International Scholar Program

Accelerating our groundbreaking physician-initiated research and bringing global exposure to MHIF

Training Global Health Care Leaders

As part of our commitment to education, Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation works to leave a legacy of training future and global health care leaders in the field of heart and vascular health. Since 2017, our International Scholar program has brought practicing physicians from countries around the world for a one- or two-year period to work directly with Minneapolis Heart Institute® physicians and advance MHIF physician-initiated cardiovascular research.

To date, the International Scholar program has welcomed scholars from China, Japan, Brazil, Hungary and Greece.

Research scholars help accelerate our groundbreaking research by helping to design and conduct clinical studies of all types under the supervision of a physician serving as the primary investigator. Research scholars also assist MHIF research teams in disseminating important research findings by publishing articles in peer-reviewed journals and submitting abstracts and challenging cases for publication and/or presentation at scientific conferences, bringing global exposure to MHIF’s research.

“The International Scholar program has been instrumental in the success of MHIF’s Center for Coronary Artery Disease. They bring a wealth of knowledge, but also tremendous drive and motivation that is critical in moving often challenging projects forward. The research work of the international scholars has been published in the top interventional journals and has helped advance the contemporary practice of interventional cardiology.”

— Dr. Emmanouil Brilakis, Chairman, Center for Coronary Artery Disease

Featured Highlights

Best Case at ML-CTO Virtual Meeting

A case submission from MHIF CCAD International Scholar Dr. Judit Karacsonyi and CCAD Chairman Dr. Emmanouil Brilakis was awarded Best Case at the ML-CTO meeting.

Cardiovascular Innovations Digital 2020

Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF) was well represented at Cardiovascular Innovations (CVI) Digital 2020 with 16 research physicians along with four MHIF foreign scholars taking part in 16 live sessions and 21 on-demand videos and posters.

Meet the Current Scholars

Cardiovascular Imaging Research Center

Miho Fukui, MD, PhD

Miho Fukui, MD, PhD

Research Scholar

Home country and hospital: Japan, Hyogo College of Medicine Hospital

Medical degree earned: Hyogo Collage of Medicine, 2007

Started at MHIF: September 2018

Areas of Research: Multimodality imaging (cardiac CT, MR, echocardiography) in valvular/structure heart disease

Why were you interested in becoming an MHIF Research Scholar? Because Dr. Joao L. Cavalcante is here and we can learn and research multimodality imaging at the same time.

What do you enjoy the most about your work with MHIF? I’m enjoying a lot of opportunity to learn new transcatheter therapy for valve heart disease and its association with imaging.

What do you enjoy the most about living and working in Minnesota? I’m enjoying friendship and nature.

Read her full bio here.

Hideki Koike, MD, PhD

Hideki Koike, MD, PhD

Research Scholar

Home country and hospital: Japan, Toho University

Medical degree earned: Toho University, 2009

Started at MHIF: August 2021

Areas of Research: Cardiovascular Imaging and Arrhythmia

Why were you interested in becoming an MHIF Research Scholar? MHIF and ANWH is one of the top cardiovascular centers and has so many interesting cases. I am excited to join the latest research for valvular heart disease and hope to improve my skills and acquire the necessary experience to return the profit to clinical care.

What do you enjoy the most about your work with MHIF? Evaluating and analyzing Cardiac MRIs

What do you enjoy the most about living and working in Minnesota? Lunch with my colleagues, going outside with my friends, and indoor and outdoor climbing.

Read his full bio here.

Center for Coronary Artery Disease

Judit Karacsonyi, MD, PhD

Judit Karacsonyi, MD, PhD

Senior Research Scholar

Home country and hospital: Second Department of Internal Medicine and Cardiology Center, Division of Invasive Cardiology, University of Szeged, Hungary

Medical degree earned: University of Szeged, 2012

Started at MHIF: March 2020

Areas of research: percutaneous coronary intervention of chronic total occlusions, saphenous vein graft intervention, laser atherectomy, bifurcation lesions, radiation effects on cath lab personnel

Why were you interested in becoming an MHIF Research Scholar? I used to work with Dr. Brilakis and Bavana Rangan at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, so I already knew how great this team is. In addition to this, MHIF is famous for its excellent research and gives plenty of opportunity to complete clinical trials in my interests, namely in percutaneous coronary intervention.

What do you enjoy the most about your work with MHIF? MHIF has an amazing team. I always receive all the needed support and help from everyone. We brainstorm about our ideas and always make it work. We also have plenty of opportunities to present our research at national and international conferences.

What do you enjoy the most about living and working in Minnesota? I love the nature and especially the lakes. It is great fun to run, walk or cycle around them, the sunsets are simply marvelous. Another thing I find really interesting is how the locals cope with the strong winters, it proves to me that anything is possible if you really try.

Read her full bio here.

Spyridon (Spyros) Kostantinis, MD

Spyridon (Spyros) Kostantinis, MD

Research Scholar

Home country and hospital: Greece, General Hospital of Karditsa, Health Center of Mouzaki

Medical degree earned: National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, 2019

Started at MHIF: May 2021

Areas of research: Complex Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), Chronic Total Occlusions (CTOs), Bifurcation PCI, Complications during PCI, Clinical trial comparing the radial versus femoral access site for bleeding and access site complications in cardiac catheterization

Why were you interested in becoming an MHIF Research Scholar? My interest in cardiology was a really important factor to move to Minnesota and start working as a research fellow. I heard a lot about Dr. Brilakis, the CCAD team and MHIF in general, and I really wanted to be a part of that and learn how research works. I also think it is a great opportunity for me to get closer to my goal which is to practice cardiology.

What do you enjoy the most about your work with MHIF? The entire staff at MHIF is great and I really enjoy working with all of them, but the thing I enjoy the most is working with the CCAD team. We communicate well and work on various projects with great scientific results. The whole team has supported me here since day one.

What do you enjoy the most about living and working in Minnesota? The lakes are really beautiful and parks are super nice in the summer, as well as the bike roads being convenient. I hope I will find ways to enjoy the winter too with other activities.

Read his full bio here.

Bahadir (Baha) Simsek, MD

Bahadir (Baha) Simsek, MD

Research Scholar

Home country and hospital: Turkey, Istanbul University-Cerrahpasa

Medical degree earned: Istanbul University-Cerrahpasa, 2021

Started at MHIF: August 2021

Areas of research: Interventional cardiology, coronary artery disease, bifurcation PCI, CTO-PCI, and safety of cardiac catheterization

Why were you interested in becoming an MHIF Research Scholar? I am interested in pursuing a career in interventional cardiology. Dr. Brilakis is a world-renowned researcher and a clinician, and the team has an exceptional track record of publishing and mentoring/helping research scholars pursue their goals.

What do you enjoy the most about your work with MHIF? Interacting daily with my colleagues and mentors as well as authoring abstracts/articles.

What do you enjoy the most about living and working in Minnesota? I enjoy spending time outdoors and biking, especially around the lakes in Uptown area.

Read his full bio here.

Valve Science Center

Hirotomo Sato, MD, PhD

Hirotomo Sato, MD, PhD

Research Scholar

Home country and hospital: Japan, Shimane University Hospital

Medical degree earned: Faculty of Medicine, Shimane University, 2007

Started at MHIF: November 2020

Why were you interested in becoming an MHIF Research Scholar?  I was interested because Dr. Paul Sorajja and other great physicians and surgeons are here. I can learn a lot from them, and I can research the latest therapies here. We have a lot of opportunity to discuss these new therapies and our research with them.

What do you enjoy the most about your work with MHIF? I enjoy learning and researching the wonderful interventional therapy that is possible with new devices and great skills. There are many of the latest interventional procedures for valve and structural disease here.

What do you enjoy the most about living and working in Minnesota? As Minnesota has many lakes, I enjoy my weekends running by the lakes and having a good time. I like playing golf and I hear there are many good golf courses here, so I look forward to playing.

Any Gift, Big or Small, has a Significant Impact on People’s Lives