Stephen E. Epstein, MD, Executive Director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute (CRI), oversees all cardiovascular research — basic, pre-clinical, and clinical — conducted within CRI. CRI is one of the largest research divisions in MedStar Health Research Institute and is composed of senior cardiovascular investigators, interventional cardiologists, and clinical research staff dedicated to developing new technologies and strategies to enhance the cardiovascular care of patients.
With more than 500 publications in peer-reviewed medical journals, Dr. Epstein is a recognized international authority on angiogenesis and the role of infection in atherosclerosis. He and his colleagues have explored the potential of stem cell strategies for enhancing collateral development, and are currently investigating the potential of using the secreted products of stem cells in various clinical settings. The team is also focused on understanding and treating cardiovascular disease at the molecular level by identifying the molecular mechanisms responsible for development of vulnerable plaques. These efforts have included examining possible genetic polymorphisms and of circulating biomarkers as indicators that a given patient is at risk of plaque rupture. Dr. Epstein has also explored how aging leads to collateral dysfunction and the related molecular mechanisms.
His research in gene therapy and the use of stem cells in cardiovascular disease has led to two important National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) committee appointments. Dr. Epstein is currently Vice-Chairman of the Data Safety Management Board (DSMB) for Programs of Excellence in Gene and Cell Therapy for the Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and had served as Chairman of the DSMB for Specialized Centers for Clinically Oriented Research in Cardiac Dysfunction and Disease until the completion of that NHLBI effort in 2010.
In addition to his research and leadership responsibilities, Dr. Epstein serves as Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a Fellow of the American Heart Association, a member of the Association of American Physicians, and an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians. Dr. Epstein is the recipient of the Distinguished WELCOME Lecturer award, was selected for the prestigious Pfizer Visiting Professor Program, and is a frequent invited lecturer and keynote speaker at national and international medical conferences.
After graduating Summa Cum Laude from Columbia College, Dr. Epstein completed his medical training at Cornell University Medical College and interned at New York Hospital, New York, NY. Prior to joining MedStar Health, Dr. Epstein served for over 30 years as Chief of the Cardiology Branch of the NHLBI at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.