MHIF Science Centers

Elevating opportunities to advance healthcare and drive patient outcomes

MHIF Science Centers are at the heart of the MHIF mission. They exist to drive research and education activities that will address clinical needs and gaps that exist in healthcare. The work of MHIF in these areas of specialty adds a depth of effort and investment that goes beyond clinical studies, working to improve patient care in ways that will challenge the standard of care. 

The MHIF Science Centers are structured under the leadership of a renowned and passionate physician expert who has the motivation and track record to drive impact on behalf of patient outcomes. Aligned with the MHIF mission, the Centers elevate key areas of research where the Foundation has the expertise to do more to understand the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of heart and vascular disease. Over time, and with the help of research and advances in healthcare, these needs will change and evolve.  

Complex Coronary Artery Disease Science Center

Making the impossible possible through innovative research and education around treatment approaches for the most complex of coronary artery disease cases. Learn More >

Valve Science Center

A world-class research and education center focused on innovative care and treatment for valvular heart disease, a public health crisis and life-threatening condition. Learn More >

Women’s Cardiovascular Science Center

Advance the understanding of heart and vascular disease in women, how to prevent it, and how to optimize heart health. Learn More >

Areas of Focus

In addition to Science Centers, MHIF offers a breadth of expertise in the following cardiovascular areas of focus.

Cardiothoracic Surgery

Leveraging new techniques, devices and medications that can be used during heart surgery which may improve recovery.

Remarkable progress has occurred since the first coronary artery bypass graft surgery in the early 1960s. And every day, the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF) leads the way in developing innovative procedures that improve outcomes for heart bypass surgery and related cardiac surgical procedures, such as minimally invasive valve procedures and surgery for adult congenital heart disease.

Our unique organizational model allows MHIF to quickly apply contributions to clinical knowledge. Because of our relationship to Minneapolis Heart Institute® at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, MHIF puts research into practice immediately by employing the latest approved techniques for improved outcomes. Research and education efforts at MHIF benefit practitioners and individuals in Minneapolis and around the world.

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Clinical Cardiology

Advancing the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that affect the heart and surrounding blood vessels.

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Exploring new therapies for patients with abnormal heart rhythms, including genetic arrhythmias.

Cardiac rhythm disorders include a number of abnormal heart rhythms. As one of the premier heart rhythm research centers in the nation, the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF) drives research that brings new insights into the treatment of those affected by abnormal heart rhythms. From research that improves the treatment of heart rhythm, to studies assessing the effectiveness of implantable cardioverter defibrillators used for ventricular fibrillation, MHIF is changing outcomes. The Foundation also supports unique programs such as the Genetic Arrhythmia Center that studies rare inheritable heart rhythm disorders and the Midwest Adult Congenital Cardiac Center that advances the treatment of adult survivors of congenital heart defects.

Our electrophysiologists, advanced practitioners and skilled technicians, in concert with the Minneapolis Heart Institute®, direct one of the largest and most comprehensive arrhythmia programs in the nation. Collectively, they improve the lives of those with common as well as complex rhythm disorders.

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Gene Therapy, Stem Cells and Biomaterials

Expanding options for patients, with a focus on cardiovascular recovery and restoring heart function.

Investigators at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF) are experts in cardiovascular stem cell therapies. Our research focuses on utilizing stem cells to enhance the body’s natural process of regeneration. Acute heart attacks, blockages that cannot be repaired, inadequate blood supply – all are examples of problems that MHIF’s stem cell research team is helping to address. In fact, research has shown that, under the right circumstances, the heart can actually grow new cardiac blood vessels and muscle to extend lives and improve quality of life. MHIF was selected by the National Institutes of Health as one of only seven Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network sites in the United States. MHIF, in collaboration with the Minneapolis Heart Institute®, is one of the most experienced cardiovascular cell therapy centers in the world. Our team has been involved in over 30 clinical trials, answering important questions regarding stem cell safety, efficacy, optimal methods of delivery and long-term outcomes.

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Heart Failure and Transplant/VAD

Delivering comprehensive care for heart failure, with a full spectrum of therapeutic options.

The population is living longer, which means that the number of individuals who are likely to experience advanced heart failure issues is growing. The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation’s® (MHIF) research in this area is varied and extensive. From understanding the disease process, to improving clinical management, to transplant, our team of experts is leading the way toward a better understanding of cardiovascular recovery and expanding options for those with advanced heart failure.

MHIF’s research initiatives have expanded the use of Left Ventricular Assist Devices, or LVADs, so they no longer just keep a heart viable until a transplant is possible. In some cases, VADs can actually restore a heart’s functionality. In essence, MHIF is learning how to repair hearts that previously could only be replaced. Through research on stem cells, new heart failure therapies and heart tissue in transplant patients, we are working to improve the likelihood that an individual’s heart can potentially be repaired or replaced, offering them a chance to live a longer, healthier life.

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Developing and testing better diagnostic instruments to help doctors “see” heart problems without invasive procedures.

Advanced cardiovascular imaging creates a revolution in understanding and treating heart disease at any age. Three-dimensional images of the heart and blood vessels, coupled with novel device technologies, provide a powerful and innovative force that changes the face of modern cardiology.

Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation’s® (MHIF) expertise leads to diagnoses never before possible, detecting issues that previously went unrecognized, all without invading the body with needles or catheters. Our imaging capabilities span all age groups, allowing us to avoid general anesthesia, limit radiation and eliminate complications. The research, discovery and dissemination of learning that has taken place over the last 30 years positions MHIF as one of the nation’s most highly respected centers for cardiovascular imaging.

MHIF’s imaging database includes over 20,000 procedures in CT and MRI imaging. This depth of information allows transformative investigation to help identify and treat various heart and vascular conditions of all ages. Through groundbreaking collaboration across the field of cardiology, new discoveries are happening. Advanced Imaging techniques have been instrumental, for instance, in changing treatment and outcomes for those with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, valvular and structural heart diseases.

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Imaging Research Core Lab

A state-of-the-art academic cardiac MRI and CT imaging Core Lab supporting national and international clinical studies.

The importance of multimodality imaging, including Cardiac CT and MRI in the rapidly expanding field structural heart and valve disease interventions requires dedicated clinical focus and expertise in the medical imaging analysis and interpretation. The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation (MHIF) Imaging Research Core Laboratory is a state-of-the-art academic cardiac MRI and CT imaging Core Lab which supports national and international device/drug studies.

Our MHIF Imaging Research Core Lab team can help with the study design, development of imaging protocol and analytical services for your clinical trial, pilot study or imaging consultation of secondary exploratory analysis of prior datasets with quantitative novel imaging tools.

MHIF Imaging Core Laboratory capabilities include: 

  • Clinical trial design
  • Image analysis protocol
  • Site training and qualification for imaging 
  • Reader training and reproducibility testing
  • Data quality management
  • Ongoing assurance of site image quality and evaluability
  • Data cleaning, statistical analysis and data interpretation
  • Regulatory submission support

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Testing advanced catheter-based treatments for various coronary artery and other structural or non-valvular diseases.

The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF) has built its reputation as one of the nation’s most respected and distinguished leaders in coronary artery disease research and treatment. This national recognition in coronary therapeutics comes, in part, from MHIF’s pioneering work in the treatment of heart attacks. In 2003, MHIF investigators along with Minneapolis Heart Institute® at Abbott Northwestern Hospital developed a program called Level One, which focuses on rapid transfer and treatment of heart attack patients who present to hospitals without advanced cardiovascular capabilities. The Level One Program has proven that rural patients, when appropriately treated, can expect the same level of care and outcomes as those who present to major medical centers. It has become the model for care of heart attack victims across the nation.

Other research highlights include helping to develop drug-eluting stents that have revolutionized coronary care, and perfecting new products and techniques for chronic total occlusions, completely blocked arteries that previously could not be treated without bypass surgery. The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation continues to evaluate new treatment delivery models such as Tele-Health, which provides cardiology consultation from Minneapolis Heart Institute® physicians for rural clinics. Research from MHIF is a critical component to best in class treatment, and a key contributor to advancing the treatment of coronary artery disease worldwide.

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Prevention and Population Health

Discovering new therapies and programs to prevent heart disease.

The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF) is committed to preventing heart disease before it happens. Research at the individual and population levels are helping people and whole communities live healthier lives. MHIF researchers are using data to develop innovative risk assessment tools and better manage and reduce risk factors that make it easier for people to prevent and treat heart disease. The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation led the way in creating the Under 55 Registry to identify individuals most at risk before a heart attack occurs. Investigators at MHIF have also led many innovative statin drug studies which help lower cholesterol and the risk for heart attacks and stroke. Studies like these, combined with programs targeting heart healthy lifestyle changes, are working to prevent heart and vascular disease across the country.

The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation’s Pathway to Prevention Campaign aims to fund additional research, interventions and learning dissemination to continue our track record of success.

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Transforming health at a community level is the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation’s (MHIF) goal in this new era of health care. Our nationally recognized Hearts Beat Back®: The Heart of New Ulm Project encourages individuals in the City of New Ulm, Minnesota, to eat well, exercise, quit smoking, manage stress and get preventative screenings to combat heart disease. Since 2008, our efforts have reduced the incidence of heart attacks to a rate below the national average. MHIF’s goal is to disseminate findings from these and other research efforts to replicate successful strategies that will impact many more communities across the country.

Visit MHIF’s Population Health website


Vascular and Endovascular Surgery

Using advanced care and innovative technology, including emergency programs, for patients with vascular disease.

At the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF), specialists from vascular and endovascular surgery, interventional radiology and vascular medicine collaborate to provide advanced care for individuals with vascular disease. Vascular care is designed to ensure accurate diagnosis, prevent disease progression, provide ongoing therapy, preserve independence and improve quality of life. MHIF investigators, in conjunction with the Minneapolis Heart Institute®, created emergency programs for individuals with aortic and lower extremity diseases, deployed a mobile vascular lab that brings noninvasive imaging to patients throughout Minnesota, and provide care for patients in the Wound Clinic and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Department at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. In addition, ongoing device and treatment studies are continually underway, offering new options to individuals with vascular disease. MHIF investigators contribute greatly to journals and publications to advance the understanding of vascular medicine and ultimately improve outcomes.

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