Our Team

Meet Our Director

Jennifer Lawton, M.D.

Dr. Jennifer Lawton is the Director of the Johns Hopkins Cardiac Surgery Research Laboratory. She joined Johns Hopkins in 2016 after spending 15 years at Washington University. Dr. Lawton’s laboratory as been funded by the American Heart Association, the Thoracic Surgery Foundation (Nina Braunwald Award), and the NIH.

The laboratory focuses on developing novel agents to reduce neurological and myocardial injury during ischemia imposed by cardiac surgery.

Learn More About Dr. Lawton's Lab

cardiac surgery research - Image of Dr. Jennifer Lawton

Cardiac Surgery Faculty Researchers

Hamza Aziz, M.D.

Clinical research area: Development of ascending aortic aneurysms

Dr. Aziz's research efforts focus on understanding the development of ascending aortic aneurysm. Previously, Dr. Aziz had found that a gene responsible for cell guidance and migration, ROBO4, was mutated in 1-2% of patients with bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) and ascending aortic aneurysm (AsAA). Animal models with mutated ROBO4 showed mild phenotype of BAV/AsAA. To expand on this research. Dr. Aziz works with a collaborator at the Johns Hopkins Institute of Genetic Medicine to develop a technique for single cell RNA sequencing to determine why the majority of thoracic aortic aneurysms have spatial localization to either root or ascending. Aziz collaborates with researchers, Dr. Elena MacFarlane and Dr. Harry Dietz III.

cardiac surgery research - image of Dr. Aziz

James Gammie, M.D.

Clinical research area: Mitral Valve Repair and Replacement Surgery

Dr. James Gammie's research focuses on improving the surgical treatment of mitral valve disease and other heart structure diseases through transcatheter interventions, cardiovascular device development and improving patient outcomes after cardiac surgery.

cardiac surgery research lab - image of Dr. James Gammie

Ahmet Kilic, M.D.

Clinical research area: Heart Failure

Dr. Ahmet Kilic joined the Johns Hopkins Division of Cardiac Surgery as an associate professor in 2017. Kilic’s areas of clinical research include advancing heart failure surgical treatment with a special interest in heart transplantation and mechanical circulatory support. Kilic's research is focused on improving surgical treatment for heart failure and patient outcomes.


cardiac surgery research - image of Dr. Ahmet Kilic

Rachael Quinn, Ph.D., M.S.

Clinical research area: Surgical treatment of structural heart disease.

Dr. Quinn’s research focuses on the surgical treatment of structural heart disease, with a primary focus on mitral and tricuspid valve disease. In collaboration with Dr. James Gammie, Dr. Quinn’s primary objective is to develop animal models of structural heart disease, including a swine model of functional mitral regurgitation, and to develop cardiovascular medical devices specifically tar. Dr. Quinn’s lab uses a 3D structured light scanner and to evaluate native, diseased and repaired valves using computer-aided drafting software in order to predict the likelihood of repair success. Dr. Quinn also collaborates on clinical research projects related to improving patient outcomes after cardiac surgery.

image of Dr. Rachael Quinn

Marc Steven Sussman, M.D.

Clinical research area: Opiate addiction after cardiac surgery

Dr. Sussman is currently investigating opiate addiction following cardiac surgery. Using retrospective data, Dr. Sussman discovered that for many cardiac surgeries that long term opiate use was associated with increased opiate use early after the procedure. It was also found that the incidence of long term opiate use was the highest in the southern United States. He is now conducting a prospective study to evaluate how well pain is controlled and the incidence of long term opiate use in patients who are given less opiate medicine early after their cardiac procedure.


cardiac surgery research - image of Dr. Marc Sussman

Glenn Whitman, M.D.

Clinical research area: Improving patient outcomes and quality insurance for cardiothoracic surgery and ICU hospitalization.

Dr. Whitman's research focuses on quality outcomes and improving patient management for patients during and after their procedure, particularly in the setting of an ICU. He is currently working on identifying and eliminating intraoperative causes of acute kidney injury during cardiac surgery through the use of urinary biomarkers. Dr. Sussman is investigating the relationship between delivered O2, lactate and acute kidney injury during cardiac surgery.

cardiac surgery research - Image of Dr. Glenn Whitman

Surgery Residents

Eric Etchill, M.D.

cardiac surgery research - image of Dr. Eric Etchill

Katherine A. Giuliano, M.D.

Dr. Giuliano is a clinical researcher and conducts basic science research areas in the cardiac surgery lab.

cardiac surgery research - image of Katherine Giuliano

Lab Staff

Melissa Jones, Senior Lab Coordinator

Melissa’s administrative responsibilities include purchasing, planning, organizing and scheduling the lab’s experiments, training classes and meetings. She also helps the surgical residents write budgets, protocols and grant proposals. Her lab duties include helping set up experiments, run equipment, collect, record and maintain data. Melissa has been with the lab since 1987 and serves as its contact person.

Melissa has the task of caring for the Blalock violet.

cardiac surgery research - image of melissa jones

Sean Kearney, Research Specialist

Sean came to the lab in 2017 after earning several years of research experience at the National Institutes of Health and the University of Maryland School Medicine. He provides a diverse skill set pertaining to the models performed in the Cardiac Research Lab. His daily duties include preparing and maintaining the surgical lab area and equipment, setting up and preparing the surgical instruments and supplies, and performing or assisting with the surgeries, administering anesthesia, pre- and postop care, and recovery. He helps acquire and maintain surgery records, controlled substances, and equipment inventory. Sean also participates in various facility accreditation audits such as ACUC, DEA, and Health and Safety.

Sean also has the task of caring for the Blalock violet.

cardiac surgery research - Image of Sean Kearney

Jie Wang, M.D., Research Associate

cardiac surgery research - Image of Dr. Jie Wang


Researcher Name Division
Brian O'Rourke, Ph.D. Cardiology
Mary Beth Brady, M.D. Anesthesiology
Jeffrey Michael Dodd-o, M.D., Ph.D. Anesthesiology
Brian Cho, M.D. Anesthesiology
Elena Gallo MacFarlane, Ph.D. Genetic Medicine
Harry C Dietz III, M.D. Genetic Medicine
Mary Ann Wilson, Ph.D. Neurology and Neuroscience
Lee J. Martin, Ph.D. Pathology and Neuroscience
Joseph Scafidi, M.S., D.O. Neurology
Sung-Min Cho, D.O., M.H.S. Neurology
Mary E. Blue, Ph.D. Neurology and Neuroscience
Kannan Rangaramanujam, M.S., Ph.D. Ophthalmology and Nanomedicine
Lauren Leigh Jantzie, Ph.D. Neurosurgery
Dody Robinson, M.D. Neurosurgery


Past Residents

View some of our past surgery residents involved in the Johns Hopkins Cardiac Surgery Research Lab.

Name Year Started
George J. Magovern Jr., M.D. 1982
Steven F. Bolling, M.D. 1983
Alfred S. Casale, M.D. 1983
Sara J. Shumway, M.D. 1984
Stuart R. Scott, M.D. 1984
Duke E. Cameron, M.D. 1985
Bruce R. Rosengard, M.D. 1986
Timothy S. Hall, M.D. 1986
Charles D. Fraser, M.D. 1987
Wen Cheng, M.D. 1987
Peter S. Greene, M.D. 1988
Peter J. Horneffer, M.D. 1988
Patrick Devaleria, M.D. 1989
R.C. Stewart Finney, M.D. 1989
Michael A. Acker, M.D. 1990
A. Marc Gillinov, M.D. 1991
William Curtis, M.D. 1991
Peter W. Cho, M.D. 1991
Mark J. Redmond, M.D. 1991
Kirk J. Fleischer, M.D. 1992
Malcolm V. Brock, M.D. 1992
Elaine Tseng, M.D. 1994
Jorge Salazar, M.D. 1997
John Doty, M.D. 1997
Peter Walinsky, M.D. 1999
Jay Shake, M.D. 2000
Eric Peck, M.D. 2000
Stephen Cattaneo, M.D. 2001
David Caparrelli, M.D. 2001
Torin Fitton, , M.D. 2002
Chris Barreiro, M.D. 2004
Jason Williams, M.D. 2005
Lois Nwakanma, M.D. 2006
Eric Weiss, M.D. 2007
Geoff Allen, M.D. 2008
George Arnaoutakis, M.D. 2009
Tim George, M.D. 2010
Claude Beaty, M.D. 2011
Joshua C. Grimm, M.D. 2013
J. Trent Magruder, M.D. 2014
Todd Crawford, M.D. 2015
Cecilia Lui, M.D. 2017
Xun Zhou, M.D. 2017
Charles Fraser, M.D. 2017

Clinical Research

Learn more about our current research projects and clinical research that improves patient outcomes.