Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Atluri Lab

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Meet our team

In the Atluri lab, we use approaches from different fields to produce novel treatments for ischemic heart conditions.  This includes using surgical, bioengineering, and biological approaches to improve perfusion and function of the ischemic tissue. To this effect, our team comes from diverse backgrounds.


Principal Investigator

Pavan Atluri, MD

Pavan Atluri, MD
Associate Professor Of Surgery
 pavan.atluri@pennmedicine.upenn.edu
 215-662-2956

Dr. Atluri is Director of Mechanical Circulatory Support and Heart Transplant and Director of Minimally Invasive and Robotic Cardiac Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania.  He has a large practice focused on heart failure and minimally invasive therapy for valvular heart disease.  He has written extensively on heart transplantation, mechanical circulatory support, and mitral valve disease.  His basic science focus dovetails his clinical focus. 

For the past 18 years, Dr. Atluri has been focused on studying endogenous and exogenous progenitor cell mediated therapy for heart failure.  Early investigation evaluated cytokine mediated upregulation of endogenous circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) as therapy for heart failure.  Subsequent studies evaluated direct cell therapy with EPCs to rescue ischemic myocardium, with research focused on the entire bench to bedside spectrum of cell therapy, including small animal, large animal and human basic science studies.  Recent work has focused on addressing the significant limitations that prevent successful translation of basic science cell therapy to clinical therapy, including cell retention and survival.  We are currently focused on developing and evaluating tissue engineered delivery techniques to overcome the limitations of traditional therapy. 



Post-Docs

Peter Altshuler, MD

Peter Altshuler, MD

Peter is a PGY4 Resident in the General Surgery Program at Thomas Jefferson University and is a graduate of the Sidney Kimmel Medical College. His interests include cardiac surgery and heart failure. He plans to pursue a career in academic cardiac surgery.


Jason Han, MD

Jason Han, MD

Jason is a PGY2 Resident in the Integrated Cardiac Surgery Program. He received his bachelors degree in Neuroscience at Columbia University and is a graduate of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a writer for the healthcare section of the Philadelphia Inquirer, a writing fellow for Doximity Op (m)-ed, and is interested in heart failure, and clinical ethics. He plans to pursue a career in academic cardiac surgery.


Mark R. Helmers, MD

Mark R. Helmers, MD

Mark is a PGY4 Resident in the Integrated Cardiac Surgery Program and is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. His interests include valvular disease and heart failure. He plans to pursue a career in academic cardiac surgery.


Michael Ibrahim, MD PhD

Michael Ibrahim, MD PhD

Michael is a PGY7 Resident in the Integrated Cardiac Surgery Program. He is a graduate of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and Imperial College London. He has held honorary research fellowships at The Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital and The Heart Hospital.

Dr. Ibrahim completed his PhD under the mentorship of Sir Magdi Yacoub FRS OM. His research focus is on short and long-term advanced therapies for heart failure. In particular, Dr. Ibrahim’s research aims to identify novel therapeutic mechanisms by which mechanical unloading induces reversal of heart failure, alone or in conjunction with novel, disruptive therapies. He also has a research interest in aortic root surgery, including The Ross Operation. He aspires to a career in academic cardiac surgery.


Amit Iyengar, MD MS

Amit Iyengar, MD MS

Amit is a PGY2 Resident in the Integrated Cardiac Surgery Program and is a graduate of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. His interests include extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and heart transplantation. He plans to pursue a career in academic surgery.



Research Specialists

Alexis Schiazza

Alexis Schiazza

Alexis is a current research specialist in the lab. She is a graduate of Georgetown University '19 and majored in Human Science magna cum laude. She is interested in pursuing a career in neonatal surgery.



Undergraduate Students

Saitej Guttikonda

Saitej Guttikonda

Tej is a current undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. He is pursuing a major in Healthcare Management and Policy. In addition, he is a board member of the Wharton Undergraduate Healthcare Club, volunteers at the university hospital, and is an executive editor for Synapse. He is interested in pursuing a career in cardiology.


Robin Hu

Robin Hu

Robin is a current undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. She is pursuing a double major in Biophysics and Communications in the College. She is interested in pursuing a career in medicine.


Hetal Lad

Hetal Lad

Hetal is a current undergraduate student at Drexel University. She is pursuing a major in Biological Sciences with Honors distinction. Outside of research, she is an advocate for homeless healthcare by starting www.ch2i.org, volunteers as an EMT, and dances competitively. She is interested in pursuing a career in medicine and surgery.



Past Members

Jakub Jarmula (2019-2020)

Jakub Jarmula (2019-2020)
Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine


Samuel Kim (2018-2020)

Samuel Kim (2018-2020)
UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine


Zoe Tran (2018-2020)

Zoe Tran (2018-2020)
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


Drew Goldberg, MD MS (2018-2020)

Drew Goldberg, MD MS (2018-2020)
University of Pennsylvania General Surgery Resident


Ann C. Gaffey, MD MS (2018-2019)

Ann C. Gaffey, MD MS (2018-2019)
University of Pennsylvania Vascular Surgery Fellow


Jianliang Zhou, MD (2018-2019)

Jianliang Zhou, MD (2018-2019)
Cardiac Surgeon


Elizabeth Li (2017-2019)

Elizabeth Li (2017-2019)
Eastern Virginia Medical School


Anjali Patel (2019)

Anjali Patel (2019)
Sidney Kimmel Medical College


Prescott Binder (2018)

Prescott Binder (2018)
Hope College


Jonathan Gordon (2017-2018)

Jonathan Gordon (2017-2018)
Sidney Kimmel Medical College


Jennifer Chung, MD (2016-2018)

Jennifer Chung, MD (2016-2018)
University of Pennsylvania Cardiac Surgery Fellow


Maria Florencia Arisi (2016-2018) 

Maria Florencia Arisi (2016-2018) 
Sidney Kimmel Medical College


Samir Zaman (2016-2018)

Samir Zaman (2016-2018)
Albert Einstein College of Medicine


Carol Chen, MD (2015-2017)

Carol Chen, MD (2015-2017)
Stanford University Cardiac Surgery Fellow