Dr. Drakos is a Professor of Cardiology and Physiology at the Univ. of Utah Health & School of Medicine and his lab is housed at the Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute (CVRTI) (http://cvrti.utah.edu/~drakos). Dr Drakos’ research is focused on understanding, predicting and manipulating myocardial recovery by utilizing information derived from studies in humans, animal models and in vitro systems. This body of work led to the founding and establishment of the international Utah Cardiac Recovery Program (UCAR).
Dr Drakos’ research team includes basic, translational and clinical investigators and has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the biology of recovery of the failing heart. His lab was the first to disprove the notion that mechanical unloading leads to disuse myocardial atrophy which had served as an impediment to new research progress in the field. To investigate the mechanisms implicated in myocardial recovery Dr Drakos’ lab is following a “bedside to bench and back” approach using human myocardial tissue findings from cardiac recovery patients to guide their basic science investigations which include knockout, inhibition or overexpression strategies in vitro and in vivo (small and large animal models). With this approach they identified (a) MCT4, (b) VDAC2 and (c) the glucose accessory pathways (pentose-phosphate and 1-carbon metabolism) as novel plausible therapeutic targets for myocardial recovery in chronic heart failure.
Dr. Drakos has also published structure-function clinical studies focused on the impact of mechanical unloading on reverse remodeling and myocardial recovery and the UCAR program was one of the leaders in the bridge-to-recovery multicenter trial RESTAGE-HF which is considered widely as a turning point for the myocardial recovery field. Dr Drakos is currently chairing the NIH Clinical Integrative Cardiovascular and Hematological Sciences (CCHS) study section and he was the co-chair of the NHLBI Working Group on Myocardial Recovery.