Kalyanam Shivkumar, MD, PhD, is an interventional cardiac electrophysiologist and Professor of Medicine (Cardiology), Radiology & Bioengineering at UCLA. His research is focused on the neural control of the heart and mechanisms of arrhythmias in humans. His scientific career has leveraged innovative procedures such as percutaneous epicardial mapping in humans which has enabled mechanistic studies. His group has advanced neuraxial modulation treatment for patients with refractory ventricular arrhythmias in whom death was imminent. This therapy at a ‘higher level’ (epidural anesthesia and cardiac stellectomy/sympathectomy), is life-saving. For the first time, his lab identified that explanted stellate ganglia in patients with cardiomyopathy showed neural remodeling. In parallel, utilizing an integrative physiology approach and infarct models, he has characterized neural remodeling, mechanisms of arrhythmias and mechanistic basis of neuraxial modulation. Recently his group has identified the ‘neural signature’ of cardiac injury, the consequence of altered afferent cardiac neurotransmission, that ultimately activates the neuroendocrine system which underlies heart failure and arrhythmias. ‘Myocardial+neural’ electrophysiological mapping that has been developed by his group paves the way for developing neuroscience based therapies for the cardiovascular system. Understanding the function of specialzied aspects of the human heart e.g. the intrinsic nervous system of the heart (‘little-brain’) has major therapeutic implications. Dr. Shivkumar is also the founding director of the UCLA Cardiac Arrhythmia Center (since 2002) and has assembled a team of physicians, scientists and engineers to seek new knowledge in the molecular, cellular & network levels of cardiac neurobiology to develop globally applicable cardiac therapeutics and advance neurovisceral sciences.
Kalyanam Shivkumar, MD, PhD