirowski Lecture (2006), George E. Brown Memorial Lecture of the AHA (2007), James T. Willerson Lecture (2008), Laurence H. Green Memorial Lecture (2010), Distinguished Scientist Lecture of the AHA (2011), Mikamo Lecture, Japanese Circulation Society (2013), Michael J. Sole Lecture (2013), Keynote Lecture at IACS Congress (2019).

NIH activities: Member of the CVB Study Section, NHLBI Program Project Review Committee, and NHLBI Advisory Council.

AHA activities: Chair of: Pathophysiology Review Committee, Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences, Distinguished Scientist Selection Committee, and Council Operations Committee; member of numerous committees; member of the Board of Directors. International Society for Heart Research: Secretary General, Treasurer, and President. International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences: President. Editorial activities: Dr. Bolli was Associate Editor of the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, Guest Editor of Circulation, and Editor-in-Chief of Circulation Research (2009-2019).

Dr. Bolli is PI in two NIH grants: a P01 grant and a UM1 grant (CCTRN). He has published 465 papers, including 291 original articles. Among the original articles, 45 have appeared in Circulation Research, 12 in PNAS, 7 in JCI, and 30 in Circulation. Forty-seven of his papers have been cited more than 100 times, 21 more than 200 times, and 28 more than 300 times. Total number of citations: 35,901; Hirsch factor: 102.

Dr. Bolli’s research has focused on the mechanisms responsible for myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury and on the development of cardioprotective strategies. His earlier work established a fundamental role of reactive oxygen species in the pathogenesis of myocardial “stunning”, a concept that is now accepted as a proven hypothesis. Subsequently, he identified the signal transduction pathways and the cardioprotective genes responsible for the late phase of myocardial “preconditioning”, thereby elucidating the molecular basis of this adaptation of the heart to stress. His discovery that the cardioprotection afforded by preconditioning is mediated by two proteins commonly thought to be detrimental (inducible NO synthase and cyclooxygenase-2) has impelled a reassessment of current paradigms regarding these enzymes and has paved the way for developing novel pharmacologic or genetic therapeutic strategies in patients with coronary artery disease. He is currently investigating the use of cell therapy to repair injured myocardium. He was the first to show that, contrary to commonly-accepted ideas, cardiac progenitor c-kit+ cells (CPCs) do not engraft in the heart and, therefore, work via paracrine actions – a concept that has changed our understanding of cell therapy. He is currently leading a Clinical Center of the NIH-funded network, CCTRN, where he is PI in two clinical trials: CONCERT-HF (Combination Of meseNchymal and c-kit+ Cardiac stem cells as Regenerative Therapy for Heart Failure) and SENECA (StEm cell iNjEction in CAncer survivors).

Bolli R, Hare JM, March K, Pepine CJ, Willerson JT, Perin EC, Yang P, Henry TD, Traverse J, Mitrani R, Khan A, Schulman I, Taylor D, Vojvodic RW, Sayre SL, Bettencourt J, Cohen M, Ebert RF, Moye L, Simari R, for the Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network (CCTRN). Rationale and design of the CONCERT-HF (Combination Of meseNchymal and c-kit+ Cardiac stEm cells as Regenerative Therapy of Heart Failure) trial. Circ Res 122:1703- 1715, 2018.

Bolli R, Hare JM, Henry TD, Lenneman CG, March K, Miller K, Pepine CJ, Perin ED, Traverse JH, Willerson JT, Yang PC, Gee AP, Lima JA, Moye L, Vojvodic RW, Sayre SL, Bettencourt J, Cohen M, Ebert RF, Simari R, for the Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network (CCTRN). Rationale and design of the SENECA (StEm cell iNjECtion in cAncer survivors) trial. Am Heart J 201:54-62, 2018.

Wysoczynski M, Guo Y, Moore J IV, Muthusamy S, Li Q, Nasr M, Li H, Nong Y, Wu W, Tomlin A, Zhu X, Hunt G, Gumpert A, Book M, Khan A, Tang XL, Bolli R. A new population of cardiac mesenchymal cells isolated on the basis of adherence: Phenotype and reparative properties. J Am Coll Cardiol 69:1824-1838, 2017.

Tokita Y, Tang XL, Li Q, Wysoczynski M, Hong KU, Bolli RA Jr., Nakamura S, Wu WJ, Xie W, Li D, Hunt G, Ou Q, Stowers H, Bolli R. Repeated administrations of cardiac progenitor cells are markedly more effective than a single administration: A new paradigm in cell therapy. Circ Res 119:635-651, 2016.

Jones SP, Tang XL, Guo Y, Steenbergen C, Lefer DL, Kukreja RC, Kong M, Li Q, Bhushan S, Zhu X, Du J, Nong Y, Stowers HL, Kondo K, Hunt GN, Goodchild TT, Orr A, Chang CC, Ockaili R, Salloum FN, Bolli R. The NHLBI-sponsored Consortium for preclinicAl assESsment of cARdioprotective therapies (CAESAR): A new paradigm for rigorous, accurate, and reproducible evaluation of putative infarct-sparing interventions in mice, rabbits, and pigs. Circ Res 116:572-586, 2015.

Hong K, Guo Y, Li Q, Cao P, Al-Maqtari T, Vajravelu B, Du J, Book M, Zhu X, Nong Y, Bolli R. C-kit+ cardiac stem cells alleviate post-myocardial infarction left ventricular dysfunction despite poor engraftment and negligible retention in the recipient heart. PLOS ONE 9(5): e96725. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096725, 2014.

Tang XL, Li Q, Rokosh DG, Sanganalmath SK, Chen N, Ou Q, Dawn B, Stowers H, Hunt G, Bolli R. Long-term outcome of administration of c-kit+ cardiac progenitor cells after acute myocardial infarction: Transplanted cells do not become cardiomyocyctes, but structural and functional improvement and proliferation of endogenous cells persist for at least one year. Circ Res 118:1091-1105, 2016.


Slicing and Culturing Pig Hearts under Physiological Conditions

1Institute of Molecular Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of Louisville, 2Department of Bioengineering, University of Louisville, 3Diabetes and Obesity Center, Department of Medicine, University of Louisville, 4Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Louisville, 5Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Manchester, 6Faculty of Pharmacy, Zagazig University

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