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Bringing Innovation from The Lab to The Clinic

Steven M. Strauss and Lise N. Wilson Center for Cardiomyopathy

UC San Diego is undertaking a charitable fundraising effort in support of the Steven M . Strauss and Lise N. Wilson Center for Cardiomyopathy. If UC San  Diego reaches its $1.75 million fundraising goal by January 1, 2024, our leadership partners Steve Strauss and Lise Wilson, will provide an additional $1.75 million gift in support of the center. By partnering with us today, you can help transform cardiovascular medicine.

A Growing Cardiac Concern

Cardiovascular disease remains the number one cause of death worldwide. One of these illnesses, cardiomyopathy, is a disease of the heart muscle that makes it harder for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body. Causes include inherited disease, infection and heart attacks. Discovered in the 1950s, it affects an estimated 1 in 500 people in the United States and often goes undiagnosed. Further, it affects people of all ages, genders and races. Ultimately, it can lead to heart failure and is a common cause of death, including sudden death. 

Cardiomyopathy is also the leading cause of hospitalization at the Cardiovascular Institute at UC San Diego Health, which includes Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center. This is why we seek to raise essential funding for the Steven M. Strauss and Lise N. Wilson Center for Cardiomyopathy, an innovative research collaborative dedicated to the treatment of this devastating illness. Currently, there is no cure. But we believe there can be — you can help.

At the Heart of the Matter

Cardiac CT of the human heart
 Cardiac CT of the human heart

The mission of the proposed Steven M. Strauss and Lise N. Wilson Center for Cardiomyopathy is to improve the lives of people with cardiomyopathy by:

  • Restoring health and well-being to those with heart failure — both from the local community and around the world — by providing outstanding and holistic care
  • Developing critical insights into the causes, diagnosis and treatment of cardiomyopathy
  • Educating the future generations of clinicians and scientists with a commitment to providing a diverse and inclusive environment for them and our allied health providers
The diagnosis of cardiomyopathy can be life changing, but with the right treatment and support, most people can live full and active lives. In order to fulfill our mission, we have set goals for developing:

  • Tools for identifying patients at risk for cardiomyopathy and sudden death
  • Models of disease that will elucidate key mechanisms of disease
  • Devices to identify disease progression, relieve suffering and improve heart transplantation
  • New medicines and vaccines to treat and ultimately cure patients

Exceptional Leadership: Eric David Adler, MD

Eric D. Adler, MD

Eric D. Adler, MD
Director, Cardiac Transplant and
Mechanical Circulatory Support

Professor of Medicine


Through his innovative approach to research in the lab and leadership in clinic,  Dr. Eric Adler  is poised to develop the proposed Steven M. Strauss and Lise N. Wilson Center for Cardiomyopathy into an environment ripe for discovery — one that may lead to treatments that dramatically improve life expectancy and quality of life for people with cardiomyopathy. Dr. Adler believes that the power to change how we understand and treat disease lies in the dynamic interaction between research and clinical care.

Dr. Adler is a board-certified cardiologist and medical director of heart transplant and mechanical circulatory support — a program that is nationally recognized as having the best one-year survival rates in the country. He specializes in advanced heart failure, mechanical circulatory support and cardiac transplantation.

As a professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine, Dr. Adler conducts research on the use of stem cells to treat cardiovascular disease. He is also an investigator for many clinical trials for all stages of heart failure, has conducted promising studies using gene therapy to treat Danon disease in mouse models,and has teamed up with an astrophysicist to develop machine learning tools to improve risk prediction of  heart failure. The implications for Dr. Adler’s work are astounding. In the future, it will be possible to scale his advancement in the field of personalized health care and medicine. If his treatments work, they can be used  as blueprints for therapies to treat a multitude of diseases. 

Adler Lab team members outside the laboratory

Adler Lab team members outside the laboratory

To Educate the Future Generation of Thought Leaders

Research fellows from around the world come to San Diego to perform leading-edge research on:

  • Basic Mechanisms of Disease
  • Cell and Animal Models of Disease
  • Drug/Device Discovery
  • Informatics/Machine Learning

A Tradition of Innovation 

UC San Diego Health has already established itself as a health care destination and leader in the field of cardiomyopathy, one of just five medical centers in California designated as a center of excellence by the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association. This new endeavor would further solidify our ability to deliver transformative care to the people who need it most. Research objectives at the center are anticipated to include:

  • Determining the trajectory of disease in patients with genetic cardiomyopathies using pluripotent stem cells, animal models of disease and clinical data
  • Developing novel strategies for modulating aberrant pathways central to the pathobiology of cardiomyopathy.
    These strategies may include small molecules as well as cell and gene therapies
  • Identifying how cell metabolism and autophagy lead to myocyte hypertrophy and cell death

The Power to Make a Difference

Steven M. Strauss and Lise N. Wilson
 Steven M. Strauss and Lise N. Wilson

We have just $1.75 million left to fulfill the promise and plans of Dr. Adler and UC San Diego Health for the Steven M. Strauss and Lise N. Wilson Center for Cardiomyopathy. Your philanthropic partnership will help us accelerate and scale Dr. Adler's important work and leadership in the treatment of cardiomyopathy. It is a new era of health care where his work can be a blueprint for future personalized therapies. With our relationship with local pharmaceutical companies, there is potential for the National Institutes of Health to award grants to further this work as well, meaning that your investment can help secure additional funding in the future.

The Steven M. Strauss and Lise N. Wilson Center for Cardiomyopathy is the first of its kind in the region. Having a named center will help the global community recognize UC San Diego Health as a destination for excellence in cardiomyopathy care. Dr. Adler will have the strength of the center behind his work, his teaching at UC San Diego and abroad, his future publications, and his efforts to recruit world-class researchers.

Dr. Adler is currently working in a virtual incubator, but his partnerships are growing globally. He has worked with teams in Italy, Germany and Israel, to name a few. As the reputation of the center grows, so will the opportunities for partnerships and the potential to make a real and lasting difference for patients with cardiomyopathy around the world. 

We invite you to join us in pioneering research and treatment of cardiomyopathy. Your philanthropic partnership will help us significantly accelerate drug discoveries and improve care for patients in San Diego and around the world. Thank you for considering this monumental opportunity to support a first-of-its-kind research center at UC San Diego Health.


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