Skip to main content

U-CARS 2023: Healing Diseased Hearts, from Bench to Bedside

Media contact:

Now in its 11th year, participants in Utah Cardiac Recovery Symposium (U-CARS) will exchange ideas and evaluate paradigms on a now-thriving field of science and medicine that was once thought to be impossible: making diseased hearts healthy again. U-CARS stands out from other meetings addressing heart disease by bringing health care providers and scientists with a broad range of expertise—including basic scientists, clinical researchers, physicians, and practitioners—into the same room to discuss and debate advances in heart recovery.

“U-CARS is designed to leverage the cumulative efforts of the broad swath of folks involved in this space to jointly innovate and move the field forward—ultimately to the benefit of our teams and patients,” says Craig Selzman, M.D., chief of cardiothoracic surgery at University of Utah Health. “The collaborative approach led by heart failure providers and scientists is a model of care for other organ and disease systems.”

Selzman co-organized U-CARS with Stavros Drakos, M.D., Ph.D., professor and director of research for cardiology; Josef Stehlik, M.D., M.P.H., professor of internal medicine; and Abdallah Kfoury, M.D., an advanced heart failure and transplant specialist at Intermountain Healthcare.

Graphic design for U-CARS symposium with Salt Lake City landscape.

Among the highlights of this year's symposium are innovations in translational science that apply principals of biomedical discoveries to improve the health of patients. Gene therapy is one such discipline that is capturing the imagination of scientists, clinicians, and patients worldwide, Drakos says. Four leaders in the field will discuss gene therapy approaches that are on the cusp of clinical application. A session dedicated to innovations in cardiac metabolism will relay the latest understandings at the biochemical level of why hearts fail and how they transform during cardiac recovery. This knowledge is informing strategies for reprogramming the heart to improve function and preventing hearts from failing in the first place.

“Many basic science discoveries don’t get translated into the real world,” Drakos says. “Involving physician scientists provides essential clinical expertise and keeps the focus on applying that research to meet unmet medical needs. This conference helps make that happen by bringing everyone together.”

Practical "How To" sessions are another popular aspect of the meeting. This year's practical sessions focus on paradigms in identifying candidates for recovery, treatment, decision-making, and next steps in research.

“Cardiac recovery has made giant leaps in the last few years,” Selzman says. “The translation of basic science into the clinical setting is no longer a myth but is actively being implemented. It’s a very exciting time.”

Registration and livestream

Three scientists in discussion at a research poster.


Keynote: Christine Seidman, M.D. — Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: Reaping the Benefits of Genetic Insights

Seidman is a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator and director of the Cardiovascular Genetics Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She integrates clinical medicine and molecular technologies to identify cardiovascular disease-causing gene mutations and genetic variations that increase disease risk.

Innovation in Cardiac Metabolism, Heart Failure, and Myocardial Recovery (Session 3)

  • Zoltan Arany, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania — Fuel utilization by the failing and non-failing human heart.
  • Greg Ducker, Ph.D., University of Utah — Understanding the role of cardiac metabolism in myocardial recovery.
  • Vojtěc Melenovsky, M.D., IKEM, Prague, Czech Republic — SGLT2 inhibitors: understanding cardiometabolic effects and mechanistic actions.
  • Paul Tang, M.D., Ph.D., University of Michigan — Metabolomic reprogramming of the myocardium to optimize function.

Innovations in Gene Therapy (Session 4)

  • Kiyotake Ishikawa, M.D., Ph.D., Mount Sinai — Gene therapy programs: the beginning of a revolution.
  • Robin Shaw, M.D., Ph.D., Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute, University of Utah — Gene therapy targeting cardiac BIN1 to improve myocardial microstructure and function.
  • Todd Rosengart, M.D., Baylor University — Angiogenic and Myocardial Regeneration Strategies: Results of the Phase 1/2 EXACT Trial and Cell Reprogramming Studies.
  • Eric Adler, M.D., University of California, San Diego — How soon is now: gene therapy for inherited cardiomyopathy.

Media are welcome to attend free of charge or watch the livestream online. Overviews of the sessions are available in the agenda online. All times are listed as Mountain Daylight Time.