Faculty Focus: Cardiovascular researcher Steven Houser
In this newest installment of the faculty profile series, the School of Medicine’s Steven Houser discusses the current and future state of heart health in America and what inspires his research.
Houser, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Physiology, Vera J. Goodfriend Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Research, senior associate dean for research and director of the Cardiovascular Research Center, investigates how cardiovascular disease affects the heart and develops novel approaches to prevent and correct heart damage.
Houser’s interest in cardiovascular research stems from personal experience. His own father died of sudden cardiac death after suffering for years from heart disease.
“I started out wanting to be a neuroscientist, but after my father died, I changed my research focus to cardiac electrophysiology and mechanisms of cardiovascular disease, and I am happy I did,” he said.
Houser’s research lab has been at the forefront of major discoveries about how the heart functions. “I think we’ve made great progress in my area over the past 30 years,” Houser said. “My group was at the forefront of figuring out fundamental aspects of cardiac contractions, including how calcium is essential to the induction of contraction in the heart.”
But Houser notes that heart disease is still a major health issue. “Cardiovascular disease is largely preventable,” he said. “Yet we will continue to see more instances of it unless we can have an impact on getting people to live healthier lifestyles.”
- Erica Brooke Fajge