Joseph H. Gorman, III, M.D.

Professor of Surgery

Joseph H. Gorman is Professor of Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. He received a BS in chemical engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology where he graduated magna cum laude. For two years prior to medical school he perused graduate engineering studies while working full time as a process design engineer with the British Oxygen Company. After graduating with honors from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in the spring of 1991 he completed his General, Cardiac and Thoracic surgical residences at the University of Pennsylvania. During that time he spent two years as a post doctoral research fellow in the laboratory of L. H. Edmunds, Jr.

Since joining the University of Pennsylvania faculty in 2000 Dr. Gorman has used his engineering, medical and surgical background to develop a research organization dedicated to the translation of research findings into more effective and less invasive therapies for structural heart and vascular disease. The Gorman Cardiovascular Research Group (GCRG) is comprised of engineers, computer scientists, cardiovascular imaging specialist, physicians and surgeons. The synergy, productivity and skill of this group have attracted collaborative relationships internationally in both academia and industry.

Dr. Gorman’s research interests include the design and development of large animal models of cardiovascular disease, the pathophysiology and treatment of heart failure, pathophysiology of mitral valve disease, ventricular assist device design, percutaneous valve repair/replacement, design of  heart valve repair and replacement devices, cardiac imaging with MRI, CT, real-time 3D echocardiography and NIR spectroscopy, mitral valve physiology, ventricular pacing for heart failure, valve calcification, and biocompatibility of synthetic surfaces.

The GCRG has been continuously funded by multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health for the past 15 years. Dr. Gorman has also received significant levels of funding from the American Heart Association, philanthropic organizations and industry. Total Funding for the GCRG ranges between 2M and 4.5M dollars per year. Dr. Gorman has managed over 42M dollars of research funding during his career.

Dr. Gorman has served on numerous study sections and advisory committees for both the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association. He has published over 260 original articles, chapters and reviews. He is a past associate editor of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery and the current associate editor of Cardiovascular Engineering and Technology. Dr. Gorman has also mentored over 40 post-doctoral fellows, medical students, graduate students and undergraduates at Penn, University of Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech.

In working to translate research findings into devices and techniques that directly improve patient care Dr. Gorman and the entire GCRG have adopted a true entrepreneurial spirit. This work has resulted in over 20 issued or pending patents and five start-up companies (Annulon – catheter based mitral valve replacement, Cormend – non blood contacting VAD, Myostratum and Corpenko – materials to prevent heart failure, Onocor – catheter based device retrieval system).

Robert C. Gorman, M.D.

Professor of Surgery

Robert Gorman is a Professor of Surgery and Director of the Cardiac Surgical Research at the University of Pennsylvania. As a cardiac surgeon and engineer he commits 100% of his time to laboratory and clinical research as well as cardiovascular device development. His research has been focused in the field of structural heart disease with emphasis on post-infarction left ventricular remodeling, valvular heart disease, cardiovascular imaging and cardiovascular device development. The research project proposed in this application is the culmination of over two and half decades of work by the research group on the clinical problem of ischemic mitral regurgitation. Through the use of large animal models and clinical studies the group has made important and well-recognized contributions that have helped to elucidate the mechanism of IMR. The Gorman Cardiovascular Research Group has developed innovative new annuloplasty technologies that have been used clinically to treat IMR patients. Most importantly, Robert Gorman and the rest of the research group have focused attention among cardiac surgeons on the limitations of current surgical practice to effectively treat IMR patients and highlighted the need for a preoperative risk stratification approaches that will allow for patient-specific surgical planning capable of determining whether an individual patient would be better served by valve repair or valve replacement surgery.

Matthew J. Gillespie, M.D.

Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Matthew J. Gillespie is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and an Attending interventional cardiologist; serving as the Associate Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. His clinical and research interests center on minimally invasive, catheter-based interventions for the treatment of structural heart defects in children and adults. His primary research interest has been focused on developing novel devices and percutaneous treatment strategies for diseased heart valves, and other congenital and acquired cardiovascular pathologies. Currently, his main focus is on percutaneous valve replacement for complex pulmonary and mitral valve disorders, as well as on developing adjuvant technologies designed to make percutaneous valve therapies safer and more effective. He carries out this work in conjunction with his colleagues in the Gorman Cardiovascular Research Group at the University of Pennsylvania. Our group uses state of the art imaging and operative techniques in large animal models of cardiac pathology to test novel devices and procedures.


Mark Piper

Mark Piper has an engineering background and has been in the medical device field for over 25 years.  He has been working with the Gorman Cardiovascular Research Group for several years in the capacity of providing samples and prototypes to Drs. R. Gorman, J. Gorman and Gillespie on a variety of programs.  He not only identifies vendors and coordinates their activities such that benchtop and in-vivo work may be conducted, but he manages the projects and timelines and assists with potential strategic partners.

Post Doctorate Research Fellows

Alison Pouch, PhD.

Research Associate

Alison Pouch is a Research Associate in the Departments of Radiology and Surgery and has been a member of the Gorman Cardiovascular Research Group since 2009. She specializes in cardiac ultrasound image analysis and develops algorithms to obtain patient-specific models of heart valves from 3D echocardiographic images to support image-based surgical planning.

Akito Imai, MD.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Akito Imai is a Cardiovascular Surgeon from Japan. He has been a member of the Gorman Cardiovascular Research Group since December 2015. Akito graduated from medical school in 2004 from the University of Tsukuba in Japan. He has a vast interest in every field of adult cardiac surgery, and is seeking every opportunity to become a better surgeon.

Ho Young Hwang, MD, PhD.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Ho Young Hwang is an Adult Cardiovascular Surgeon from Korea. He graduated from Seoul National University College of Medicine in Korea and obtained his MD license in February 2000. Now, he works as an associate professor at Seoul National University Hospital and College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. He has published numerous clinical studies in the field coronary artery bypass graft surgery and valvular heart surgery. He has been a member of the Gorman Cardiovascular Research Group since August 2016.

Yoshiaki Saito, MD.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Yoshiaki Saito graduated from the Hirosaki University School of Medicine in 2008. He is a cardiovascular surgeon, and has been training since 2010 at the Hirosaki University Hospital. He became a board certified member of Society of Japanese Cardiovascular Surgery. He currently does postdoctoral research at the Hirosaki University Graduate School of Medicine. Saito received his PhD in 2016. His clinical interests include: valve surgery, aortic surgery, endovascular technique. He is currently the supervising surgeon for thoracic and abdominal stentgrafting certified by the Japanese committee for Stent graft management. He is highly motivated to pursue translational research in Gorman cardiovascular research group.

Keitaro Okamoto, MD.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Keitaro Okamoto is a Cardiovascular Surgeon from Japan. Keitaro graduated from medical school in 2008 from the Oita University in Japan. He became a board certified member of Society of Japanese Cardiovascular Surgery. He currently does postdoctoral research at the Oita University School of Medicine.

He has experience of aortic valve plasty and extracorporeal circulation (ECMO, centrifugal pump) in the goat model. And, he specialized in minimally invasive surgery (MICS) in the clinical field. He has been a member of the Gorman Cardiovascular Research Group since September 2016.

Operational and Operating Room Staff

Nicole Peranteau

Operations Manager

Jerry Zsido II, M.S. R.T. (MR)

Operating Room Manager / Cardiac MRI Technologist

Jerry is the Operating Room Manager and handles the day to day operation of the lab. He is also the lab’s MRI tech, specializing in advanced cardiac imaging. He has been working with the Gorman Cardiovascular Research Group since 2011. Jerry has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems from Susquehanna University as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Radiologic Science (MR) from Thomas Jefferson University.  He then went on to earn his Master’s Degree in Radiologic Science with a concentration in management from Thomas Jefferson University as well. Jerry is currently a nationally certified MRI Technologist through the American Registry for Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

Loewe Kasprenski

Surgical Anesthesia Technician

Loewe Kasprenski is a surgical anesthesia technician in the Gorman lab and is responsible for the comprehensive preoperative, operative, and post operative care of the animals. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science with a Science Specialization from Delaware Valley College. She has experience in human and large animal medicine. In the future she hopes to continue working in the medical research field.

Christine Vaspoli

Surgical Anesthesia Technician

Christine is responsible for the comprehensive preoperartive, operative, and postoperative care of the animals She earned a Bachelor of Science with afrom Delware Valley College. She is currently working towards a Master of Laboratory Animal Science from Drexel College of Medicine. Christine has experience in private veterinary practice and hopes to go to veterinary school after completeing her master’s. In veterinary school her goal is to specialize in emergency surgery or labortaory animals.

Yousi Oquendo

Data Technician

Yousi (Josey) has been involved in research with the Gorman Cardiovascular Research Group since 2013, and her research activities have included 3D modeling of mitral valves using 3D Echocardiography, disease progression quantification using 4D flow MRI in an ovine model of pulmonary insufficiency, data analysis in the assessment of keraplast injections in a swine infarct model, and data analysis in the evaluation of cerium oxide nanoparticles (Nanoceria) in an ovine infarct model. She is a Masters student in Robotics at the University of Pennsylvania, and she received her B.S.E. in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania in May 2015. Josey is also a member of Haptics Research Group at Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, where she is working on a minimally invasive pediatric surgery training module in collaboration with the Department of Surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Eric Lai

Clinical Research Coordinator

Eric Lai is a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Department of Surgery and has been a member of the Gorman Cardiovascular Research Group since 2011.  He graduated from Cornell University with a B.S in Biology and concentration in Molecular and Cell Biology. Eric plays an integral role in multiple ongoing projects including 3D echocardiography analysis of mitral valves, aortic strain analysis, and cardiovascular biomarker discovery.  His current responsibilities encompass echocardiographic image interpretation, patient enrollment into studies, cardiovascular tissue collection, and database management.

Tom Eperjesi

Data Analyst

Tom has been a member of the Gorman Cardiovascular Research Laboratory since 2005.  He assists the lab with whatever is needed, largely focusing on computer modeling, sonometry, and statistical analysis.  He received a B.S. degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Pittsburgh in 1998.

Graduate Students

Frank Meijerink

Frank Meijerink is a sixth-year medical student from the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. He has worked in the Gorman lab for six months and continues to do several projects on 3D Mitral Valve modeling for Ischemic Mitral Regurgitation (IMR). He has studied the influence of reduction annuloplasty on 3D mitral valve geometry. Also he works on the validation of an automated segmentation technique for 3D mitral valve modeling for IMR.